Stardust

by Neil Gaiman

Paperback, 2006

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

William Morrow Paperbacks (2006), 288 pages

Description

Fiction. HTML: In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he'll retrieve that star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life..

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1998

Physical description

288 p.; 8 inches

Media reviews

School Library Journal
While the bones of the story (the hero, the quest, the maiden) are traditional, Gaiman offers a tale that is fresh and original. Though the plot begins with disparate threads, by the end they are all tied together and the picture is complete. The resolution is satisfying and complex, proving that
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there is more to fairy tales than "happily ever after."
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3 more
Library Journal
This is a refreshingly creative story with appealing characters that manages to put a new twist on traditional fairy-tale themes.
Booklist
Gaiman gently borrows from many fine fantasists--for starters, from Andersen, Tolkien, Macdonald, and, for the framing device, Christina Rossetti in her "Goblin Market" --but produces something sparkling, fresh, and charming, if not exactly new under the sun. Superb.
Kirkus Reviews
a comic romance, reminiscent of James Thurber's fables, in which even throwaway minutiae radiate good-natured inventiveness. There are dozens of fantasy writers around reshaping traditional stories, but none with anything like Gaiman's distinctive wit, warmth, and narrative energy. Wonderful stuff,
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for kids of all ages.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member keristars
What I liked best about Stardust was the "gather round, children..." feel of the narrative. It's a cozy sort of bedtime reading tone, which benefits from good pacing and length of chapters.

The story itself isn't particularly noteworthy or groundbreaking, but I don't think it has to be. As with any
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good fairy tale retelling, there's enough adventure, fantasy, mystery, and yet also predictability for it to be interesting without being boring. I know that a lot of people don't care for predictability in novels, and usually I count myself in that number, but with a fairy tale, being able to predict the outcome of a story means that I needn't worry about what happens in the end, and instead I can enjoy how the characters get to that end point.

Indeed, once the main plot threads are introduced, it's fairly obvious how the story will resolve. But how it gets there - that was the fun part. Gaiman filled the world with colorful characters and riffs on well-known stories (or patterns).

My second favorite part, and this is maybe a bit frivolous, is the chapter titles. They're the descriptive sort, like "In which we meet a colorful person and embark on our journey" - come to think of it, though this was a very common trope in Victorian novels, which is something Stardust echoes, both in style and setting. For Victorian novels specifically, I'd say that Alice in Wonderland is a neat match, though the genres are slightly different.

I received this book via the 2009 SantaThing swap, and I'm very glad that I did! I'd read it once in 2003 or so and had enjoyed it, but forgotten most of the plot. Rereading it recently (though dragged out over several weeks because of work and grad school commitments) reminded me of why I always think of it fondly.
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LibraryThing member justchris
So why don't I just go ahead and review Stardust? I saw the movie first, whenever it came out on DVD. I think it worked well in movie format, but I have only a dim recollection of it to influence my perception of the novel.

This is another fantasy by Neil Gaiman set in England. Once again, it
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features a protagonist who doesn't quite fit into his community, though he doesn't even seem to realize it this time, though it is quickly obvious to everyone else. And it's a standard heroic quest plot, when Tristran Thorn travels into Faerie (the magical realm conveniently next door to his home village) to find the falling star and bring it back to his True Love. Along the way, he meets various characters who help him out (for generally weak or nonexistent or never-explained reasons). And, of course, his quest intersects with those of various villains who do a good job of interfering with each other, thus also contributing to Tristran's success. In other words, it's a nice, predictable fantasy story where everything turns out well in the end. The hero is generally clueless, not particularly reflective, active, or talented, and ends up with just the faintest glimmering of growth and understanding, and success achieved largely without his direct input.

This isn't to say that it's a bad story. It's humorous, picturesque, and characters are more grey than simply good/bad. In the end, the bad guys fail, but we see that they aren't necessarily completely evil, and certainly the good guys are not completely virtuous. The movie is both starker and shallower in its characterizations. All of the primary characters are white, but a smattering of people of color provide diversity window dressing in the first chapter, indicating that it isn't really an all-white world, either in Faerie or the mundane sphere of our own existence.

I think the novel's strength is in the humor and the imagined alternate world, the usual for Neil Gaiman. I like Neverwhere best, and this is a rather insipid and banal fairy tale (despite the charm of the storytelling) compared to American Gods, without the many dark themes and complexity running through that Hugo winner.

Sorry about that folks. Didn't realize the whole darn thread ended up in the review.
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LibraryThing member quigui
Neil Gaiman's Stardust makes you feel a child again, with all the magic and enchantment only a good fairytale has. Because it is indeed a fairytale. There is magic about, there are unicorns and princes and fallen stars, pirates and witches.

The plot is simple, as it should be. It follows Tristan, a
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boy from the village of Wall, that will do anything for his loved one. Even finding a fallen star and bringing it back, through a land of magic and mystery in which no one wants to enter. Tristan will soon find friends and foes, encounter perilous situations, and escape them. And he will find the Star that his loved one craves. Only he has to bring it back to Wall. And he is not the only one looking for it.

There is adventure and romance, there are comic and thrilling moments. It is a never ending adventure that will keep the reader glued to the book, wanting to know more of the fate of our hero. And although intended for young adults, this book will enchant any one, regardless of age.
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LibraryThing member reading_fox
Charmingly grown up short fairy tale - complete with the expected darker undertones.

The Victorian village of Wall lies a day's drive from London, and yet is in mountainous terrain - perhaps S. Wales. It's called Wall because at the back of the village across some fields is a large high stone wall
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with just one narrow gap in it. Beyond the gap lies the faerie realm. Once every nine years the fae hold a market of world renown in these meadows. And so our story opens with a humble villager exploring the delights on offer. These include a cat-eared and violet-eyed storeholder's assistant. Unfortunately, a stretchable chain restricts her freedom, but in due course a child is born, and returned to Wall.

Tristran Thorne he is christened and raised all unaware of his fae heritage. One evening while out courting his sweetheart, they observe a star falling on the far side of the wall, "If you fetch me that I'll grant you your heart's desire" says she. Of such rash promises are ever lover's quests born. And so, all unprepared, does Tristain enter the world of Faerie.

As you might expect he briefly meets a variety of inhabitants, wise, fair and beautiful, as well as of course mendacious, false and ugly. He finds the star very quickly, and is surprised to learn that in Faerie stars are beautiful girls who sing haunting melodies - and have a sharp temper. Their journey back takes much longer, and Tristran never realises that many other people have an interest in the heart of a star. All too soon he's back at the fair and forced to choose between the star and his sweetheart on the other side of the wall.

There are plenty of unexplained loose ends, and plot holes, such as how the chained assistant manages to have a child whilst under the sway of Madam Sempa; who/what the Fellowship are; etc. It could have been a much longer story, but then it probably wouldn't have the charming simpleness of this one. We're spared all the heavy morals that are sometimes larded over fairy tales, and left to draw our own conclusions. However there is nothing particularly insightful here, none of Pratchett's subtle commentary or Carroll's insights into life, it is just a charming, short, story - with a very sad ending.

From what I've read of him, this is distinctly at the lighter, sweeter end of his work, and so may not appeal to all his fans. But the darker parts probably won't appeal to many traditionalists either. An enjoyable read for an hour or two (it won't take any longer). In the afterword he talks about a more serious Prequel, and maybe some other works set in or around Wall. I suspect if these ever appear they will provide the only motivation in wanting to read this again.
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LibraryThing member sonofcarc
This book can best be described as a bricolage -- an assembly of bits taken from the works of an older generation of fantasy writers. there is something on practically every page that elicits an "Oh, I know where that comes from." Gaiman isn't trying to fool anybody -- in an afterword he bows to
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four authors in particular, Lord Dunsany, C.S. Lewis, Hope Mirrilees and James Branch Cabell. (Not to mention himself; the central plot development is the same here as in Neverwhere (No apologies for spoiler since you can see it coming a long way off in both cases.) But it's a fun read -- Gaiman is always deft and never dull.

(The odd thing about the book is that it could be marketed as a YA novel if Gaiman hadn't dropped in one semi-explicit sex scene and one bad word. It's as if he was deliberately doing the minimum necessary to break out of that box.)
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LibraryThing member ktbarnes
Stardust is the first book I've listened to in the audiobook format. I was worried about this, worried that my mind would wander or that the story would fall flat if I wasn't able to create the voices myself in my mind. However, listening to Gaiman read Stardust was wonderful, The story seeped into
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my mind as images of badgers and unicorns and ghosts grew and became increasingly colorful and real. I loved this story, and highly recommend it as an audiobook. It's a world you'll want to be a part of.
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LibraryThing member mscongeniality
After seeing the film of this book, I felt the need to re-familiarize myself with the original story. I don't think I'd touched the book since I read it when it first came out in 1999, and I'd forgotten more of the story than I'd realized. I suspect this was a plus when I went to see the movie. Not
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because the film suffers in comparison to the book, quite the opposite in fact, I think the two of them complement each other quite well. I would have focused too much on the differences, though and not enjoyed it for what it was.

The original story is a somewhat different kind of fairy tale than the film and, while an entertaining and engaging read, doesn't have much going for it beyond that. It's not moving or really memorable and I think it loses something without the visuals from the original comic book release. If you're seeking out the print version of this story, I suggest tracking down the graphic novel. Charles Vess' illustrations make a huge difference.
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LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
I firmly believe that Neil Gaiman could be asked to write a phone book and he would make it interesting. In the case of [Stardust], he took a simple fairy tale and added humor and a twist of darkness to give us a delightful, magical adventure that was a pleasure to read.

A young man embarks on a
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quest to find a fallen star and bring it back to his lady-love. Neil Gaiman gives this basic plot a fresh look which keeps the reader engaged and excited to see what is going to happen on the next page.

Stardust feels very much like a YA story, a little shorter, and perhaps a little simpler than what I have come to expect from this author. But the exciting feeling of discovering a new world, one in which you could imagine meeting Rumplestiltskin or Jack the Giant Killer, makes this stylish book a great read.
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LibraryThing member schribe13
I purchased this book because I had watched the movie. The book was amazing, and the reason that Neil Gaiman is now one of my favorite authors. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a good fantasy read filled with adventure and love and apprehension. I am now getting all of my friends
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hooked on Gaiman with this book and Neverwhere.
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LibraryThing member thelittlereader
i almost wish that this had been my first Gaiman experience instead of American Gods. i am in the small minority of people who actually didn't care for AG all that much and thought it was just so-so, but i really enjoyed the simplicity and lyrical mysticism of Stardust. i actually had a feeling i'd
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enjoy it just from the opening line:

"There once was a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire."

the story is straight forward and simple. in the small village of Wall, the great wall that separates the human world from the faerie world opens up once every nine years for market. Tristran Thorn, a young man from the village is in love with the beautiful, if not entirely vain Victoria Forester and promises to fetch her a falling star. and thus begins his journey. unknown to Tristan, there are also several other parties interested in that same falling star, and he will have to learn who he is in the process to ensure his success.

the writing is what does it for me here. Gaiman writes with the romantic, sweeping feeling of a matured children's fairy tale. i mean, if this book could twinkle, i think it would. the scenery and characters are made so tangible and believable, despite the setting being so unfamiliar, that it feels entirely plausible that we could all just go chase after that next falling star we see, in the name of love. and along the way, we would get to meet kings and witches and little flying creatures that sing, and it would be lovely.

"Tristran Thorn
Does not know why he was born
Trews and coat and shirt are torn
So he sits here all forlorn
Soon to face his true love's scorn"

one other interesting thing to note is the manner in which the chapter titles are written, such as Chapter 2: In Which Tristran Thorn Grows to Manhood and Makes a Rash Promise. i've read one other book that uses this same technique and i'm not sure where it originated (maybe here?), but it is an interesting use of foreshadowing to pull the story along. it adds just enough pull of mystery to make this an excellent page turner.

if you love magic and faeries, then this is a book that you absolutely should read. the creatures and characters are wonderful and the writing is beautiful. it did feel a tad bit formulaic in its telling at times, but i suppose that is the nature of fairy tales. now that i've given Gaiman a second chance, i'm really glad i did. i'll definitely be much more likely to pick up another of his books in the future after this.
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LibraryThing member AdonisGuilfoyle
I am of the mostly unshakeable belief that the book is always better than the film, but occasionally, an exception comes along to prove the rule. Take Stardust, which was one of the better films on television this Christmas. The fairy tale setting and quirky characters, especially Yvaine (played by
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Clare Danes with a far better English accent than 'honorary Brit' Gwyneth Paltrow) and Septimus, captured my imagination, so when I caught Neil Gaiman's name in the credits, I instantly downloaded the original book. I enjoyed The Graveyard Book last year, so thought Stardust would be a mixture of that and The Tenth Kingdom.

Unfortunately, the film adaptation seems to have taken the best parts of the book and boosted the drama and romance by building up certain scenes and giving the characters wittier dialogue. I was disappointed by Tristran and Yvaine's romance, and felt that Septimus and Lamia were completely shortchanged in the book - which usually happens the other way around with screen adaptations. Where screenwriters Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman created a dark fairytale for adults, full of dry humour and fantastic violence, Gaiman's original novel missed the mark for me. The random sex and swearing looked out of place, added without thought and little effect to raise the rating from a child's book to adult fiction, and the ending reads like a Wikipedia summary of the film.

So a creative idea for a film, Mr Gaiman, but sadly lacking in comparison with the screenplay.
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LibraryThing member qarae
Neil Gaiman has created a very enjoyable read in Stardust. Tristran (no, I didn't spell that wrong) is itching for an adventure, and finds plenty of it when he leaves his home of Wall one night. A fun read, and "simple" fantasy for those that don't really get into the fantasy genre.
LibraryThing member hailelib
We recently saw the film Stardust which made me think I might want to read something by Gaiman. So, when I saw this at the library, I checked it out. Quite a few differences from the film but just as enjoyable. I'll probably read another novel by him; maybe even one of the graphic novels.
LibraryThing member PhoebeReading
In Stardust, Neil Gaiman crafts a lush, gorgeous world that is solidly in the tradition of late nineteenth and early twentieth century fantasy literature. While this might minorly disappoint fans of modern fantasy (the references are to nursery rhymes, rather than Tolkein), or fans of the movie
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(the screen adaptation intensifies the romance between Yvaine and Tristan; it's much more subtly stated here), if you enjoyed the originals of this tradition--Alice in Wonderland, At the Back of the North Wind, the Wind in the Willows--you'll certainly enjoy Stardust.
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LibraryThing member LaPhenix
Some great writing in the book, but the pacing threw me off--particularly around the time Tristan meets the hairy stranger. There were a lot of elements that I really enjoyed about the book, but I never felt sucked in or got to the point where I forgot I was reading.
LibraryThing member Mialro
Very interesting, well-written story, but there is almost too much hinted at that is never dealt with, or casually mentioned that one would like to read about, and the adult elements drag the story down. It doesn't really bring closure at the end. Don't expect it to be like the movie. The book is
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otherwise good.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
I first read this in 2007 while working as a reporter covering a county fair. Despite being surrounded by the stench of pigs and goats and fried foods, I was completely carried away to the world of Faerie.

This is one of my favorite Gaiman novels and I think it’s a great introduction to his work
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if you’re wondering where to start. It’s a fairy tale for adults, similar in some ways to The Princess Bride. It is an adventure story, but it has a great sense of humor too.

Tristran Thorne is a local boy living in the small English town of Wall. He falls in love with a pretty girl and makes a vow to find a fallen star to win her heart. He sets off on his quest, leaving the safe confines of Wall and venturing into the forbidden land of Faerie.

What he doesn’t know is that he isn’t the only one searching for that fallen star. There are three sons of the Lord of Stormhold who are fighting to the death to earn the privilege of ruling their father’s land. To gain the Power of Stormhold they must find the star and the stone of power.

There is also a witch who has spent decades wasting away with her sisters. When they see the star fall they realize that if they can reach it in time and get its heart they will be able to regain their youth. Despite these obstacles Tristran embarks on his journey to find Yvaine, the fallen star.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s a lovely story filled with humor and adventure. I’d recommend it to fans of The Princess Bride or anyone looking to try a Gaiman novel. The story comes full circle in a wonderfully satisfying way. The characters are feisty, the lessons are good ones and it’s a quick read.

"There is something about riding a unicorn, for those people who still can, which is unlike any other experience: exhilarating and intoxicating and fine."

** I just got a copy of the new hardcover gift edition. The blue cover and faded title are just perfect. The book includes an illustration and title heads drawn by Charles Vess and they are just gorgeous! If you already love the book then the gift edition is a must!
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LibraryThing member breadcrumbreads
There is this small town in Victorian England. It is separated from a huge meadow that leads into an enchanted forest by a Wall. A child is born that is of both Faery and the little town. When he grows up he promises to fetch a fallen star for the woman he loves. Off he goes into the forest
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of faery adventure.I watched Stardust the movie nearly a couple of years ago. There was just one way to describe the movie - magical! I mean, there are lots of fantasy movies that have been churned out of the movie industry lately, but very few really convey or bring out the magicalness (I am aware this isn't really a word, but it seems to express what I want to say pretty well!) that appeals to the child in us. I thought Stardust did that quite well.Having watched the movie I didn't think I needed to read the book. But then, urged again by my friend, I bought a copy of the book and read it recently. A couple of chapters into the book and I knew why my friend had called it "whimsically magical". I think it was the crisp language that sparkled as the star the story was about. Descriptions were short, but so...well...bright and crystal clear! For example:...the stars were laid out like worlds or like ideas, uncountable as the trees in a forest or the leaves on a tree. (p.32)There were also short, off-at-a-tangent references to mice and owls being royalty that had to complete missions to break the spells they were under, and other little things of the kind. It made me wish he could have elaborated on them, but then if he had it would have spoilt the "whimsical" part of the story. '...The squirrel has not yet found the acorn that will grow into the oak that will be cut to form the cradle of the babe who will grow to slay me.' (p.96)It was such a pleasure reading these little things since they added to the overall effect of faery. I found Gaiman's sense of humour quite to my taste as well. I loved the way he would describe the speech of the ghosts of Stormhold. They would speak and their voices would be like a gale of wind or the crackling fire or like a bird chirping in the night, or someat like that. However, sadly, there were a few things that spoilt this otherwise enjoyable flow - a crudely written sex scene that looked odd and out of place in the rest of the story and setting, and a rather gross and graphic account of the decapitation of an animal. Besides this there were words like 'piss' (please pardon me) that were interspersed here and there that jarred so sharply with the rest of the book. What I mean, is that, the story takes place in the Victorian era, and Gaiman attempts to capture the mood, atmosphere, culture and language of the times within its fairytale setting. So, when suddenly, very modern day language pops out at you from the pages it sticks out like a huge sore. Personally, I think, had it not been for the afore mentioned drawbacks, this would have been a lovely fairy tale for children written by a comtemporary. Having browsed through some sites, I learnt that Gaiman had intended this to be a fantasy for adults. Unfortunately, the only thing that could make this book 'adult' is the sex and violence added in and it does absolutely nothing for the story! My copy of Stardust has a brief interview with Neil Gaiman in which he says: I loved my unicorn; I was very, very fond of that unicorn, and I was sorry that it died. But on the other hand it seemed at the time a really interesting way to try and remind people that this wasn't necessarily a fairy tale for children. That and having one rude word in incredibly small type.I'm not sure how many parents would let their young children read this book because of the 'reminder'. For me, the book then seems to be like the proverbial cat on the Wall, being neither for children nor for adults and failing as a book for both. As far as the story goes - I like it for its own merits, but when compared to the movie version, I thought it rather tame. Of the two, I definitely prefer the movie that is a lot more adventurous and wholesome. However, the book has the more realistic ending which I prefer.
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LibraryThing member onyx95
A promise to collect a fallen star and return it to his love propelled Tristran to adventure through the wall into Faerie without even knowing that he was from there himself. Finding the Star was easy enough, getting her back to wall tool some time, especially since he was not the only one after
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her. The witches were after her heart because it gave life, beauty, and youth. The prince was after her because the power of Stromhold was contained in the jewel she wore around her waist. That jewel was also what had knocked her out of the skies and had given her a purpose for being in Faerie. While for the most part Tristran and the Star, Yvaine were unaware of being pursued, the adventure was still one to remember.

So very different than the movie. I wanted to see how much had been changed in the making of it, and wow it was a lot. There are some parts that are word for word and other parts that don’t even seem to be the same story. Of these some are better in the book (Dunstan the dad) while others are better in the movie (Captain Shakespeare, lol). My kids love the movie (ok, so do I) so I simply had to know, while I enjoyed the book, it is not PG-13 as the movie is and I would not let my kids read it - yet. I really do enjoy Neil Gaiman’s ability to take myths, legends, fairytales and folklore and create an interesting and fun adventure.
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LibraryThing member Neftzger
I was already a fan of Neil Gaiman's writing, but of everything that I've read this has been the best so far. A star falls to earth and a young man sets out on a journey to retrieve it. Along the way he learns who he is and what he really wants. Three story lines unfold and deftly come together at
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the end. The plot is always interesting and full of the creativity and wit that we've come to expect from Neil. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member crazy4reading
My second Neil Gaiman book and my first for this year. I now have to wonder why I waited so long to read Mr. Gaiman's work.

Stardust was a very interesting read. I can't decide if this is one of my favorites just yet since I have only read two books my Neil Gaiman. I did enjoy the story and I am now
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interested in seeing the movie. The ending was surprising and not quite what I expected which made the story more interesting.
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LibraryThing member Al-G
Gaiman puts together another great story that moves beyond a simple fantasy tale to explore basic human emotions and understandings. The story by itself is entertaining and easily holds the reader's interest, but the subtle undertones of motivations and the interaction of the characters offers much
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deeper insights than the simple idea of a quest. Tristran's quest becomes both an instrument for his growth and maturity as well as a means of spiritual and emotional growth.

As Tristran enters the world of faerie he knows what he wants and he knows what he must do to get it. Bu,and it is so often the case in life, as he encounters others who are different and hold diverse beliefs and understandings, as he overcomes hardships, and as he learns to adapt to people and circumstance, he soon realizes that what he thought he knew and wanted wasn't as certain as he believed.

The plot takes several unanticipated turns and so, too, for the reader, what seemed straightforward is not and the reader must also learn to adapt as Gaiman leads us relentlessly to an end that we didn't foresee. Gaiman is a gifted storyteller and this one does not disappoint. The characters and their motivations are well developed and the story moves rapidly. My only criticism is there were some places (such as on the airship) where I felt he could have done more. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the character development and the story.
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LibraryThing member Anna_Maria_29
I have struggled with Gaiman's books in the past more than I liked, I was very happy to find that Stardust was an exception. This was a delightful story, weird, magical and it made no sense half the time and all these made for an enjoyable experience. The journey through Fae was one I'll remember
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and it did remind me how we can live and experience so much through reading. Stardust is a book that every person who likes fairy-tale types of stories should give a try.
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LibraryThing member grizzly.anderson
I was surprised to see Neil Gaiman's Stardust being made into a movie. And, of course, I had to re-read the book. My first impression however many years ago when I first read it was that it read like an unfinished movie treatment. And I still have that feeling, so perhaps it is only appropriate
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that it is now a movie.

Compared to a lot of other Gaiman stories, Stardust is an almost Disneyesque light romp through the traditional fairy tale. Gone is the usual dark and dangerous edge that spices up the Sandman series and Neverwhere. The young hero sets out on a quest to win the heart of the girl he thinks he loves. His unusual origins are explained and aid him on his quest, he finds himself, his true love, completes a few prophecies, and assumed his rightful place as the ruler of the kingdom.

The reason I think it is more of a sketch than a full fledged novel is that so many of the side characters seem so much more interesting, and their stories have so much potential. The feeling was always there that Gaiman would rather have gone off and explored who everyone in the supporting cast is, and how they got to be where they are, but for some reason he never does.
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LibraryThing member pussreboots
Ah... Stardust. Except for the original graphic novel, I have now enjoyed every version available. Stardust by Neil Gaiman was the very first book I'd read by him. I wasn't reading graphic novels at the time so he and his Sandman series was right off my radar. But Stardust was just my speed and I
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loved it.

Then I forgot out it. It was one of the last library books I read before we moved across the state. I was so busy with moving and looking for a new job and adjusting to living in the Bay Area that Neil Gaiman didn't stick in my mind.

In the time that I moved and settled and started a family, Gaiman wrote other prose books. My bookish friends were reading them and recommending them, two in particular, Good Omens and Coraline. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, Stardust was adapted to film and the pieces began to fall into place.

When I was reading The Graveyard Book I heard from those same book blogger friends that Gaiman was reading his own books for the audio versions. They uniformly said I had to listen to them. I kept that in mind when this last November we had to drive down to San Diego for my brother's wedding. We wanted audio books to keep the children entertained and Stardust seemed like the perfect choice.

The book comes on five discs with a sixth one containing an interview with Gaiman where he talks about the many forms of Stardust, including the film, and what it is like to record an audio book.

The story itself is a gentle quest. Tristan Thorn has grown up in the village of Wall where every nine years there's an open air market held on the other side of the hole in the wall. The market though isn't what draws him across the wall, it's the quest for a fallen star to win the hand of the girl he loves.

There's just one small problem, the star is a pretty and very angry young woman with a broken leg. There's also the fact that she's holding something that will determine who will be the next Lord of Stormhold.

The plotting in the novel is slower in its set up, something I had forgotten, being more familiar now with the film. But listening to Gaiman read his own words and do the voices for the characters made even the slow bits delightful.

Gaiman doesn't just read, he creates his characters. He does remarkably well with all the different voices. While they weren't the voices I might have imagined for them, they work. Even if you have read the book before, you should listen to the audio version.
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Other editions

Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Paperback)

Pages

288

Rating

(6382 ratings; 4)
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