Rummanah Aasi
 I've had Neil Gaiman's Stardust on my bookshelf for quite sometime. I had the intention to read it last year for my Off the Shelf reading challenge from last, but didn't get around to doing it. Stardust is a detour from Gaiman's other works which usually are in the dark fantasy (as far as the ones I've read by him) realm. Though marketed as a fairy tale for adults, I think it's highly readable for teens too, which is why it was awarded the Alex Award in 2000 and later made into a movie of the same name. 

Description (from the Publisher): Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria-even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie-where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

Review: Stardust is an enchanting, old-fashioned fairy tale full of mythic images, magic, lyrical passages, an assortment of strange characters, and of course romance.
As our story opens, we are introduced to the town of Wall, which has one opening and is guarded day and night. If that's not strange enough, on one side of the stone bulwark is England; on the other, Faerie. Once every nine years, the guard is relaxed so that the villagers can attend a fair held in a nearby meadow. There, as a young man, Dunstan Thorn is seduced by a strange woman, and not quite a year later a child is left at the wall. His name is Tristran Thorn.
  Tristan is your typical fairy tale hero. He is over his head, impulsive, and is driven solely by his emotions. When he grows up, he falls in love with Victoria Forester, Wall's most beautiful girl who is completely shallow and flirtatious. In order to win her win her affection and separate himself from her slew of suitors, he vows to do the impossible: bring her the fallen star that they see one night. If Tristan returns with the star, then Victoria must fulfill her end of the deal of doing anything he wants.
  Of course hormone driven Tristan talks before he thinks and truly believes he will succeed on this journey although he is completely clueless on how to go about it. Throughout Tristan journey, we also learn of many other people who are also searching for the fallen star. The sons of the Lord of Stormhold also seek the star, for it is said that he who finds her can take his father's throne. The oldest of three evil witches also seeks the star, for her heart can grant youth and beauty. Little do they know that the star isn't what it seems.
  While the basic foundation of the traditional fairy tale exists i.e. hero's impossible mission, the quest, seeking maiden's love, Gaiman offers a tale that is fresh and original. His prose is simple yet lyrical, allowing the reader to slowly build their own Wall and Faerie in their heads. Though the plot begins with what it seems disjointed, multiple story lines, by the end of the book, they are all tied together quite nicely. Even though the resolution is satisfying, I felt the romance was a bit lacking. Couples bicker and spend time with each other, which fuels the humor, but I didn't really get the sense that they cared for one another. Despite this flaw, I did find Stardust an enjoyable read. I've also heard that the movie fixes this common complaint from readers and I do plan on seeing it. I would recommend Stardust for those who like fairy tale settings and want a light yet fulfilling read.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, a few small sex scenes, and some violence. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: The Princess Bride by William Golding or The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
6 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Ooooo this sounds good! And that is quite a quest he sets himself up for, I think I'd enjoy following him to see if he accomplishes it! Plus, his name is Tristan which has always been one of my very favorite names, so huge win there!


  2. I love fantasies and fairytales so it's weird that I haven't read a book by Gaiman yet. I need to change that soon, especially since a lot of people rave about his books.

    You've made me really curious about the star now, Rummanah! I didn't know that there's a movie based on the book so I'll probably check it out after. Watching a movie before I read the book tends to wreck the reading experience for me.


  3. I've seen the movie and I loved it! I didn't think anything about tread the book at the time, so I happy for this review. It kind of saddens me that the romance was as intense as I usually like it to be, but the whole original elements encourages me to give it a go anyway. :P


  4. danya Says:

    The movie is a lot of fun! Would definitely recommend it. It does have some cheesy moments and stereotypes/cliches, but it is so entertaining and the two leads are really cute together.


  5. I saw the movie before I ever knew about Neil Gaiman and the book. I think the movie ends just a tad happier than the book, but it's a good movie. Not award winning, but I watch it whenever it comes on. I find something different in it every time I watch it and the brothers are a funny scene whenever they appear.

    Good review. I need to read this one to see how it compares.

    Heather


  6. I didn't know the movie was based on a book :(
    I have seen the movie, mostly because of the cast. When you put Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sienna Miller together on a screen who wouldn't watch it! And there is a tiny bit of Ben Barnes in the movie you might like ;)


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