Author: Neil Gaiman
On the Shelves: Fiction> Fantasy
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 (Goodreads 2014)
I was not plannning on re-reading this book this year. However, I had a very boring and quiet shift in work one day and in that particular instance, we’re allowed to bring books to read in- as long as we serve customers promptly. With Stardust only being around 200 pages, I decided to take it with me as I’d probably finish it during the shift- and that is exactly what I did.
I first read Stardust, after I’d seen the movie which came out in 2007 (one of my favourite films FYI), this was before I’d gotten back into reading, so I think this book is what made me wish I were an avid reader again. My copy is the version with the movie poster on…which I don’t hate, but don’t exactly love either (all my other Gaimans match. ) As soon as you open the book, Gaiman is a master story-teller. He describes the sleepy village of Wall and the not so sleepy land of Fae beyond the Wall which the village is named for. Gaiman brings together a bright and colourful world through every sense as he describes the rules of Fae. As I re-read it, I was immediately reminded of his short story in Fragile Things named “Instructions” which…well it does exactly what is said on the tin- it tells you how to act should you stumble across a Fae realm or Fairytale-ish happening, with rules reminiscent of tales of Grimm such as “Remember your name”, “Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid” and “Ride the wise eagle (You shall not fall)”. I also loved the story told about the mountains, which stretch all across the length of the Fae-land, where they formed thousands of years ago, when a giant grew too tired from his massive size to move any more and so lay down, and thus the mountains were formed. This story is not unlike ones my dad used to tell my sister and I as we went for long drives up and down the english countryside as little kids on family trips, so it resonated with me and made me smile a lot. Just as I recommend this poem to you if you are a fan of fairytales, I recommend Stardust, which is aptly described as “the fairytale that won’t behave”.
Stardust follows multiple perspectives, from the young male hero of Tristran Thorne, to the battling Seven Brothers (or you know…technically three, since four are dead), who are murdering each other in an attempt to be the final winner of the Throne of Stormhold in Fae, and of course, the witches, who are chasing the fallen Star, like Thorne but for different and more sinister reasons. Full of humour, adventure, bravery and magic, Stardust is thoroughly enjoyable.
This is also one of the few times where, in my opinion, the film is just as good as the book, if not maybe even better- so I recommend you watch that too if you haven’t already!