Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Hi all! I know I promised this review sooner, and I apologise. I’m a slacker.

Truth be told, my time has been taken up with reading Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. I’m trying to space my reviews out so they aren’t too infrequent, in relation to how far I am through the next book, but this has taken me longer than I expected to read.

Stardust

GoodReads – Stardust

To be perfectly honest I only picked up this book because I have heard such good things about the author. The story is based around a young man who runs off to retrieve a fallen star for the sweetheart of the town, after she promises to give him his greatest desire if he succeeds. Of course his wish is to marry this beautiful girl. Prior to this promise, he had once or twice sat in a tree looking through windows at her. Not at all creepy…

Now call me a cynic if you want, but I’m not for all this mushy stuff. At the proud age of 22 I can testify that nobody has come to sweep me off my feet. No Prince, Page or Peasant has promised to fetch me a fallen star, bottle up the northern nights or whisk me off into the sunset for my happy-ever-after. What have all these bitches got that I haven’t?! Destiny. Whilst these ladies fulfill their destinies, promising their lives away to the heroes of these grand fairy tales I sit here typing away…

As much as I criticise, the book was well written. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the plot outline was original because it isn’t, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Tristran, the young man in question, in order to retrieve the fallen star must pass the Wall between this world and Faerie, a land of all things magical. But the fallen star has drawn the interest of others too; withered witches require the heart of the star to restore their youth. The Star holds an amulet, cast into the sky by the Lord of the Stormhold on his deathbed and is the cause of her fall. Each of the surviving sons of the Lord searches for this amulet to claim the lordship, and so is their invested interest in her movements.

For a fairy tale story, it is actually quite gruesome. This doesn’t particularly bother me as it happens, (I’m a die-hard Game of Thrones fan so I can’t be squeamish) but I’m not sure that it entirely fits. By all means, the fighting of the brothers of the Lord of Stormhold seems entirely reasonable. We know one brother is particularly keen on bumping the others off. That’s fine. The witch and one of the sons of the Lord of Stormhold fighting with each other as they both need something of the star. Not unreasonable. The graphic descriptions though – not so much. Not for me anyway. This is also very graphic at the beginning; it’s not a bedtime story for the children folks!

My favourite thing about the book is Neil Gaiman’s writing style – it is this that saved the book from being a write off for me. Despite not being a great lover of the plot it hasn’t put me off reading his other books. I bought a copy of American Gods not that long ago; that will definitely be more to my taste, so I’m looking forward to reading that one in September (or thereabouts).

One thing I have decided, having read some other reviews on this book… I will not be watching the film. I thought this was lovey-dovey, sickly sweet and vomit inducing romance, but if anyone, ANYONE, makes me watch that film, I cannot be held accountable for my actions.

 

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