Sunday, April 06, 2008

Stardust


Gaiman, Neil. 1999. Stardust.

If this book doesn't have you at hello, I don't know that I can help you. There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire. And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man there ever was or will be could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole of it. What a great beginning. It's just so beautiful, so magical. Doesn't it just feel right?

Stardust is set in nineteenth century England in the community of Wall. (1830s and 1840s to be exact.) This community is built by a large (and by large I mean high and long) grey rock wall. There is a gap in the wall, however, a gap that is guarded at all times. Guarded so no one--especially children--can slip through, and guarded so no one can slip in. Beyond the gap, there is a meadow, a beautiful meadow that is forbidden. Forbidden except for one day (and one night) every nine years when the Faerie market comes to the meadow. This is the only time when the two communities (the rather mundane humans and the fantastical, magical faerie world) interact. Our novel opens with us meeting Dunstan Thorn.

I really can't say much more about it. I could, but I won't. It's magical. It's beautiful. It's adventuresome. It's just great storytelling. I loved every moment of it. There were so many things I loved about it that I couldn't begin to describe them in such a way as to do the book and its characters justice. Just trust me. If you haven't met Neil Gaiman, use Stardust as an introduction!!! This isn't my first Gaiman. It's my third. But it is by far my favorite.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

18 comments:

chrisa511 said...

So glad you enjoyed it! I absolutely love this book :) If you ever have some extra money I suggest picking up the version with Charles Vess' illustrations. It makes it a hundred times better if you can imagine that being possible.

DesLily said...

sheesh, you are just flying through these book reviews!!

I read this book last summer, just before the movie came out. Did you see the movie ?? It was pretty good.. not great, but it was good.

Becky said...

Chris, I'll keep this in mind. I'd love to own my own copy of this. If I did I'm sure I'd reread like crazy every year. But this was the library copy. I'm sure it would be great :)

I haven't seen the movie, Deslily, while I'm sure it couldn't be as good as the book, I am curious to see it. It's not topping my list at the moment, but one day I'm sure I'll get to it.

I'm so busy reading, I rarely get to watch movies. One addiction at a time I suppose. :)

Unknown said...

I loved the movie and have been looking forward to getting around to reading this at some point as well as the graphic novel. I think this is the only "adult" novel of his I have yet to read.

The Bookworm said...

great review, I've only heard good things about this book.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Melissa said...

I LOVED this book. I haven't read any more Gaiman... though I'm going to try American Gods here soon. Hubby's reading it and he says it's weird... anyway. Glad you liked it.

Robin said...

I loved this book when I read it last year for Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge. It was my wonderful introduction to Neil Gaiman. The movie was fun, but it couldn't match the book for me. Very nice review!

Becky said...

Naida, you should definitely give it a try :) It's so fabulous!

I started American Gods when it was online free, but gave up after a hundred pages. Not because I wasn't enjoying it. But just because reading books on the computer screen isn't really much of a 'pleasurable' experience. I like to touch my books and hold them in my hands. So I decided to just wait for the library copy. It still isn't on the shelves. It's one of those that is taunting me by always always being checked out.

What I read was weird. Really weird. And it was completely different from Stardust. I do want to read it though. Every Gaiman I've picked up has been different from what I've read before. So maybe he's just really diverse in styles. But I do like him. 2008 will probably be THE year of Gaiman.

Booklogged said...

Great review, Becky. I liked both the book and the movie, tho they were a bit different. Book is definitely better.

Debi said...

Oh, you're making me really want to go dig this out of my pile RIGHT NOW!

Marg said...

I haven't read any Gaiman books yet, but I do have this out of the library. Sounds like I chose a good place to start.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I love your opening line and agree totally. This is such an enchanting, engaging reworking of the fairy tale cliches. It is amazing to experience. I think you might be disappointed by the film. I wasn't the first time I saw it but become more distressed about it after watching it again on DVD. It just missed the mark compared to what it could have been.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Alix said...

I loved this too. I think Neil Gaiman is brilliant at opening lines and story telling generally.

Unknown said...

Loved your review of this. I've only read CORALINE, so I'll definitely have to read this.

valentina said...

it's true, the beginning is irresistible, a must read for any true fantasy and fairy-tale lover:)

Framed said...

This book was my introduction to Gaiman and I loved it also. I've now read three of his books and "Good Omens" is my favorite, but only just barely. Wonderful review.

katrina said...

Fantastic review. I hope you don't mind but I've linked it to my review of this book x

Josette said...

I've watched the movie and since I enjoyed it so much, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the book itself! Well, I kinda like the book but I preferred the movie! True, the writing was awesome in the book and I enjoyed reading about Tristran's journey. Here's my Stardust review.