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Stardust Paperback – June 19, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,270 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From The Washington Post

"Eminently readable---a charming piece of work." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A beautiful, memorable work." -- --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A twisting, wondrous tale full of magic." -- --Chicago Tribune

"His finest work yet...prose as smooth as twelve-year-old scotch." -- --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Strange...marvelous...magical." -- --Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (July 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060934719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060934712
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,283,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"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.
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