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158 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering "Stardust"
Fairy tales tend to lose their sparkle when they're made into books for adults.

But Neil Gaiman creates his own sparkling fairy tale in "Stardust," an entrancing fantasy tale that never loses its magic. With beautiful prose, likable characters, and a mesh of the grotesque and the ethereal, this is Gaiman's reworking of fairy tales -- with a slight wink to the...
Published on June 18, 2007 by E. A Solinas

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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Skip the novel, get the "comic" collection
The three stars is specifically for the novel edition. The story deserves four; while not perfect, it is an excellent story in traditional Victorian style. Gaiman's characters are familiar - we've met some of them, the rest we wish we could meet. The story is well-rooted in folklore, and has some fine vivid moments.
So I don't know why Neil decided (After having...
Published on September 4, 2000 by Lenora Heikkinen


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158 of 170 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering "Stardust", June 18, 2007
This review is from: Stardust (Hardcover)
Fairy tales tend to lose their sparkle when they're made into books for adults.

But Neil Gaiman creates his own sparkling fairy tale in "Stardust," an entrancing fantasy tale that never loses its magic. With beautiful prose, likable characters, and a mesh of the grotesque and the ethereal, this is Gaiman's reworking of fairy tales -- with a slight wink to the readers.

Years ago, Dunstan Thorn fell in love with a beautiful slave from across the Wall. Nine months later, he got a baby boy on his doorstep. His son Tristan grows up unaware of his heritage, and longs for the beautiful, frosty Victoria Forester. When she rejects him, he makes a rash promise -- he'll pursue a fallen star over the Wall and bring it back to her, if she gives him her hand.

But when he finds the star, he learns that it is a beautiful young girl, a daughter of the moon named Yvaine. The dying Lord of Stormheld threw a gem to the distance and accidently knocked her from the sky. Now his sons are trying to get the gem back, since the one who gets the gem will be the next Lord. What is more, an ancient witch is pursuing the star, determined to cut out her heart so she and her sisters can be young again. To protect the lovely star, Tristan is called on to be a hero, and to learn who he really is...

Few fantasy stories are as well-done as "Stardust." Gaiman mixes humor, romance, grisly realism and airy-fairiness in a tight little plot. It only really picks up two-thirds of the way into the book, but what a trip it is. It slides rather than explodes to a conclusion, where everything slips into place and all the loose ends are neatly tied together, in a way that makes perfect sense.

His writing is a mix of beautiful details and fast-moving plot. Gaiman frequently pauses to describe the creepy Stormhelm, where murdered ghosts watch their brothers compete, to the beautiful forests of Faerie where little sprites mock people. Some scenes -- like a unicorn's skewering a witch -- are breathtakingly vivid.

Everybody loves an everyman hero, and despite his mystery background, Tristan definitely qualifies. He's a little goofy and a lot clueless, but his earnestness makes him likable. Yvaine is a bit off-kilter in a good way, sharp-tongued and a little naive, but a good match for Tristan. And supporting characters like the evil Septimus and youth-hungry witch are solidly written; even Victoria is shown in a new light.

This particular edition is graced with Charles Vess's exquisite illustrations -- delicate, colourful, ethereal, full of little details and shadowy corners. He captures every shred of the magic that Gaiman's words are able to conjure, and a little bit more than that.

The beautiful adult fairy-tale "Stardust" is an entrancing read, wonderfully written and full of intriguing characters. An outstanding, timeless story, and sure to enchant readers. (Yes, even the ones who don't like unicorns)
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Tale for Grown-ups, June 5, 2002
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
I loved reading fairy tales when I was a child, and I love reading them to my child now. Harry Potter is the closest I've found to a fairy tale that grown-ups will enjoy, but with this book (and others by this author) I've found a delicious fairy tale for the hungry adult reader.
This truly is a fairy tale for grown-ups. It begins, "There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire. And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man there ever was or will be could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole tale of it."
There's a bit more to the story than that, and it isn't quite as simple as we're led to believe. Young Tristan Thorn from the village of Wall sets out with a mission and a certain amount of mystery about himself (that we're let into early on, if we pay just the slightest bit of attention).
Like Gaiman's hero in Neverwhere, Tristan is a good-hearted young man with the best of intentions. He promises to leave the village of Wall, where he has lived his whole life, to bring back a fallen star for the woman he loves -- in exchange, she will grant whatever he wants (which is, of course, marriage as he is a charming Prince type guy, the kind you find in fairy tales.)
What seems a somewhat simple adventure twists and turns into much more. Medevial times, fairies, unicorns, the moon, bad people (male and female) lead our hero on an exciting adventure and in the end he gets what he doesn't even know he wants.
This is a gentle fairy tale for adults by an excellent storyteller.
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122 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, Effervescent, Read in one gulp!, April 8, 2001
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This review is from: Stardust (Mass Market Paperback)
"Stardust" won the Mythpoeic Award for best adult fairy tale. After all, fairy tales are not just for kids. And they're not for wimpy adults, either. Just read "The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales" by Maria Tatar if you don't believe me. "Stardust" has some pretty Grimm stuff in it too, however the only people who might not enjoy it are those who take Unicorns very very seriously. Or are extremely fond of billy goats.
Gaiman's story begins and ends with a fair that will remind you of Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market":
"Backwards up the mossy glen/ Turned and trooped the goblin men,/ With their shrill repeated cry,/ "Come buy, come buy.".../ One set his basket down,/ One reared his plate;/ One began to weave a crown/ Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown/ (Men sell not such in any town);/ One heaved the golden weight Of dish and fruit to offer her:/ "Come buy, come buy," was still their cry."
As Laura of "Goblin Market"-fame learned, it is better not to sample the merchandise at such Unseelie gatherings. Dunstan Thorn, who "was not romantic" learns this lesson too, when nine months after the "Stardust" fair, a baby is abandoned at the boundary between Faerie and the English village of Wall with his name pinned to its blanket. Thus begins the story of Tristan Thorn who is raised as a proper Victorian lad until age seventeen. Unlike his father, Tristan is romantic and at the bequest of the most beautiful girl in Wall, he sets out on a quest through the Land of Faerie to fetch her a fallen star. Not just any fallen star, but the one Tristan and Victoria both saw on the night she refused to kiss him.
"Stardust" is stuffed with stock fairy tale creatures who have been blown loose from their moorings and brought to life in the most wildly imaginative way. Some of them make only token appearances, but all are memorable. Two of the most poignant are the boy who is turned into a billy goat, and a billy goat, turned into a boy. There are three truly evil witches, and one who is only so-so wicked. There are....well, read the book. Even if you aren't drinking while you read it, you'll feel drunk by the time you finish.
If ever there was a book that could be labeled, 'Drink me!', "Stardust" is that book.
P.S. The cover has nothing to do with the story
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was not a Gaiman fan, did not know who he was..., January 9, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Stardust (Mass Market Paperback)
I picked this book up at the airport, never having heard of Neil Gaiman. I wanted something mindless to read through a long flight and did not hold high hopes of great enjoyment. To my great delight I was wrong! What a surprise, what a great find. The writing is effortless, the style seems so easy, until suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a wonderful complexity of plot and character. Characters are imaginative and memorable, the story, although a "fairy tale"is unique and irresistable.I am so delighted to have found this author. I am not a comic book fan, but intend to read everything he has written. This is intelligent,humorous, magical stuff. We could do with more like this.We do not have to be children to enter worlds of magic and imagination. How wonderful that someone like Gaiman knows and honours this for us. Read this and remember enchantment and wonder. Treat yourself!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: SOME EDITIONS MISSING ILLUSTRATIONS!!!, December 6, 2004
By 
Pink Pleather (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
First, let me say that this story is beautifully written and can probably be enjoyed fully with one's imagination to serve as illustrator.

HOWEVER, this book was originally published by DC Comics as a picture book and absolutely stunning illustration was provided by Charles Vess. Vess has a long and prolific history of illustrating many of Gaiman's comix. It is a REAL SHAME not to purchase a copy with those illustrations. BE CAREFUL -- this website doesn't do such a terrific job of making clear which edition is which. The original is on this site in the edition published by DC Comics with the full title "STARDUST: Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie." It's hard to tell for sure if any other editions here have the Vess illustrations. The trade paperback edition definitely has NO ILLUSTRATION AT ALL.
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Skip the novel, get the "comic" collection, September 4, 2000
This review is from: Stardust (Hardcover)
The three stars is specifically for the novel edition. The story deserves four; while not perfect, it is an excellent story in traditional Victorian style. Gaiman's characters are familiar - we've met some of them, the rest we wish we could meet. The story is well-rooted in folklore, and has some fine vivid moments.
So I don't know why Neil decided (After having orginally conceived the project with Charles Vess and finished it beautifully as a painted book) to market this as a plain, unillustrated book. Charles Vess' illustrations (watercolours, painted full pages and partial pages beside the text, not the standard comic layout of multiple panels and word bubbles) were bright, sometimes breathtaking, sometimes merely very fine. Gaiman's text is identical - I believe I found two sentences different between the two. (A side note; the reason I know this is that a friend gave me the impression he had expanded the text at first, which would give him an excuse for marketing the novel. And so, when I saw a phrase I didn't remember, I looked it up. To my disappointment, it was there, and it was only my memory playing tricks.)
So why take a collaborative, beautiful project, full of fine art as well as gentle cheerful prose, and cut out half of the work?
Because adults don't read illustrated books (Never mind the number of different people who've illustrated Tolkien and Peter S. Beagle). Adults don't read comics (Another fallacy), which is how the illustrated edition is marketed.
Since when are adults less sophisticated than children? Since when are adults unable to appreciate art?
Go into a comic store. Find the Stardust collection with Vess' illustrations. Then appreciate a perfectly melded work, done by not one but two highly skilled artists - Gaiman with elegant words, Vess with colour and character.
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38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old fashioned Fairy Tale without the PC nonsense, March 24, 2004
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This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
Okay, maybe not the kind of Fairy Tale you would read to your very young children, but after delving through horror and dark fantasy, I found Stardust to be a refreshing, childlike break; minus the hangover of feeling like I was exposed to an excess of sugar and cotton candy. After all, Fairy tales used to be a bit brutal in their own right, and taking away all of the blood and violence in order to conform to today's "Politically Correct" standards also takes away from the lesson to be learned. IMHO.
This tale is told with a simple exuberance, yet manages to hold up under the scrutiny of all us die hard Neil Gaiman fans, showing us that he has the talent to lead us along gentler slopes of the same deadly peaks and chasms he has taken us to in his other works. His playfulness shows through in Stardust as a novel, the way his chapbooks "Wolves In The Walls" and "The Day I Swapped My Dad For 2 Goldfish" did with his graphic novels.
Tristin Thorn lives in the English town of Wall, right next to, well, the Wall. There is only one way through the Wall, a gap which is constantly guarded by the village folk of Wall; not to keep people from coming in, but to keep the inhabitants of Wall from crossing over into the land of Faerie. Once every nine years there is a huge fair within the field beyond the gap, and only then do the peoples from each of the lands mingle. Tristin is not aware that half of his lineage is from across the Wall, and when the day comes that he watches a falling star with the girl he wishes to marry, and promises to bring her back that very same star, his father Dunstan helps him to cross the gap into Faerie.
Over in Faerie, it is time for the Lord of Stormhold to die, and pass along his Reign to one of his sons. Unable to determine which of his surviving sons is worthy, the old Lord tosses the Power of Stormhold (a topaz set in an amulet) up into the air and tells his sons that whoever finds the amulet will rule after him. This won't be easy for the offspring of the old Lord, for already four of his seven sons were dead, killed off by the living brothers in order to eliminate their claim to Stormhold.
Also in Faerie live the Lilim, three ancient women who have lived on and on for forever, revitalizing their youth by eating the hearts from fallen stars. When the star falls, one of the ancient crones makes herself young again and sets out after the star.
Tristin is helped along in his quest by some, and treated rudely by others, but always manages to get along by determination and, surprisingly, innocence. When he is transported by a magic candle to where the star had fallen, he is shocked to see that the Fallen Star is a girl, and she has a broken leg to boot.
The adventures of Tristin in his journey back to The Wall and the market within the field are magical, fantastical, and sometimes just a tiny bit scary. Though the plot really does have a transparent ending, it still does not take away from the total enjoyment of Tristin's adventures and the predicaments he falls in and out of. All of the main characters coalesce in the ending, but the side characters we meet along the way are just as fleshed out and real to me as Tristin, Yvaine the Star, and Madame Semele with her mysterious bird.
Go ahead and step through the Gap with Tristin, you won't be sorry you tagged along. Enjoy!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, July 13, 2005
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This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
I need to just take for granted that almost everything Neil Gaiman writes I will love. I have stayed away from two of his books, Coraline and Stardust, for awhile because they have been often described as a young adult or children stories. Having read both Neverwhere and American Gods and loving them, it took me awhile to finally swallow "my pride" and read books I thought were meant for little children not for everyone. A silly and arrogant move, I know now.

I read Stardust in one sitting. It almost reads itself. The pages fly by so quickly and easily that before you know it you're half way through the novel and that doesn't stop you from reading the other half. It is a fairytale in one aspect, but something else entirely also. It begins in the town of Wall where a wall has been placed keeping people of the UK from the otherside. One day every nine years, the guards leave their posts and the people can mingle with those from the otherside, the Faerie side. That's all I will really say about the plot. Like every other Gaiman novel I have read, the story is best when you know little or nothing about it.

Like most faerie tales, the story begins with love. But, unlike stories like the Little Mermaid or Cinderella or countless other Grim stories, it goes a little further. What begins as a "simple" quest to win someone's affection grows into a coming of age story where the protagonist learns more about himself and about life. It's a grand story filled with vivid images and great characters. Every character, from those who are given a paragraph to those who are the main protagonists or antagonists are filled with character. Much like every other Gaiman novel, it's easy to fall in love with the characters as real breathing things.

I'm not sure what else to say. I wanted to write this review mainly to persuade those on the fence to read it and give it a chance. It's filled with dark images, images of love both true and fake, and a great story. If you enjoy Gaiman's other works, don't pass this one over. Leave your preconceived notions at the door and I think you'll find it's a terrific read just as engaging as Neverwhere or American Gods.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars woot!, November 27, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Stardust (Hardcover)
I picked this book up and read it in one sitting, it is a wonderful book, and really really helped me to further appreciate Gaiman, though I was already a fan. Stardust isn't really a run of the mill fairytale, it's fun and exciting, it's no epic, but if it were, it would be ruined. It's a fun read that manages to have a complex dilemma. Good all around, though very different from Neil's darker works, which is still okay. Excellent excellent book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lyrical fantasy with pixie dust woven throughout, February 7, 2001
This review is from: Stardust (Mass Market Paperback)
Neil Gaiman is a brilliant writer and he certainly shows some of his best stuff in Stardust. Fans of Gaiman's Sandman series as well as Neverwhere will fall in love with Tristan and Star and the myriad of well drawn characters.
The plot is a mix of fantasy, romance and adventure - it has something for everyone. Stardust is destined to become a classic - sitting amongst the Narnia Chronicles, The Little Prince and others.
Beyond building a fantastical plot, the alternate world of Faeirie (beyond the Wall) that the reader can actually feel a part of and solid characters - Gaiman weaves these elements together to create a beautiful memory tinged with comic genius.
Tristan undertakes a quest for a fallen star to give to his love Victoria. She has promised to marry him if he can obtain one for her. Despite the impossibility of this request - Tristan sets out from his home in Wall to the land of Faeirie, across the enchanted meadow to seek true love. Along the way Tristan meets many friends and foes, witches, fairies, talking trees and much much more and in the process he learns a thing or two about life, love, his heritage and friendship.
Stardust is a unique blend and has something to appeal to every reader. He melds several plot lines together to form an intricate tale that I could not put down and can't wait to read again. This is a book to enjoy over and over again. If you liked Stardust you should try Neverwhere as well as Nicholas Christopher's Veronica and A Trip to the Stars.
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Stardust: The Gift Edition
Stardust: The Gift Edition by Neil Gaiman (Hardcover - October 30, 2012)
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