Stardust by Neil Gaiman

// Illustrator: Charles Vess

// Genre & Themes: Fantasy, adventure, adult

// Publisher: Harper Perennial

// Trigger \ Content Warnings: (graphic) a few detailed descriptions of violence

// Synopsis: Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall—named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…

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Stardust reads like a fairy tale, à la the Brothers Grimm. It was fantastical and immersive—but it had its drawbacks. One of which being that the style is more tell than show. Because of this it had a very lyrical quality, but I felt disconnected from the characters.

Often I was told that Tristan felt emotions, but it seemed to come out of nowhere because it had never been mentioned before then.

Truthfully, I prefer the movie. I’m a sucker for a good adventure (The Mummy and Jurassic Park being two of my favorite movies of all time). I can’t help it. And I found that Stardust, the book, lacked that adventurous quality I loved in the movie.

I feel the movie had better characters and a more fulfilling ending. The ending seemed to drop off. Now, here it’s important to note my first paragraph. This story reads like a fairy tale, and the ending fits that style. So in a way, the ending is perfect! But for my personal reading preferences, I found it to be rather flat.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman book cover | Book cover art, Books, Vintage book  covers
this edition is so much prettier than the one I read

I loved the characterization and interactions between characters in the movie. The emotions that were conveyed in the book were shown better on the screen.

In defense of the book, I found the novel to be more creative than the movie. At least when it comes to the visual. There are different kind of fairytale creatures and magical people, and I liked the visuals I got there.

I also preferred how the book depicted Victoria. She felt less like a mean girl caricature and more like a person with flaws. That said, I didn’t mind either portrayal. They’re just different.

If I were to give it a rating, I’d give it three stars out of five. Enjoyable, easy-to-read, and creative, but not a novel that necessarily sticks out to me the same way the movie does.


Photo by Redd

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