05 June, 2011

Book Review: Stardust

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Spike Books
Genre: Fantasy/Adult
Page Count: 235
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Cover Rating:

Inside flap:
In the sleepy English countryside, at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at its leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall, so named for an imposing stone barrier that divides the village from an adjacent meadow. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in this wall, in order to keep the curious from wandering through. Only once every nine years do they relax their vigil, when a market fair unlike any other comes to the meadow.
   Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant--as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crip October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria's hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining.
   But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to the kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises--and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and time.

My expectations: High. I love books by Neil Gaiman.

I am happy to say I wasn't disappointed.

About the book: Some books are plot-based, some books are character-driven, some books have a beautiful setting. But there are fewer books out there that are just, simply, a really good story that you want to hear over and over again. This happens to be one of them. Stardust is a well-written novel with a great set of characters, lots of adventure, and good amount of romance, too. It's rather fairy-tale-ish, with people romping about trying to find falling stars in a the English countryside for love and youth and power, but it's wonderfully told.

  • Plot:

Great pacing, a good number of twists throughout, and the adventure just carries you along. The ending is excellent--it was one of my favorite parts of the book, tying things up well but into something not exactly perfect, either.

  • Characters:

Tristran was sweet. He's young, he's innocent, and his motives are purely for love. He's nice to the people he meets, means well, and tries to do his best. How much sweeter can you get?

Yvaine was feisty, independent, and a great female character. I loved her spunk.

Tertius, Secundus, and Septimus, and their brothers (alive and dead) were excellent antagonists. Dark, evil, cunning; it was easy to rally on the side of the protagonist against them.

  • Setting/Elements:

The world in Stardust would have to be one of the places I'd want to visit. It's magical, a blend of this world and the world of Faerie--but not the cold, sinister sort of setting a lot of Faerie books seem to present these days. It's a realistic mix of good and bad.

Other: Language, sex.

I wish my library had the movie, because I really want to see how they did it, but they don't. (Have any of you seen it? Is it good?)

Do I recommend this book? Yes!

-----The Golden Eagle


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I haven't read the book or seen the movie but I'm curious. I'll have to look it up.

Sarah said...

I love this book! I've never read anything by Gaiman that I didn't like, and I have to wonder...Is there anything the man can't write?

What I liked best about Stardust is that it doesn't try to be anything more than what it is. A beautifully written original fairy-tale.

I haven't seen the movie either, but am also curious about it. Thanks for reminding me, I'll have to see if we can get in via Netflix...

Old Kitty said...

Oh I loved the film but not read the book!! Now I will, I will!!!

Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I enjoyed this book. The opening scene caught me by surprise - wasn't expecting that in a young adult book - - but I realized it set up the story.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

The book is amazing. The movie is great, if you aren't expecting the book. Especially the Dustin Hoffman character. It's mostly faithful, but there are a few things that are way different.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I adore this book! He is a great author.

I enjoyed the film too. It is different from the book, but still maintains the magic.

KatieO said...

I loved the movie and am ashamed to say I haven't read the book yet - I keep meaning to take it out from the library but then get all overwhelmed by the shiny new book section (ooh, newww boooooks!)

I will put it on my TBR list - again!
Thanks for the review!

Brian said...

That sure sounds interesting and I'm sure I would like that one! Thanks for the great review!!!

Larissa said...

I haven't read the book, but the movie is one of my favorites!

Anonymous said...

I'm not usually into sci fi mystical stuff, but this sounds brilliant. I love a well-written adventure with a bit of romance.

Liz said...

Loved the movie. Went to see it in the theater just because of a description I read about it in a summer movie preview. Bought the DVD when it first came out.

Need to read the book. I keep meaning to...

Jemi Fraser said...

I've bought this book TWICE for my classroom. Unfortunately it has 'disappeared' twice as well. Obviously a couple of kids loved it and couldn't part with it. :) I'll have to buy another copy for myself!

Carla said...

I haven't read the book (I really think I need to!) but I LOVED the movie! There were lots of surprises, and the story, characters, scenery, and really everything were absolutely delightful. I'm sure it strayed a bit from the book -- they always do -- but I liked it.


Sarah Pearson said...

Love love love Neil Gaiman. The other Sarah said 'is there anything the man can't write?'. No, I don't think so.
He even wrote my favourite episode of Doctor Who this season :)

My daughters are also huge Gaiman fans and they liked the film, so it must be good as they can be quite sniffy about people messing with 'their' books! I swear I'll get round to watching it at some point.

Susan Kane said...

My husband read the series and then paraphrased it to me on long drives. We saw the movie, loved it. I wish there were sequels of the movie, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw the film and it was cute but awfully predictable. I may have to read the book.

Pk Hrezo said...

SO I was so excited to read this book because I love the film so much. But I was very disappointed in it. The film story was much better I thought... but hey, I have to give props to Gaiman for the idea.

Hart Johnson said...

I totally didn't realize Neil Gaiman wrote this. I love the movie. And I love the Gaiman I've read. it makes total sense now that I see it.

Tere Kirkland said...

One of my favorites! Glad you liked it.

nutschell said...

I LOVE Stardust!!! I love both the book and film versions. I actually think they did a great job with the movie--especially bringing in top actors like michelle pfeiffer and robert deniro. Its become my favorite movie ever. I can watch it over and over again and never get tired.

Donea Lee said...

I saw the movie first and LOVED it!! I'm not sure it was well reviewed, but it's one of my favorites.

I bought the book because I loved the movie. I enjoyed the book, it's different and has a darker/sex vibe to it than the movie - the movie wins out for me, but I enjoyed both.

N. R. Williams said...

Intriguing. Another book to put on my TBR list.

The Golden Eagle said...

Susan: The book is really good. :)

Sarah: Me, neither; I've enjoyed all the books by him that I've read!

I agree!

I wish the library had it. They have a lot of other DVDs, but not Stardust, apparently.

Old Kitty: It's worth the read!

Alex: I thought it was Adult, actually. At least, that was the impression I got . . .

Kayeleen: They usually change something--and I don't mind things like that as long it stays true to the book overall.

Holly: Definitely! :)

Now I really want to see it!

KatieO: I get distracted by the New Books section, too. :P They're just so attractive in the new, shiny covers, aren't they?

You're very welcome!

Brian: Anytime. :) If you do read Stardust, I hope you enjoy it!

Larissa: It sounds like a good movie, from what I've read elsewhere and here in the comments. :D

Catherine: It's more Fantasy, actually; I didn't really think it had an SF feel to it.

Me, too! :)

Liz: I have to get around to watching the movie.

Jemi: LOL. Well, at least they liked it! :)

Carla: It's a great book!

Awesome. The movie's definitely on my to-be-watched list!

Sarah: I love his books, too. :)

I heard that he was writing Doctor Who episodes--I haven't seen any of them, though.

Must be! :D

Susan: There's a sequel to the book?

Charles: I loved the book!

Pk: It's too bad you didn't like the book. I can see why someone wouldn't, though.

Hart: Opposite for me--I didn't even know there was a movie until I Googled the book!

Tere: It's a great story, isn't it?


Nutschell: I've never actually seen the actors before; heard of them, though. Glad to hear they did such a good job! :)

Donea: LOL. It seems like a lot of people have seen the movie but not read the book; it's usually the opposite!

There are some darker things in the book; but I still really enjoyed it.

Nancy: If you get around to reading Stardust, I hope you enjoy the book! :)

Carol Riggs said...

I've seen the movie but not read the book. Absolutely ADORED the movie. Rah! You HAVE to see it!

Tara said...

I loved this movie! I will have to check out the book now! =D