Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Summary from Goodreads:

Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

I have always been a Gaiman fan, ever since I finished my first Gaiman book, American Gods. Followed by Anansi Boys and The Graveyard Book. All of which became my favorites. Plus I love fantasy and fairytales, so the possibility of me liking this one is huge.


I always get lost in Gaiman's world and this one in Stardust is no exception. It's a story book world where the real and the fantastical exists side by side. The ordinary town of Wall alongside the realm of Faerie, only separated by an actual physical wall with only but a gap as passageway. And that single gap is enough for anyone to feel curios and cross over thus the necessity of guard duty along both sides of the gap, that and a fair once a year to zap out all the curiosity of the townsfolk in that one gathering. Faerie is truly magical. It has in them wonderful unheard and heard of fantastical creatures from unicorns, to witches, to faeries, to ghosts, to weird small hairy men, and to an airship full of sailors chasing lightning bolts, and to beautiful human falling stars. And Tristan Thorn, our hero, somewhat got embroiled in a deeper way into all these supernatural hubbub and finds himself in the midst of the strangeness and magic of the Faerie world.


The main protagonists are your quintessential hero and heroine; Tristan, the love struck, plain looking shop boy with a unique heritage and a good heart; Yvaine, the beautiful, sparkling, sharp tongued, no nonsense falling star. The villain, just as in any fairy tale, were every bit as vile and horrible. Imagine a trio of witches, old and bent but possess powers that sucks the youth out of humans and transform themselves in any which way.

The plot pretty much follows what is also referred to as The Monomyth or The Heroes Journey. It's a sort of a narrative pattern that is as follows: Departure - Initiation - Return. 


Image from Wikipedia

Given what I had just said about the plot and the characters, one might think that this whole story is pretty basic. And it's called Stardust. Kind of sounds like fairy dust, and might make us think of Tinkerbell, and squeaky clean Disney fairy tales. But it's Neil Gaiman so it has his trademark style of adding dark, gory, creepy, weird elements in them, which I love. (Did he have any form of collaboration with Tim Burton, I wonder?) And there is always a sprinkling of English humor here and there which I also love. I also enjoyed how he used rhymes and riddles in the story to represent active spells or magical rules and conditions. I particularly enjoyed the English Nursery Rhyme "How Many Miles to Babylon", and how it was taken as a the hero's mode of transportation. Such a novel idea. (That and the "two mondays' condition, which I will leave for you to find out.)

Right now, after reading Stardust, I can still say that I have loved each and every Gaiman book that I've read. I am considering doing a Neil Gaiman rampage and go through all his works, after I'm done with my TBR or when I become liquid again. :) What do you propose I read next? Fragile Things? Neverwhere? Odd and the Frost Giants?

Stardust is the recipient of Locus Award Nominee for Best Fantasy Novel (1999), Geffen Award (2000), Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature (1999), ALA Alex Award (2000).

This is my 24th entry for the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.

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