Author: Neil Gaiman
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.
(This review originally appeared on my blog Winter Distractions on April 3, 2013)
There are some things that have been done to death in stories, especially when it comes to supernatural- or fairytale-type creatures. I mean, we’ve seen vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches, etc., etc. ALL over literature, but rarely do we see something like a star — a star that is not a star at all, but a girl who fell from the sky.
This is actually a reread for me. I remember reading this story way back when it was first released as a mass market paperback. The pharmacy I worked at had a very small section for books and really only had the top ten paperbacks available for purchase. When I saw Stardust, I picked up a copy and started to read. This was my first introduction to Neil Gaiman’s writing and I have never looked back.
The first time I read this story, I wanted to read it while doing EVERYTHING. Even things that would probably be better done had I not been reading. This time around, I saw that my local library had an audiobook copy of the story, read by Neil himself, so I thought that might be a great way to reread the story I had been meaning to reread in the past few years. I was quite worried that my tastes had changed, that I would no longer enjoy the story of a boy who went beyond the wall of Wall to catch a falling star, but I was so wrong — I devoured this story just as I had in the beginning and was still completely taken with the characters and Neil’s wonderful way with words.
This has to be one of my favourite stories — a fairytale for adults — and I love pretty much everything that happens in it. I feel for the star, who was really going about her day before Tristran found her. She never wanted to be captured, which is pretty much what he did to her. I think they were both naive and young in the beginning only to grow so fond of each other and develop something like a friendship — or maybe more than a friendship. Neil writes some fascinating characters other than Tristran and the star, too — we have the witch, who is truly evil; as well as the captain of the flying pirate ship (at this part I only picture Dustin Hoffman in my head, who plays the captain in the movie); and the brothers, the heirs to the throne of Stormhold. The latter were probably some of my favourite characters because they added some great comic relief to the story.
I do love that while this story might come across as a story for children, it really isn’t. There are some truly terrifying scenes in it, as well as some very … ahem … adult scenes. It’s a story that isn’t meant to be read in small doses, but devoured in one sitting and thought about afterwards. And if you have a chance, have Neil read the story to you through audiobook — he is a wonderful narrator and really puts emphasis on the things that should be emphasized and goes at a perfect pace for all ears. I highly recommend this. If you love fairytales with witches, pirates, ghosts, and unicorns, as well as fairytales with a sweeping romance between two very different individuals, this is the story for you.