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Smoke and Mirrors
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on 11 October 2017
I do love this story. I love the way it is written, very much like an old type of fairy tale. It transported me instantly into its world and i literaally finished it within a day. The language is sublime. Yet i prefer the film. Unusuhal for me but i watched the film first and the book and film are strikingly different.
I much prefer the emotion in the film and as much as i liked the book it is painfully emotionless.
The star and Tristran just seem to suddenly decide to be together, you just have to imagine that they built up a relationship with no help from the author. Whereas the film uses their time on the air ship to bring the characters together.
And although i do like the peaceful ending with the 'evil' witch, it did seem a little rushed and unsatisfying. And again, a huge lack of emotion. A total disregard for his newly discovered mother and his father left behind the wall.
Rarely do I ever say a film is better than its novel, but in this case it's simple true. I loved the magic in the film. So much that i named my son Trystan. Anyway, book or film, this is a story that has touched my heart and the most enjoyable fairytale ive discovered :) x
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on 6 January 2017
I'd describe this book as a fairytale for adults. Perfect for bedtime reading - I'd only allow myself to read it when I was ready for bed as it brought back nostalgic memories of having fairytale books read to me as a toddler by my Dad. It transported me to another reality, which is half in this world and half in the fantasy/faerie world - a bit like some CS Lewis, Enid Blyton etc you'd read as a kid. Apart from the fact Stardust is definitely not for children, it has a sex scene and some violent gore scenes, so it's audience probably has a cheeky night cap rather than a hot milk to drink while reading this book.

As it's an adult fairytale it's also less Disneyfied and more ingrained with reality. There are no perfect happily ever afters, the good always winning over bad is slightly grey and it's much more gritty. However this doesn't deter from the other worldly magical atmosphere Gaiman is able to conjure with words.

I loved Gaimans style of writing. So much so I will defiantly be reading some of his other works.
Oh, if you're expecting the film, it's slightly different, and although there are similarities I personally felt like they were also very different. I enjoyed both the book and the movie, although for totally different reasons. For anyone who has not really dabbled much in the fantasy genre, this book is a great introduction to another world far away from the mundane.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 April 2016
Tristran Thorne sets off on a challenge into the land of Faerie beyond the wall. The woman he loves, Victoria Forester, has said she will kiss him if he brings her back the star which has fallen from the sky. So Tristran sets off on his adventure to find the star and bring it back for Victoria. The star turns out to be not quite as Tristran expected and he isn't the only one pursuing it.......not suprisingly things do not go according to plan!
This is a book which flows well and is easy to read. There aren't that many strands to keep track of and they all do more or less what you would expect them to do. In fact, in many ways this is a very traditional fairy tale where the young lad (our hero) sets off to win fulfill a goal and win the hand of his lady. All the expected characters are there - wicked witches, strange creatures, a king, a bewitched princess...it really is a fairy tale as you would expect.
I didn't find that there was a great deal of depth to the story of characters in this book. I did wonder if it had been written as a young adult book but it seems not. It certainly lacks the clever humour and intricate plots of some of Neil Gaiman's other books.
Simple and slightly predictable though it may have been, I did enjoy this book. It was a light easy going read and for all the simplicity it was well written.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 February 2016
The theme is a promise and a quest. Starting quite conventionally in the Victorian country village of Wall where there is a way into a world of fantasy but guarded to prevent anyone going from the “real world” however every nine years there is a fair where all manner of magical people interact with the real word.
Against this background Tristran sees a falling star and promises to fetch it for his love Victoria. At this point he enters a world of magic in his attempt to find the star.
On his journey he meets many magical creatures both good and bad. The story is very descriptive both with the locations and characters.
Of course being a fairy story all ends well.
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on 15 February 2015
I received a copy of Stardust from amazon as a free gift (still not totally sure why, but if amazon says have a book for free who am I to say no!)

Tristran Thorn has always been a bit of an outsider in Wall, but when he promises the girl he loves, Victoria, that he will bring her the fallen star that she spots, he passes over into Faerie without a problem. Encoutering a large variety of characters on his travels, he meets the star, a beautiful young woman named Yvaine, and proceeds to return her to Victoria. Yet on the way something changes, and he finds that his adventures changed not only his feelings, but him as a person.

Link to Goodreads
Link to amazon

This was a strange read for me simply because it is one of the only cases where I'd seen the film before reading the book (and liked the film for that matter). I still like the film but now can recognise the differences (one of which is the ending, which I found a little sad in the book) but am definitely glad that I read the book, and can't help but feel satisfied for reading it.

I was surprised about how quickly the story progressed, part of me was thinking it would be more Tolkein-esque (particularly because of the narration style, which I'll get to in a minute) and take the characters ages to get anywhere, when in fact they managed to progress rather quickly in terms of where their adventure took them. I thought this was good, mainly because of how boring I found Fellowship of the Ring and think I'd have lost interest a bit if Stardust had continued in this way.

The narration is a style that I don't normally read. I'm pretty sure it would count as second person narration, though from an omnificant (think that's the word) narrator. So not only did the narrator know what the various characters were saying, but they talked to the reader as well. I'm not sure that I'd want to read a lot of books with this style, but I found that it worked for Stardust.

I have a satisfied feeling now that I've finished Stardust, and though I'm not really too sure why, especially considering it wasn't as character driven as my normal reads, I am happy that I've read it (finally!)
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on 2 January 2015
I'm a big Neil Gaiman fan, but while some of his books are numbered amongst my favourite pieces of literature, there are others that I've enjoyed but that have failed to hit the spot in quite the same way. Somehow, I'd never read this book, and having done so, I'm happy to report that while this isn't up there with his absolute best works, this has everything I want from Gaiman.

It's basically a new fairytale, based around Tristran, a man living in the fictional village of Wall in the Victorian era. Wall borders onto Faerie, although the crossing is usually well-guarded. Unbeknown to Tristran, though his father is genuinely the solid farmer he's known all his life, his mother isn't the farmer's wife, but an otherworldly creature that this father met at the nine-yearly market, where the inhabitants of Wall and Faerie get to mingle. To try to impress his rather vain and spoiled love interest, Tristran sets out into Faerie to bring her back a falling star - except that the star turns out to be a humanesque woman. There follows a series of interlocking, fantastical plotlines in which various people are searching for the star, mostly with bad intentions, and a charming coming of age tale as Tristran becomes more of a hero and reconsiders his goals.

The world was beautifully created, and though as far as I'm aware, most of it was new, it genuinely had the feel of folklore. Characters both major and minor were well crafted, with both some wonderfully "boo-able" villains and others who were drawn in shades of grey. As you'd expect from Gaiman, it was all exceptionally well-written and very imaginative.

Although the various plotlines were neatly pulled together, I felt the ending trailed off slightly, but on the whole, I'd highly recommend this.
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on 5 October 2014
The town of Wall exists at the point where the real and imaginary worlds join. The entrance is guarded, and almost no one is allowed to pass except on one weekend when the fair comes. Tristan, the result of a liaison between a Dustan,a human and a faerie is returned to the human side in a basket where he is grows up with his father and sister. He is much taken with a girl, Victoria, and one night when they see a falling star, he pledges to bring it to her, and so he sets off through the gap in the wall to fulfil this promise.

The King of Stormhold is almost dead, but he still has three sone who must fight to the death to be able to claim the kingship for themselves. As the king reaches his last moments he casts the Power of Stormhold for them to find and claim the kingdom.

As Tristan sets off he gains a companion who helps him through this magical land, who he saves and who in turn gives him some artefacts to bring the star back. He makes his way to where the star fell. Where he discovers a beautiful girl with a broken leg, he slip the silver chain around her which binds them together and slowly starts his return journey to bring her home.

Others have an interest in getting to the star, and his journey is not trouble free. He stops a fight between a lion and a unicorn and they ride it to make the journey quicker. At a tavern he slips his bond when getting food, and she escapes. As he pursues her the others searching for her start to close in. They are reunited at another inn, where she is in mortal danger and they escape, together once again, where they join a old woman travelling to the fair and where he can cross to keep his promise to Victoria. It concludes with a really nice twist

Gaiman has a way of telling a story that is rooted in the real world whilst being able to soar with the tales of the old folk, faeries and of magical creatures. It is fairly short, but it is very intense, as Gaiman does best. Can recommend for people who want a faerie story that has a little more depth.
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on 22 January 2016
I read "the ocean at the end of the lane" on holiday with no real idea of what to expect. Brilliant! Really enjoyed it! So looked for my next Neil Gaiman book to read a few months later and chose this one.

On the plus side the book is well written, the language is engaging, it's definitely not a just a bit of throwaway tat where the author has just dashed it out.

But .. It just didn't do it for me. I kept reading it because I wanted to get it finished (I don't like abandoning a book once I have started it). The first few chapters are quite good, original, some interesting ideas on death, for example. But then it just gets samey and a bit of a slog. And the end is really pretty predictable, apart from one big twist,

It's put me off Gaiman for now to be honest. But I guess I enjoyed the first one so may try again for my next summer holiday.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 July 2015
I remembered watching the film of this book some years back and the fact that my daughter thought it was great, so I purchased this Kindle edition of the book for an enjoyable spot of fantasy to read at bedtime.
I have not been disappointed and, although the plot seems a little different to the film that I had watched (slightly more adult), the story is every bit as good as I remembered it to be. I like the way that the two worlds, that of Faerie and that of our own, co-exist side by side and yet, with a few exceptions (Tristran Thorn, the main character being the notable one) the people of one world cannot cross into the other. This allows for two separate plots to run alongside of, and to occasionally impact upon, one another with no need for further explanation.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and as fit for adults as it is for children.
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on 5 April 2015
In the shadow of a huge stone barrier that separates their world from the land of Faerie, the inhabitants of the little town of Wall go about their business just as we all do in the world that we inhabit. One such incident of ‘business’ is that of the young lad Tristan falling in love with arrogant Victoria who is in his opinion the most beautiful girl in Wall – quite possibly the entire world. To win her heart he promises to do anything she wishes so she sets him the task of retrieving a star that falls from the heavens as they are speaking.

Although he knows it has fallen into the land of Faerie that lies on the other side of the barrier which incidentally only has one access point guarded night and day by the townsmen of Wall, he goes anyway, determined to win her affections at any cost.

These few paragraphs set the scene for us;

The events that follow transpired many years ago. Queen Victoria was on the throne of England, but she was not yet the black-clad Widow of Windsor: she had apples in her cheeks and a spring in her step, and Lord Melbourne often had cause to upbraid, gently, the young queen for her flightiness. She was, as yet, unmarried, though she was very much in love.

Mr Charles Dickens was serialising his novelOliver Twist; Mr Draper had just taken the first photograph of the moon, freezing her face on cold paper; Mr Morse had recently announced a way of transmitting messages down metal wires.

Had you mentioned magic or Faerie to any of them they would have smiled at you disdainfully, except, perhaps for Mr Dickens, at the time a young man and beardless. He would have looked at you wistfully. ~ taken from ‘Stardust’ by Neil Gaiman.

Stardust is a fairytale for adults. The romance and highly imaginative element of it combine to make it a book you won’t want to leave easily. Gaiman weaves a breathtaking spell upon his readers with his way of wording and beautiful prose. There is an archaicness to his narrative that takes you somewhere far, far away just through its tone alone. It made me comfortable and turned me into an inquisitive child again wanting to know more and willing to abandon all logic in the process. That being said this is a well balanced book. Although full of quests, unicorns, witches and such like it has enough grounding in contemporary sensibility to save it from straying into the realms of the ridiculous. In essence you can pretend to be a kid again with all the wonderment that brings whilst retaining some sense of adulthood.

A stunning modern fairytale and a firm favourite for me.
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