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Customer Review

328 of 346 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adult Fairytale, 13 Aug. 2007
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This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
If you exclude 'Good Omens' when I was about fifteen (during my Terry Pratchett phase) Stardust is the first Neil Gaiman novel I have read. I have subsequently gone on to read 'Neverwhere' and 'American Gods' is on my wish list to be purchased when I have made some headway through the backlog of books by my bed. The fact that I am willingly investing time and money on Gaiman's back catalogue is testimony to how much I enjoyed Stardust.

A true 'adult fairy tale', this is not a Harry Potter or Lyra adventure that has been written for children but is read by adults. With a modicum of proper sex, plenty of deaths, and the odd bit of swearing this is very much aimed at grown ups (although it will also be suitable for most teenagers). That doesn't mean however, that it lacks magic. Stardust is a book teeming with a sense of wonder, enchantment and mystery. From witches to sky pirates to magical candles to very human (and slightly irritated) falling stars, the book creates a wholly original, fantastical world.

It also does it with style, wit and a sense of poetry. There is none of the flat prose style that can often hamstring fantasy novels. The narration flows in such a way that you find yourself swept along with the story, entertained as much by the language as by the action it describes. Nor does the book try to explain everything; Gaiman apparently being aware that the fun of magic and fantasy is as much what you're not shown as what you are. Readers are trusted to suspend their disbelief and just go with concepts such as witches who can turn people into goats and goats into people or a fantasy realm beyond a wall in Northern English village.

It helps that the central story, of one young man's quest for a gift for the woman he believes he loves and the journey of growth and self discovery that results from it, is both a familiar and an a compelling one. Although it is a slight tale, Gaiman is careful to give his characters real depth & humanity, even the inhuman ones, allowing readers to invest in their stories. By the end you find yourself caring for their eventual fates and cheering a resolution that is emotionally satisfying without being pat.

Of course some readers may find the whole concept somewhat ridiculous, or be put off by the fact that Stardust is unabashed fantasy. This isn't however, some doorstep sized, sub-Tolkien epic tome. With a story with true heart, moments that will make you laugh (or at least snigger) out loud, a hint of real darkness, and a true sense of adventure, this is a book that should have something that appeals to all adults...young and old
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Feb 2009, 20:35:50 GMT
Ardee says:
I was going to write a review for Stardust, but I find that you've written everything I would like to say, but far more eloquently than I would have!
Fantastic Review!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Apr 2009, 14:06:07 BST
Thanks Ardee. I always appreciate feedback on my reviews, be it good or bad.

Sorry for taking so long to acknowledge yours.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2015, 09:03:25 BST
Sood says:
great review

Posted on 1 May 2015, 22:24:18 BST
Theo Cullen says:
RE: you comment on Fantasy books: Don't put them down. There are a number of good books hidden in between the filch ;)
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Charles Green
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Gloucestershire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 769