Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I lightly updated this 2012 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $2.99.

Stardust by Neil GaimanTakeaway: Fairytales are not just for children. Stardust is intentionally a fairytale written for adults and quite good.

Gaiman is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I have read almost all of his books. He is mostly an adult author (although I enjoyed his children’s books Coraline and Graveyard Book.) He is often quite funny, but he is not a slapstick author like Douglas Adams.  Many of his fantasy are on the dark side, but not oppressively so, more realistically dark.

Stardust is a story of Farie.  The story opens with a fair, once every 9 years the people of Farie (the magical world) and the people of the village of Wall (at the wall that separates Farie from the rest of the world) have a fair and buy and sell and meet one another.  Tristran’s father, meets a woman from Farie (there is one sex scene right at the beginning of the book) and Tristan is a product of that night.

When Tristran is grown (without knowing his parentage) he takes a challenge to go beyond the Wall into Farie to retrieve a fallen star so that he can win the heart of the girl he loves.  Of course it is not that simple, but the getting there is quite good.

I think this is probably tied as my favorite Gaiman book, along with his American Gods.  (update: I now think it is tied with his recent The Ocean at the End of the Lane as my favorite.)

If you have read Gaiman before, Stardust is much closer in feel to Neverwhere, than to his American Gods style.  Gaiman is the narrator in the audiobook and he is a very good narrator, one of the very best author narrators.  He has just the right inflection and pacing and sense of what is going on and is a great example of why I really like authors to read their own books.

I only saw the movie after reading the book at least twice. If you have seen the movie and didn’t like it I would still give the book a chance. I didn’t think the movie was horrible, but I didn’t think it was great and it really missed a lot of what made the book great.

Purchase links: Paperback, Kindle Audiobook

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