Stardust by Neil Gaiman: Book Review

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Cover of Stardust by Neil Gaiman

5 Stars

Synopsis from GoodReads:

Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land will keep you turning pages as fast as you can–he and the star escape evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold. The story is by turns thrillingly scary and very funny. You’ll love goofy, earnest Tristran and the talking animals, gnomes, magic trees, and other irresistible denizens of Faerie that he encounters in his travels. Stardust is a perfect read-aloud book, a brand-new fairy tale you’ll want to share with a kid, or maybe hoard for yourself. (If you read it to kids, watch out for a couple of spicy sex bits and one epithet.) –Therese Littleton

I’m pretty sure this is the first book of Gaiman’s that I read. I read the novel but I need to get the graphic novel sometime. I have Charles Vess’s Drawing Down the Moon, which features quite a few panels from the Stardust graphic novel, and it’s beautiful.

Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book, you might be disappointed. It seems like that’s the way it works. I got to the book first and still love it more.  It’s just a great, original fairy tale with all the romance, adventure and humor you could ask for.

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  1. Christina, if you didn't like the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas, you probably should stay away from Coraline. I'm glad you're pushing the book on your library patrons!

    Daria, Gaiman's short stories can be hit or miss for me, but they're mostly hit. My favorite collection so far is Fragile Things.

    Shweta, I'm glad Stardust drew you into the genre!

    Sullivan, I did like American Gods too, I just like Stardust much more. I keep meaning to start the Sandman series but I haven't yet.

    Susan, I thought de Niro was great in the movie, but everything else was just kind of eh.

    PolishOutlander, you need to correct that right away!

    Aths, Gaiman, to me, writes such a wide variety of stuff that there has to be something for everyone in his body of work.

  2. Can you believe I've never read a Gaiman novel? There, I said it! But I should… I really should! I remember my brother told me about this movie, that I might like it. I never got around to watching it yet though.

  3. I have the Charles Vess illustrated edition at home but haven't cracked it open yet. Eek!

  4. I think Stardust is phenomenal, as both a book and a movie. It's the one of the few instances where both the book and the movie succeed. I saw the movie first and read the book after. In comparing the two, I like every single change that was made to the book, and I can see how it works better for the movie to be that way.

    (Here from the Book Blogger Hop.)

  5. I haven't read this one yet, although I do have it on my TBR pile! I also haven't seen the movie yet, but again, have it, lol. Wow, I need to catch up!

  6. I love STARDUST. It's definitely my favorite Neil Gaiman novel. I did not, however, like the movie very much. I absolutely recommend reading the book. Watching the film? Not so much.

  7. I think the problem is that I read American Gods and the Sandman series before getting to Stardust. Stardust just didn't speak to me as American Gods did. In the end I watched the movie as I just couldn't get into the book.
    So my recommendation would be: American Gods by Neil Gaiman, or his graphic novel Signal to Noise.

  8. Stardust is one of my favourite books/movies. It's very entertaining and full of Gaiman moments and characters – Neil Gaiman is a king of fantasy 🙂 I'm a big fan of his short-stories, too

  9. Yup, absolutely agreed. I love the book more even the movie was such a hit (and i like it a lot).it's a darker fairy tales but very interesting.

  10. I watched the movie before I read the book but I still liked the book. I do prefer the movie though because the book is considerably darker.

    I have recommended Stardust to others and tried to get more library patrons to check it out by putting it in a display. I think it is perfect for people who enjoy dark fairy tale like books. I've been wanting to read Coraline also but I won't be watching the film. I think it looks too visually creepy like The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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