Monday, October 31, 2011

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

1999; 333 pages.  Genre : Fantasy Fiction.  New Author? : No.  Laurels: Winner of the 2000 Ameircan Library Association's "Alex Award";  Winner of the 1999 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.  Overall Rating : 9½*/10.

    Victoria Forester is the most beautiful girl in the land.  To win her heart, Tristan Thorn vows to bring her a falling/fallen star they saw together.  In return, she agrees to give him his heart's desire.

What could be easier, and what could possibly go wrong?

What's To Like...
Stardust is a fairy tale.  As such, it has romance and adventure; unicorns and princesses.  But it's also a Neil Gaiman tale.  As such, it has intrigue and murder; ghosts and witches; and a wee bit o' sex and cussing.

The storyline moves at a splendid pace, and it is a delight to follow along.  Tristan hasn't a clue as to how to find a fallen star, let alone snag it and take it back with him.  All he knows is that to do so, he will have to leave the "real" world, and venture into the land of Faeries.  That's fodder for Gaiman's fertile mind.

    Stardust is an easy-to-read book.  The writing is skilled; the plotline is well thought-out; the story twists are plentiful; and the ending is great.  And there's an illustrated version of it that I am told is also masterfully done.

Kewlest New Word...
Lammas-Tide : August 1st; aka "Harvest Day".   Three months after Beltain; and three months before Samhain.

    There was a cracking sound, sharp as a shot, and the light that filled the grove was gone.
    Or almost gone.  There was a dim glow pulsing from the middle of the hazel thicket, as if a tiny cloud of stars were glimmering there.
    And there was a voice, a high clear, female voice which said, "Ow," and then, very quietly, it said "Fuck," and then it said "Ow" once more.
    And then it said nothing at all, and there was silence in the glade.  (pg. 93)

    "If you touch me," said the star, "lay but a finger on me, you will regret it forever-more."
    "If ever you get to be my age," said the old woman, "you will know all there is to know about regrets, and you will know that one more, here or there, will make no difference in the long run."  She snuffled the air.  (pgs. 321-322)

There was once a young man who wished to gain his heart's desire.  (pg. 1)
    Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite contemporary author.  He can pen "heavy" novels such as American Gods and Anansi Boys; and  he can pen "lighter" stuff like Stardust.  They are all equally brilliant.  Do you think I have stardust in my eyes?  Check out the awards he's won here.

    The negative reviews at Amazon fall mostly into two groups.  First, there are those who are shocked that there is sex and cussing in the book.  Hey folks, it's an adult fairy-tale.  Second, there are those who say the movie is better.  I can't say, not having seen it.  Perhaps the lesson here is read the book before renting the video.

    As for me, I found it to be a wonderful and entertaining read.  But then, I expect that from Neil Gaiman.  9½* Stars.

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