Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

October 17, 2011 § 8 Comments

Stardust tells the story of Tristran Thorn, from the small village of Wall who ventures over border into the land of Faerie in search of a fallen star with which he hopes to win the love of the most beautiful girl for miles around.  Things don’t go quite according to plan as Tristran learns that in the land of Faerie, fallen stars aren’t lumps of metal, but people–in this case a young woman–and she’s not too keen on being rushed off as the some boy’s trophy.  To complicate things further, Tristran isn’t the only person seeking the fallen star and his competition is rather deadly.

Before getting too far into this I have to say that while Stardust is marketed as a Young Adult fantasy novel, there’s a pretty explicit sex scene in the first chapter and a choice four letter world a little further on.  It makes my otherwise enthusiastic recommendation a bit reserved, especially for kids who are more “young” than “adult.”

Gaiman weaves another spectacular tale with Stardust, mixing a sense of wonder with the excitement of adventure and a great sense of humor reminiscent of The Princess Bride.  It’s got magic and love and unicorns and talking trees and airships.  There is a lot to love here, though the action seemed to peak a little beyond the halfway point, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book it was more of a pleasant stroll than a rollercoaster ride.

Stardust is a good read and fairly easy.  I’d especially recommend it to adults who enjoy reading Young Adult, though as I mentioned before, I hesitate to recommend it to kids.

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§ 8 Responses to Book Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

  • I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I…saw the movie. Yes, they made a movie from it (you may have already known that) and the soundtrack is excellent. The scene you’re referring to at the beginning of your review is implied at the beginning of the movie, but not shown. I thought it was a great fantasy adventure story

  • Redhead says:

    I read this book before the movie came out, saw the movie, then read the book again. I hate to say it, but I like the movie better, especially the seven Brothers (or maybe it’s 6? it’s a lot, and they stole the show for me).

    • R. H. Culp says:

      I do think that the movie does a great job increasing the tension all the way to the end, but I think the book does a better job with the whimsy and magical characters, dialogue, and circumstances than the movie could communicate, and I couldn’t bring myself to like Tristran in the movie. I think it might have been the long flowing hair. And as always, I wonder if having a movie adaptation decreases readership of the book over the long term.

  • Had no idea that he wrote this first.

    And my respect for neil grows once more.

    • R. H. Culp says:

      I just read my first book by him, Stardust being my second, and I can’t wait to continue. I love finding authors that make me want to read everything they’ve written.

      • Joseph Campbell said that’s what makes life worth living and how we get at bliss. “Find an author you love and then read everything they ever wrote. After that, read everything they ever read and anything written by the authors who wrote anything they ever read.” Dunno if I completely agree about the bliss part, but it’s a heckuva lotta fun.

  • Michael says:

    I’ve never read Mr. Gaiman’s work, but clearly I need to; ironically, I’m working on a story right now where stars are actual people.

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