Saturday, January 10, 2009


Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 1997

Tristran Thorn is not who he’s always thought he was: no, he’s the product of a one night stand between a fairy woman and his human father during a one-every-nine-years fair. Left next to the wall his father’s town was named for and raised in Victorian England, Tristran then goes off to the land of Fairy to fetch back a fallen star for the girl he loves. Tristran, however, isn’t the only person after that fallen star. A scary witch-woman wants it to regain her youth, and three brothers are after it to prove they are worthy of claiming the Lordship of their homeland.

Thus goes Stardust, which does at times feel a little like every other fairy tale you’ve read and falls easily into the “quest” category. Tristran is helped along his way by three mysterious strangers. The star is, of course, a glittery woman with a temper. It’s enjoyable and Tristran is a pleasant character to read about. He’s simple in an honest way and loyal.

There are the clearly defined “good guys” and the obvious “bad guys”. The three brothers took it upon themselves to bump off their other four male siblings, and so there is no clear person to win the Lordship. The witch is intent on harvesting organs from various other characters in the story, which only heightens the disgust you feel for her (unless you have hidden sentiments for Hannibal Lector).

And so the story moves along at a smart clip, entertaining and beautifully illustrated. While not fantastically surprising, it is fantastically comforting: a tale where the good guys win and the bad guys well… don’t.

Stardust is told from a third person limited sense, although you do get to see a few encounters from long before Tristran’s birth.

My Thoughts:
I read this book at the behest of a coworker of mine (code named Jean-Luc) and it was a great way to spend my Friday night. Yes, the story was a little predictable at times, but that may be because I’m overly familiar with the way fairy tales run. The writing was pleasant, if wordy, and the world beautifully described.

Favorite Scene:
I found the idea of cloud ships and a tree-harbor very pleasant and somewhat original. I wished it would go on longer, but I suppose the story wouldn’t have ended if they’d all stayed aboard.

Who this book is best for:
This book, while a standard fairy tale, has a few “adult” scenes and some swearing. Therefore, unless your child is of age or you don’t mind those things, keep it 18+.

Violence: 3.5 of 5 for a few bloody death scenes and a few more poisonings.

Stars: 3 of 5

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