#4 A Review of Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Cover ImageNeil Gaiman is by my definition a modern-day renaissance man.  He writes books for adults, books for children, writes songs, graphic novels, comic books, and much much more.  He truly is a writer capable of many things and writes with an imagination unparalleled.  Published in 1998, Stardust, was the first solo prose novel written by Gaiman. 
Tristran Thorn is completely head over heels in love with Victoria Forester.  While walking in their hometown of Wall one evening Tristran decides to tell Victoria of his eternal love for her.  A star begins to fall as Tristran tells Victoria, prompting her to say to him that if he goes and captures the star she will let him have his hearts desires.  Knowing that the star is the way to Victoria’s heart he sets off across the wall (the wall is what gives the town its name) and begins his journey for the star in the land of Faerie.  Along the journey he meets a cast of characters that are all a bit strange: witches, stars, flying lightning catchers, little hairy men, a unicorn, talking trees, and many more.  Each play an integral part in his journey to the star and also make him question his heritage.   Is he really the son of the Thorns from Wall, or is there more about him that meets the eye.  Is his love for Victoria really as eternal as he thinks it is?  The star on the other hand has a journey of her own, trying to escape an evil witch that is trying to eat her heart for eternal youth.  The star must also be found by the next leader of Stormhold so that they may lay claim on the topaz jewel that she wears around her waist.  Will Tristran and the star make it through the perilous journey and back to Wall in time for Tristran to present the star to Victoria?  You must read Stardust to find out!
The first thing I have to say about this novel is the detail in which Gaiman writes.  He has literally created an entire world for his readers.  I really wish that the world he created was real because it is amazing.  The detail that is put into describing places that don’t really get visited in the novel is just exquisite. 

“With Tristran’s next step he was standing beside a lake, and the candlelight shone brightly on the water; and then he was walking through the mountains, through lonely crags, where the candlelight was reflected in the eyes of the creatures of the high snows; and then he was walking through the clouds, which, while not entirely substantial, still supported his weight in comfort; and then holding tightly to his candle, he was underground, and the candlelight glinted back at him from the wet cave walls; now he was in the mountains once more; and then he was on a road through a wild forest, and he glimpsed a chariot being pulled by two goats, being driven by a woman in a red dress who looked, for the glimpse he got of her, the way Boadicea was drawn in his history books; and another step and he was in a leafy glen, and he could hear the chuckle of water as it splashed and sang its way into a small brook.”

Gaiman’s entire novel is filled with these descriptive passages.  It’s absolutely amazing to read and be able to picture what you are reading in your entire head.  Even though the above paragraph is one sentence, it doesn’t read as one sentence.  My brain would take pauses as I was reading to create the images I was reading about.  It certainly made the novel more enjoyable for me. (I’m guessing it would for other readers as well)

There are so many enjoyable characters in Stardust.  Tristran has an amazing “coming of age” story that is written so well.  For me I’ve sometimes read novels that the character just becomes an adult without anything really driving their maturity.  In Stardust Tristran must take his childhood and his childhood learnings and use them as instruments that drive his march into adulthood.  He must come to terms with his lineage and his emotions and use them all on his journey both from Wall to Faerie and from child to adult.  On the other hand Yvaine, the star, must learn to deal with her new surroundings.  As a fallen star she will never be allowed back into the sky and so must learn to live among the creatures/people of Faerie.  While she starts off as a proud and angry star, she learns that not everyone “below” is after her; there are some that do have her best interests at heart.  It’s Gaiman’s characterizations of these characters that make them so likeable and so enjoyable to read about.  It’s been said that he has the sequel to Stardust in his head, waiting for the right time to write it down.  For all of us, I hope that time comes soon. 

5 out of 5 Stars

This is my first completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Harper Perennial Publishers (2006)
Paperback 288 pages
ISBN: 9780061142024
To visit Neil’s website click here
For more works by Neil click here

7 thoughts on “#4 A Review of Stardust by Neil Gaiman

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention #4 A Review of Stardust by Neil Gaiman « Reflections of a Book Addict -- Topsy.com

  2. Great review of Stardust! I agree with everything you said, and I’d like to add that I also enjoyed the little backstory that’s given about Tristan’s mother. It’s a very small (but ultimately important) part of the story, and I liked how that gave a fantastical flavor to a fairy tale type story.

    Stardust is also a great “bridge” book between Gaiman’s kid stuff and his grown up stuff.

  3. Pingback: Adam’s Film Friday – A Review of Stardust « Reflections of a Book Addict

  4. Nice review! I read this after watching the movie. I kind of liked the movie more because I enjoyed the humor but I still thought this was an excellent fantasy novel. I am glad you liked it.

    • Hi Christina!! I had the hardest time picking which I liked more. Both the film and the book had aspects that made it better than the other. I’ve also been told that reading the graphic novel is another “must-do” in relation to Stardust. While I was reading I just kept wondering what visions Gaiman had going through his head as he was writing! I think I might have to give the graphic novel a try…

  5. Pingback: Reflections of a Book Addict: ArmchairBEA Day 2 & 3 « Reflections of a Book Addict

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