25 December, 2011

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

214 pages.
Publication: September 19th 2005/Headline Review

"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. " - Goodreads.

Stardust is a charming and enchanting adult fairy tale, from one of the finest fantasy story tellers of modern times, Neil Gaiman. This is not just any old fairy tale; it is far from the "Once Upon a Time" cliche.

Stardust tells the story of Tristan Thorn, a well-mannered and relatively normal boy living in the quiet Victorian town Wall. The town of Wall is named after, you guessed it, a wall. A wall that separates the town from a world of magic, wonder and myth. No-one is to pass the wall but only "once every nine years, on May Day, when a fair comes." It is during this day, that Tristan's father had an adventure which resulted in Tristan's birth nine months later.

Tristan, now a young man, is introduced fighting for the affection of the beautiful Victoria. She has named the price of her hand in marriage, as a fallen star, which Tristan vows to retrieve. Unknown to Tristan, he's not the only only seeking the prized star.

Tristan sets off to claim his prize but of course, things are never that easy. With danger, spells, witches, princes, pirates, an unicorn and a twist, Stardust is anything but an average story.

Gaiman's novel has a fresh take on both good and evil characters. Stardust offers a great option to introduce one to the genre of fantasy. The language is accessible yet elegant, giving great appeal to readers.
The plot, easy to follow, does lose pace towards the end of the book. Known as an 'adult fairy-tale', the book does contain some slight adult content, making the book more aimed at fourteen years and up.

To sum up, Stardust is a spellbinding story of love and self-discovery. It illustrates a boy turned hero, who comes to understand the truth of his desires and his heart.

Rating: 4/5.

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