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Stardust Paperback – December 23, 2008
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Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land will keep you turning pages as fast as you can--he and the star escape evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold. The story is by turns thrillingly scary and very funny. You'll love goofy, earnest Tristran and the talking animals, gnomes, magic trees, and other irresistible denizens of Faerie that he encounters in his travels. Stardust is a perfect read-aloud book, a brand-new fairy tale you'll want to share with a kid, or maybe hoard for yourself. (If you read it to kids, watch out for a couple of spicy sex bits and one epithet.) --Therese Littleton --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Tristran Thorn falls in love with the prettiest girl in town and makes her a foolish promise: he says that he'll go find the falling star they both watched streak across the night sky. She says she'll marry him if he finds it, so he sets off, leaving his home of Wall, and heads out into the perilous land of faerie, where not everything is what it appears. Gaiman is known for his fanciful wit, sterling prose and wildly imaginative plots, and Stardust is no exception. Gaiman's silver-tongued narration vividly brings this production to life. Like the bards of old, Gaiman is equally proficient at telling tales as he is at writing them, and his pleasant British accent feels like a perfect match to the material. Gaiman's performance is an extraordinary achievementif only all authors could read their own work so well. The audiobook also includes a brief, informative and enjoyable interview with Gaiman about the writing of the novel and his work in the audiobook studio.
Copyright© American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I am going to start off by saying something I never thought I would say; I honestly enjoyed the film more than the book. Okay, you may now ostracize me. The story was a beautiful concept, and I am a huge fan of the author. I am also very fond of fantasy and enjoy reading the genre on a regular basis. I am by no means labeling this as a bad read. I did find it entertaining. I just wanted to enjoy this so much more than I was able to. I wanted to love this book. With a world full of magic and exotic creatures, I expected nonstop excitement, but somewhere along the line it just fell flat for me. It pains me to even type this. As I said, I really respect Neil Gaiman as an author.
I kept waiting for that moment when something within this story would really speak to me, but it never happened. You have a fallen star, witches, a unicorn, spirits, and no shortage of magic so this seems like the perfect recipe for an amazing tale of fantasy, and I know many who really believe it is. However, the end result left me desiring too much. I felt that the characters could have been built on more, and that overall the story just began to crawl.
I know many people may disagree with this review, and I do honestly recommend reading this book for yourself if you enjoy fantasy. It has the right elements. Maybe I missed something with this one. I am left unsure of just how I feel after finally having read this title.
Stardust is where Gaiman finds his novel footing, I feel. I think the 'fairy-tale' feel this novel has, with its unexpected and dreamlike plot and unexpected magic are just perfect for his wit and humor, as well as his playful mythological foundations. I LOVE fairy tales, and to read Gaiman's always interesting and playful rendition of an ancient genres felt in this case like a resurrection of this long forgotten form of story-telling. I left wanting more, and felt utterly transported to this new feel in fantasy that I only had a glimpse of through Grimm's fairy tales. I felt like I was experiencing what Grimm's fairy tales must have felt like to the listeners when such fairy tales were new!
I really hope he explores this approach to fantasy again, perhaps not a sequel, but this is the first novel of Gaiman's that I felt matched the quality and beauty that his Sandman comics captured.
I thank Neil Gaiman dearly for this idea, which lead to the movie, but I wasn't as happy with what he wrote. Tristran really wasn't very likeable, the romance seemed to come out of nowhere, and it was a bit too graphic for what I thought was a children's novel. Sex scenes were described more than necessary, gore like the unicorn's blood settling on one side after it's dead are discussed...just generally more PG-13 than I expected! Moreso than the movie, even!
The story itself is longer and more complex, as I would have predicted. That was all good and fine, but I honestly felt it made it a bit more tedious. The focus seemed to be on the journey and the magic rather than development of characters.
I know, I do apologize to those who loved this book and are angry with me for comparing it to the movie. I understand your frustration and agree that much of my disapproval is the cause of not having read the book before the movie.