Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: William Morrow (First published October 1, 1998)
Pages: 250 (Paperback)
So this isn’t a bad book. It’s actually a good book. But, I just love the movie a whole heck of a lot more. In this case the movie is better than the book. *ducks for cover*
“He was painfully shy, which, as is often the manner of the painfully shy, he overcompensated for by being too loud at the wrong times.”
Stardust is the story of Tristran Thorn, a young man from the quaint (and aptly named) town of Wall which just so happens to have a large stone wall which separates it from Faerie. One night while attempting to woo the most beautiful girl in town, Victoria Forester, Tristran sees a falling star land land across the wall. With the promise of being able to ask anything of her upon his return, Tristran takes off in search of the fallen star and finds himself on an adventure he never expected.
“So, having found a lady, could you not have come to her aid, or left her alone? Why drag her into your foolishness?’
‘Love,’ he explained.
She looked at him with eyes the blue of the sky. ‘I hope you choke on it,’ she said, flatly.”
Gaiman’s writing is, unsurprisingly, beautiful; the perfect kind of lyrical writing a good fairy-tale needs. The story is whimsical and full of twists and turns. There are witches, a ruthless king, murderous princes on a quest, fae folk, lightening pirates, and a dramatic revelation or two.
I didn’t love the pacing of the book, there were sections that dragged for me; sections that were overly descriptive or felt rushed. But, even when I was a little bored with the story, Gaiman’s writing kept me engaged. I think it also helped that I knew the story from the movie so I knew it would be worth it in the end. And I did appreciate the more moralistic nature of the novel over the movie; and that it relied on conversation rather than dramatic action. Though Yvaine’s speech in the caravan was one of my favorite moments in the movie, and I was sad to see that it wasn’t part of the source material.
“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity.”
Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, this is a novel worth reading. Gaiman’s masterful command of language is on full display. It is a rich and immersive story with an ending you won’t soon forget.