Genre: YA fantasy.
At the dawn of the Victorian era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall. Young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester, but Victoria is as cold and distant as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky one evening. For the prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the star for his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the town’s ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining… (Goodreads)
My rating: 4.5/5
I have a weird relationship with Neil Gaiman. I read Coraline ages ago and quite liked it, but it didn’t make too much of an impression. Then I read Graveyard Book and really enjoyed it. Then I completely choked on American Gods. The only rule I can pull from this is that I prefer his writings for younger readers, but I’ll have to give his other adult books another go.
Stardust has become a new favourite. I watched the movie in the cinema when it came out and it was cute and I’ve probably re-watched it twice since then. But it wasn’t the absolute best movie I’ve ever seen or anything like it, despite the fact that I really liked both Tristran and Yvaine.
But the book… How do I describe it? It’s a gorgeous fairytale and Gaiman’s writing is true to the genre, yet he’s sometimes completely irreverent. I love that the book is a standalone and that it’s short – it’s very concise and to the point, without any superfluous fluff or distractions. I love fantasy series, I really do, but sometimes it’s great to read a shorter novel.
The two main characters were completely adorable. Tristran has quickly made his way on my list of favourite fantasy heroes. He’s naive and clueless at first, true, but his best quality is that he’s a genuinely good person. That’s so rare nowadays, isn’t it? Yvaine the star, however, is a true gem. She has the most awesome array of insults that she aims at Tristran (Dunderhead. Bumpkin. Dolt. Cretinous, verminous oaf.) and she charms a unicorn.
I loved the secondary characters, as well. The seven princes and the witches were all great, and quite similar to their movie versions. I missed the flamboyance of the sky-ship captain a bit (Robert de Niro in a feathery boa, or whatever it was), but I got the dwarfy guy with his bottomless pack in return.
While this may not be the most eloquent of reviews, don’t let it dampen your curiosity about Stardust. Go read it, it’s wonderful for an evening or two of great entertainment, proper fairytale style, and a smidge of romance. I’m making my husband read the book now so we can re-watch the movie again together. :)
Have you read Stardust? How about other Gaiman’s books? Which one would you recommend to me?
What did you think of the movie adaptation?