Book Review: Stardust (Neil Gaiman)
This review is part of Stacie and Maia’s Random Reads
Publisher: Headline Review
Release Date: First published in 1988
Summary (From Goodreads):
One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love.
I picked this book for Stacey as part of our Random Reads feature. I only really picked it because I wanted to read it, have been meaning to for a while, and thought this would be the good nudge along that I needed.
While as a whole I did enjoy this book, I found there was just something lacking in it for me.
I wasn’t really sure, going in, what age it was aimed at, and coming out I’m still not certain. Sometimes it read very much like a fairytale for younger readers, and then there was violence and sex which you wouldn’t really expect to find in a book for younger readers.
I struggled to get into it at first, as I just didn’t find the first few pages very gripping. It took me a while to warm up to the story, and just when I thought I was getting invested in the characters, I found they took a back seat as Tristan came into it as the main character. While this is quite common in fairy tales in general, I found here it just didn’t help me get into the story.
I loved the character of the Star: her grouchiness and snarky remarks to Tristan made me laugh and I liked how they both saved each other, rather than her being a typical damsel in distress. Their relationship grew very naturally as well, even if it was obvious what was going to happen.
There were so many tantalising bits of information dropped in that really helped to populate the Faerie realm and bring it to life. My only complaint there would be that I wanted to find more about their stories! I was especially intrigued by the squirrel searching for the Acorn of Truth.
I loved the witches and, again, wanted to find out more of their life and history than the glimpse we got. The thing that disappointed me was the climax, as I expected a little more of a showdown between the Star and the witch: the ending fell a little flat for me.
While I did enjoy this, I found it was too much like an extended, classic fairy tale. You know how when you read a Grimm tale (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately) and you get the story, you know what happened but you don’t really get a real sense of the characters? That’s how Stardust felt for me: I didn’t feel part of the story, I was very much on the outside, watching.
You can pop over to Stacie’s blog and see her review here.