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Oh Neil Gaiman, how I love thee.
What a magical book. It feels so good to read. It made me laugh a lot, say 'aww' a lot and just generally made me feel good.
What is it about?
A young man's quest to win the heart of the village beauty sends him into the forbidden land over the Wall that protects the village.
He is submerged into the strange, enchanting land of magic and danger where hard truths and lessons are around every corner.
The story is a journey of realising your self-worth, finding your strength and enjoying the unpredictable path of life!
What I thought?
I came to the book through the film (which I also loved) and I was happy to find that the book was different enough to enjoy without me thinking 'been there, done that' all the way through.
I thought the characters were extremely well designed, they had me loving them or hating them where appropriate and I missed them when I closed the book.
I was looking for an enchanting fairytale for adults for a long time, finding very little that hit the spot until Stardust.
I've yet to find another that satisfies on so many levels like Stardust manages to do.
You know what this story makes me want to do? Spin. In the middle of a moonlit daisy field wearing a floaty white dress. It's that kind of story :)
Neil Gaiman's fantasy story about a boy Tristran Thorn who goes into the magical kingdom of Faerie to retrieve a fallen star for his beloved Victoria, only to encounter deadly princes, evil witches, unicorns and sky pirates was originally published in 1998 as a large format picture book, with illustrations by Charles Vess. It was Neil's first solo prose and was a huge success, leading to a film adaptation in 2007.
For those of you who have seen the film, the book follows a very similar plot - a star, fallen out of the sky, is being chased down by witches, who want her heart to regain their youth and princes who need the chain around her neck (a last act by their dying father, to sort out who was going to be the next king), and her only defense is young Tristran Thorn, who only wants her to present her to the girl he is in love with. What Tristran doesn't know is of the adventure they'll have to take to get there...
Stardust takes a lot of the themes we are very familiar with from fairy tales - like the covens of three witches yearning for youth - and twisting them around on themselves. For those of you who know Neil Gaiman, his love for folklore and classic tales really shows here as he takes everything we thought we knew and puts a new spin on it. This gives us this fantastic impression of an actual fantasy fairy tale world, but unlike folklore, actually makes it seem like a possible, plausible world. It's as fantastical and magical as ever, but we can't help think that yes, perhaps there is a land like this beyond the Wall.
The original book had some amazing illustrations by Charles Vess and is a worthy buy if you can find it. The new illustration-less paperbacks are still pretty good though, as the story itself is really good.
This book, what seemed at the beginning to be something of a simple fairy tale (surely too simple for Neil Gaiman, I thought)
Tristran Thorn is a bit of an oaf, and unknowing a mongrel with a human father and otherworldly mother. He lives in the village of Wall, which sits unnervingly close to the barrier between our world and the world of Faerie.
In order to win the love of village heart throb Victoria Forrester, Tristran vows to venture out of Wall and into Faerie in order to retrieve the star they saw fall together. Ignoring her discouragements, and those of the rest of the village, he sets off into Faerie on a whirlwind adventure to retrieve a fallen star, unaware that he is not the only one on a seemingly simple pursuit. Also on the trial of the star a several bloodthirsty princes from the great kingdom of Stormhold, not to mention a rather crafty witch.
What Tristran doesn't realise is that the star is in fact a rather fiery young woman by the name of Yvane, who has no interest in him or his love for Victoria Forrester. She vows to make a royal pain of herself throughout the journey, despite the fact that he has attempted to mend her broken leg.
I'll admit this wasn't entirely what I expected, and then, it was. I'll say now after reading this book I have no intention of watching the film, as what I have seen seems to have been totally butchered almost beyond recognition.
Indeed, this is a fairy tale as only Neil Gaiman can write it; with all the sex, violence and language left in. All very tasteful (if you can believe it!) it's all relevant, and although I must admit I was a little disappointed by the ending, it was good ride and certainly worth reading. I got into the book almost immediately, and would recommend it to somebody who is just dabbling in the joys of Gaiman; its not like the other bits I've read, the content somewhere between his kids stuff and adults stuff; a bit of fantasy thrown in but not too much weirdness. Anansi Boys was the first of Neil Gaiman's I read and frankly compared to that Stardust is tame, even with all the throat cutting and so forth!
How far would you go to win the hand and heart of your true love? Would you wander alone into an unknown land in a quest to find the falling star that you and that loved one witnessed in it's decent from the night sky? This is the pledge made by Tristan Thorn to his somewhat unrequiting love Victoria, and is a pledge that takes Tristan to a world beyond his wildest dreams; a world of unicorns, talking trees, dwarves, evil witches and a world where his particular fallen star takes the form of a beautiful (not to mention rather feisty!) young woman...
In "Stardust", the genius that is Neil Gaiman has the reader eating out the palm of his hand with a fairy story that is certainly aimed at an adult audience. With nods to the classic fairytales of the past, but with a definate modern Gaiman slant, "Stardust" takes the reader to magical other world and shows that a you can often surprise yourself with your own bravery, determination and compassion when taken out of the comfortable safety of home - in fact, you might even learn to be yourself.
Already being a fan of Neil Gaimans, I read first Stardust a while before the film came out, and recently read it again, the first time I have since the film came out. I could half remember some parts being different from the films, but upon re-reading, I really was surprised by how much it does actually differ. So to begin with, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone wanting to read the-book-of-the-film.
Like the film, the book follows the story of Tristran Thorn, who passes through the wall which separates his village from the land of fairy, on the search of a falling star, which he has promised to give to the girl he loves. When he finds the star and it happens to be a girl called Yvaine. The story takes us along on their journey back to Wall, Tristrans home town, while they encounter vengeful ghosts, unicorns, witches, and a number of people also searching for the star which they must elude for Yvaine to reach safety.
Stardust is an action packed, fast paced, fairy tale for adults. It's really quite funny in places and I find myself not wanting to put it down once I've started to read it. Tristran and Yvaine encounter a lot of different characters on their travels who are all interesting and engaging. I think with reading any book, it does help if the main characters are truly likeable. By the end of the book (if not by the middle) you will find yourself rooting for the characters and hoping for a happy ending. Although the book travels quickly through the land of fairy, you do feel like you get to know it and its many secrets, the description is expressive and lush with detail.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves fairy tales, in any shape or form. But this isn't a children's book. It does contain one use of strong language, sex, and death.
Just a quick one to warn those whose children enjoyed the film of Stardust: don't try to persuade them to read the book like I did as there's a pretty graphic sex scene in chapter one! Luckily my 11-year-old flatly refused to read the book so I read it myself & was a bit surprised at the saucy part. Although I'd loved Coraline by the same author I found the writing in this very dull despite the promising subject matter, & rapidly abandoned it after a chapter or two.
I've wanted to read Stardust ever since I went to see the film at the cinema, and finally got around to it the other day. Make no mistake, the book is very different from the film. There is sex and death, blood and violence. This is a fairytale for adults.
After watching the film, the book's ending might seem a little anticlimactic, but it makes for a more thoughtful tale. The villains in the book are much less one-dimensional than in the film, and you end up feeling pity rather than glee at their downfall. The book ends on rather a note of melancholy, which after the excitement and adventure of the previous events makes even more of a contrast.
The language is rich and evocative, and really brings out the otherworldliness of Faerie.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. In some ways it bears resemblances and parallels to fairytales of old; in others it adds original twists and new ideas. Whether you've seen the film or not (and I recommend you do, it's great), this is a really good read.
After watching the recent movie, which I absolutely adored, this book definitely became a must read. The story follows the search for a fallen star by several different characters but mainly follows the character of Tristran Thorn. Tristran is a young man out to prove his worth to the woman he loves, Victoria. In order to win her hand in marriage he's promised to find and present her with a fallen star, one that incidentally has just passed into the magical would beyond the 'wall' at the outskirts of his home village (of the same name). Little does he know when he sets out on his journey that the star is in fact a woman named Yvaine. Also in pursuit of the star is a witch who intends to consume the heart of the star in order to restore their youth and magic. The final pursuers are the sons' and potential heirs to the Stormhold throne; they each seek power which causes theirs and the stars' paths to cross.
Stardust is an enjoyable and imaginative story which suffers from being a mite too short. While the plot and characters are good they aren't around long enough to be developed sufficiently. This is particularly noticeable in the description, or lack thereof, of the growing relationship between Tristran and Yvaine. Having seen the movie, I was expecting a little more than a brief mention of Yvaine singing pleasantly to him.
Although the length of the novel detracts from the content, it does at least make it a nice, quick and easy read, which I can't deny is truly enjoyable. I would, however, recommend the movie a little more. In my opinion it's a bit better than the book, a rare case it would seem.
Just a word of warning, there is some description fairly early on the book which probably isn't very suitable for young children (if you were thinking of bedtime reading). I was fooled into believing this was a children's, or at least suitable for children, book, which it really isn't.
As soon as I heard that Neil Gaimans Stardust was being made into a major film due for release in October 2007, I knew I was going to have to read the book. Ive been a big fan of the author ever since a friend lent me a copy of Good Omens in the hope Id start reading Terry Pratchett. However, bitter experience has taught me that books are nearly always better than the films they become, so even knowing that Gaimans work translates well to screen thanks to the BBC adaptation of Neverwhere; I knew I had to read the book first.
Tristran Thorn is young and in love, or at least in lust, and that makes him act on the rashest of impulses. Hence, one night when he sees a star fall, he promises to go and fetch it in exchange for a kiss, or the promise of something more. Tristrans problem is that hes not the only one looking for the poor fallen star. The heart of a falling star has the power to keep witches young and the star may have in her possession a jewel, which is vital for anyone wishing to succeed the recently deceased Lord of Stormhold.
As if this competition wasnt bad enough, the star has landed in Faerie, the land on the other side of the Wall. Whilst he can get there easily enough, thanks to the gap in the wall of Wall, he will no longer be on his home turf, which everyone else will be. Tristrans eventual aim may be to live happily ever after, but there is going to be some hardship along the way, especially as hes in competition with witches, who arent known for playing fair and because hes far away from everything familiar to him.
Gaiman has created the world of Faerie with enough nods towards traditional fairy tales for parts to be familiar to virtually everyone. Even if the references themselves arent immediately obvious, tales of witches and spells and falling stars and unicorns have been told in so many different places and by so many people over the years that parts of this story feel like old friends; something you can instantly comfortable in the company of.
At the same time, however, Gaiman goes to great lengths to ensure that the readers realises that this is not a fairy tale; it is a tale of Faerie, which is a completely different and harder world to be a part of. However, it still has the ability to enchant, despite the events that remind you that this is not a childrens tale; or one where the happily ever after comes guaranteed. I found myself aware that Faerie was not a real place, yet hoping it does exist somewhere and that I may stumble across it one day. Gaiman may have removed the security that comes with fairy tales, but he has removed none of the appeal.
Stardust isnt a huge book, but its so easy to read that the pages are behind you very quickly. It is a world and a book that you can lose yourself in entirely; shutting out the real world purely because Faerie seems like a far more attractive place to be.
The version of the book I have, with the standard black cover also has a short interview with Neil Gaiman and a short excerpt from a kind of prequel to Stardust that never made it past the first few pages. Both are enjoyable, especially the interview, which has some great flashes of humour, most notably when Gaiman is talking about the differences between standard fairy tales and this tale of Faerie. There does appear to be a new version to tie in with the release of the forthcoming film version, but I dont know if this contains any additional material relating to the film, or the same as my edition.
This is one of those rare books in these days of over inflated prices that is good enough to make paying the cover price of £7.99 acceptable value. If youre only paying £3.45 from Amazon or £1.66 from the Amazon Marketplace, this is even better value and well worth reading. If youve heard anything about the film and think it sounds worth a look, I would encourage you to read the book first. If you enjoy tales of magic and strange lands, this is one for you. Gaiman fans will be delighted and anyone who reads for pleasure will most likely be as enchanted as I was. Definitely one worth adding to your Amazon Wish-upon-a-falling-star-list.
Fairy tales are for children but what of those among us who believe we are still children inside though physically we are grown up? Neil Gaiman gives us his faerytale, Stardust the fairy tale for adults.
Now I have to observe now that from reading te blurb on the cover and studying the cover itself there is little to indicate that this is not a childrens book except the recommendation from a friend who clearly stated that it is a book for grown up children,and that friends word has always been good enough for me!
Stardust is set in the land of Faerie, beginningin the village of Wall and has as its lead character a young man by the name of Tristan Thorn. Tristan is in love with Victoria Forester but with the foolishness of love promises to bring her back the star they saw falling in return for her giving him whatever he desires, a dangerous bargain if ever you read such things!
This means that young Tristan has to go through the gap in the Wall, a thing which is only done once every 9 years normally on the day of the Faerie Market. But since Tristan came from the other side of the wall it is only right that he returns to there while on his quest. Meanwhile a Lord is dying, and he sets his 3 living sons off on a quest to retrieve the Topaz which is the mark of the Lords of Stormhold, and one third of the Liliam is also seeking the fallen star. And who or what is the girl Tristan finds in the Mountains?
Since my usual choice in fiction is on a more realistic level I was dubious about reading this, after all fary stories are for children and I am not a child no matter how much I might want to be at times. But I was pleasantly surprised by this, I wouldnt say it is the best book I have ever read nor is it the worst, but it is certainly a niche book, in fact the closest thing I can compare it too would be some of Terry Pratchetts books but even then it is a stretch to make that comparison!
If you have read other Neil Gaiman books then this one should be a logical step, it is rather short at only 194 pages long but the story itself feels much longer somehow. As it is a faerie tale you really do need to suspend your knowledge of reality but no more so than if you were reading a sci-fi novel. Since it is so short then it is also not such a terrible thing if you read it and dont enjoy it after all many magazines have more pages these days. One thing to note is that this is definately not one to allow children to read, despite it being a faerie tale it is not in any way a childrens book, which must have made it a risky purchase for the publishing house.
Overall I quite enjoyed this, less so than I had hoped but more than I would have expected to enjoy a faerie tale as an adult. I bought it for £1 in a charity shop but it is avaliable from amazon for 1p in the market place, and is ususally stocked in the bigger bookstores at the cover price of £6.99 which is frankly a ridiculous price for such a slim volume.
Once upon a time, faerie stories were for adults as well as children. The Victorian era did a lot to sanitise our older folklore, tot ame it and render it 'cute'. Neil Gaiman has found his way back to that older sort of tale, where the real magic is. Clearly informed by the traditional faerie stories "Stardust" charts the adventures of a young man called Tristan. Tristan comes from a small town, and has unusual parentage, for while his father is a local, he himself is probably the product of his father's tryst with a faerie maiden. Tristan is not entirely aware of his origins, but is a bright youth. He falls in love with a local girl, and decides that to prove his love, he will fetch a fallen star for her. The star in question has fallen on the other side of The Wall - and through the gap in the wall Tristan must go, into the lands of the faerie folk. In the faerie realms, nothing is quite what it seems, and light and darkness shift often in an ever changing pattern. When Tristan does find the star, she isn't quite what he was expecting. Furthermore, she's caught up in the affiars of a kingdom - in a succession. There's magic aplenty, old curses to be broken, kingdoms to reclaim, ghosts, waring siblings, strange people, unicorns, nursery rhymnes and romance. Full of the wonderful humour evident in Gaiman's oher work, and beautifully illustrated, this a really excellent book that will delight those who enjoy real faeire stories and who are more Grimm than Disney. It is a bit too dark and violent for children I think - there's quite a bit of stuff that younger readers might find scary, and it is rather melancholy in places. Plus there are some sexual references that adults might not feel inclined to have to explain! For fans of Gaiman's Sandman project, this will sometimes seem quite familiar, and I would say it is aimed at much the same sort of person. A touch of dark fantasy, a touch of won
der, a dash of magic and off you go.
Neil Gaiman says in his introduction to this book that he wanted to write a fairy story for adults. He believes that adults have just as much right to escape to fantasy lands as children do.... and I have to wholeheartedly agree! The story follows the adventures of Tristan as he goes on the quest of a lifetime to find a fallen star. He does this to impress the girl he has loved for years, who said she may marry him if he gave her a star as a present. Off he goes, our hapless hero, stumbling into all kinds of danger and meeting all manner of odd people along the way. I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's work - from his 'Sandman' comics to the short story collections. I don't think this is the best thing he has ever written, but it is certainly a charmingly told, fantastical whimsy to soften the hardest of hearts. I love the way he mixes the modern with the ancient and plays around with time and space in this novel. There are two versions of this book available - one plain tex, the other beautifully illustrated. It's a matter of personal choice, of course, but I think I really prefer reading the plain text one most (I have both versions, having asked for it as a birthday present and having two people buy it :-) The drawings are exquisite and add to the beauty of the text, but I like to make up the way characters look in my own mind - it kind of spoils it when they don't match up. If you would like to leave that drab office and the beige dreariness that overtakes the best of us at times, this is the tale for you! Re-live your childhood fantasies and play make-believe in your mind...
Neil Gaiman's book "Stardust" (ISBN-0-7472-7419-3) is an adult fairystory set both in our world and Gaiman's mythical world "Fairey". The story follows the exploits of a young man called Tristan Thorn as he goes on a quest to retrieve a "fallen star" for the girl he wants to marry. Problem is that there are at least two other "intereted parties" keen to get hold of the star too. Readers of Gaiman's Sandman series will recognise the Kingdom of Fairey and at least one group of characters although Gaiman does not cross reference between the two works in Stardust. I found this an enjoyable read with some very vivid scenes painted by the author. However, I felt that the end seemed to come on us a little too quickly. I felt that things were resolved a little too easily. Nonetheless Gaiman fans will not be disappointed and anyone who likes this sort of adult fantasy. I understand from reading some film literature, it may have been "Empire" or more probably "SFX" that Stardust is to be made into a film. If so it should be very entertaining.
In an attempt to win the love of a girl, Tristan Thorn enters a mystical realm to search for a fallen star.