Author: Neil Gaiman
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
UK Release date: 1999
When ordinary shop-boy Tristan promises the fair Victoria that he will bring back a fallen star from the magical and mysterious land beyond the Wall in return for whatever his heart desires, little does he know that his journey across the faerie land will lead him to witches, fighting lions and maybe even love.
Review: Having already seen the film adaptation, there was inevitably going to be some comparison from the book to the film. I do love the film version and despite knowing the general gist of what happens, I still really enjoyed the book and its plot variations and twists.
Shop-boy Tristan might be rather naive in thinking that Victoria will marry him despite showing him little affection before, but I adored his positive nature. No matter what unusual and bizarre events happen in Faerie, Tristan is upbeat and determined. His fallen star Yvaine, however is cranky and grumpy. And who wouldn't be after being knocked out of the sky? Her relationship with Tristan is fraught with tension and disagreement, stemming form the fact that he takes her hostage to his romantic profession of love for Victoria. But slowly there relationship changes and develops in a very sweet and endearing way.
There are plenty of surprising, delightful and fantastic events, some straight from the pages of children’s nursery rhymes. The writing lulls you into the fairy story, enchanting you with tales and descriptions of the unusual characters, dramatic landscapes and histories of those living in Faerie. I have to admit I do love maps in fantasy books, and because Neil Gaiman's Faerie comes across as big and diverse I would love to have had a map to put places into context, but I understand that's just my unusual quirk.
Neil Gaiman purposefully aimed his fairy tale at adults incorporating a fair amount of sex, gore, and even one swear word. It did seem unnecessary and slightly shocking against the rest of the writing and without it, the story could have been perfectly enjoyed by children and adults alike. Saying this, Stardust is certainly one of the few books that I would consider re-reading again and again in the future. Just short of 200 pages and a standalone book, it can be picked up read for a fanciful diversion from the tedium of everyday life.
Stardust is an originally fantastical fairy tale filled with adventures beyond imagining.