Stardust Paperback – 4 Oct 2007
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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The versatile Neil Gaiman is best known for scripting upmarket graphic novels, most famously the lengthy Sandman cycle. Stardust was a joint project with artist Charles Vess, a short novel of fairyland enriched by at least one sumptuous painting on every page. This edition contains only the (slightly rewritten) text, alas. Gaiman's story looks back to days before commercial genre fantasy, to Lord Dunsany's and Hope Mirrlees's visions of Faerie as a misty country which is at the same time temptingly close and "over the hills and far away". The simple tale is new but has a twice-told familiarity, crafted like a mosaic from many traditional elements. Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian- English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes, and all the rest. Stardust is by turns knowing, poetic, comic and grisly and exudes considerable charm. If only we had those full-colour Vess paintings too. --David Langford --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
In prose that dances and dazzles, Gaiman describes the indescribable: the eerie colours, ravishing scents and dangerous laughter of Faerie (Susanna Clarke)
A new fairy tale about a young man's hunt for his heart's desire, told in clear, rolling prose (Guardian) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and to date, there hasn't been a single book of his that had disappointed me, and this one was no exception.
As with most Gaiman books, it begins with a collision of the normal and the fantastical. In this instance, it's the village of Wall, which for centuries, had guarded the entrance of the land of Faerie. Tristan, a young lad from the village, is hopelessly in love with Victoria - so much so that, when he sees a shooting star fall to the ground, somewhere far away in faerie land, he vows to go and retrieve it and give it to his beloved.
There's a problem with that plan, though. The star is a girl called Yvaine, she's got a broken leg, and what's more, she doesn't want to go with Tristan. Even worse, a few other people (including a very nasty witch) are after her too.
I don't spoil the plot too much, but Gaiman fans can expect the usual - clever, twisty-turny plots, lots of fabulously creative characters and plenty of pace. It's gripping, wildly inventive and occasionally amusing - just the sort of writing that I find a joy to read - escapism at its best! (less)
My son, 13, was suddenly interested in comic books and so, in a mall somewhere near Charleston, we found ourselves in a comic book store talking to a tall Goth girl of ink and metal who understood that he didn't know what he was looking for and took a role in understanding where to point him first. I was enraptured for reasons other than the merchandise and handed over money for whatever she suggested I needed to buy him, which turned out actually not to be Neil Gaiman, but I remember her spending some time saying his name many times. I remember little else as I was spellbound at the time, which I now find is rather apt. I don't remember the drive home. What was this about?.... Oh yes.
My Kindle has not had charge for some time as I have been through several paperbacks, but when I charged her up this time and browsed what I had to read in there I found this; Stardust - Neil Gaiman. I now knew the name but still have absolutely no idea how it came to be there. I have no recollection of buying it and have no conscious prior knowledge that Neil Gaiman did novels as opposed to graphic novels, even. I was wondering what to read next, so I began.
What immediately struck me was the language, laid upon the page as if from a time when things like this mattered and words needed to intertwine like soft borders of a garden, not just pretty, but deep and lush, with a whole new world within. I was captivated (again... (sigh) ) by the immense beauty of a world where things mattered and people cared (even the villains have their reasons for being villainous) and I simply could not tear myself away from this netherworld set somewhere between Dorset and Brighton (as far as I can tell), which is my home turf.
The story rattles along as a fairytale should, written in the third person so as to allow the telling of the characters whilst retaining the music of the words, and the story linear, so as not to detract from the pace and the sense that this is a tale told as a legend. Clever. The pacing is superb, and the slowing for sentiment just the right touch.
I have now introduced my wife to these books and she is now just as enthralled.
What I have come to realise is that Neil Gaiman is perfectly in tune with his inner melancholy, which clearly he is perfectly comfortable with. There is loss and acceptance of circumstances that provides such emotion and spirituality within his writing that conveys this very clearly, and the sample of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is me in a nutshell, exactly who I am, and picking at loss is exactly what I do. I know nothing of the writer, but clearly he has lived and has collected baggage and isn't afraid to nestle himself in it, making him one of my greatest new literary discoveries of recent years. This may appear lightweight fairytale, but deep within, it is so not. This is true art, and books rarely these days reach those peaks.
I still have no idea how I came to read this book, but am immensely glad that I did.
There is a film version, but could see immediately that it would totally shatter the illusion and so shall stick to Gaiman on the page instead. I shall also read many more of his, most immediately The Ocean.
I have never been too bothered by Neil Gaiman books (i'm in the minority, I know), and this one doesn't really improve my opinion. It was an ok book, but struck me as a very formulaic fairy story. Nothing really jumped out and surprised me, nothing stunned me with its originality, it was just a little bland for me. That being said it has everything that should make it a great book, a noble quest, witches, magic, tension between the main characters, a whole host of colourful side characters.........
It just didn't excite me, but was a nice enough way to pass a few hours reading time.
I can't wait for my daughter to read this. It's a great book to share and suitable for young, mature readers.
Now I'm off to watch the movie.
A grittier odyssey than the film (the murders, the sex scenes, and the toilet humour guarantee it!), this is an adventure of pure imagination and excitement; and for fans of Mr Gaiman - a must!
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