Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

Stardust, cialis sale by Neil Gaiman, glaucoma was originally a graphic novel but after being rewritten into a regular novel was been turned into a film that opened in August of 2007. It got, overall, good reviews (75% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com). I read this book several years ago but wanted to get a reread in before the movie came out.

The book starts out with a chapter about how Tristran Thorn Came to Be: his father, Dunstan Thorn, had a brief affair with someone on the other side of the wall. The wall, you say? Well, there’s a town in England, ingeniously called Wall, that is set right near the border to Faerie. Faerie and what we call ‘reality’ are separated by a stone wall. Once every nine years, there’s a festival or market that allows the denizens of Faerie to come and sell their wares in the town of Wall. Anyway, fast-forward almost eighteen years, and Tristran Thorn (apparently his name has been changed to Tristan in the movie, which is, as someone pointed out, infinitely more pronounceable) is seventeen, gangly, and desperately in love with Victoria Forester. One night he asks her for a kiss, and she says, no, but after some poetic language, she indicates that if Tristran is nice enough to go fetch a particular fallen star for her (which has fallen on the other side of the wall), she might be kind enough to give him whatever he likes.

Tristran goes home to inform his parents that he must go to the other side of the wall, and since they both know where he came from (although he didn’t), they pack him some food and send him on his Coming-of-Age Quest. (Well, they don’t call it that, but of course it is one.) As it turns out, there are at least four other people looking for this star (who happens to be anthropomorphically turned into a young lady), and he must keep her safe. Adventures abound, etc., and there is a slightly bittersweet ending, with at least one hidden identity (although if you are careful, you’ll know who’s what).

This is a fairy tale, or a fable, and as such begins with a large info-dump and has no problem with telling you things rather than showing them in many situations. That’s not to say that Neil Gaiman is talking down to his audience; the language is a bit archaic (anachronistic, I guess) and if these things bother you, I’d say avoid the book. However, the characters are quite interesting, from the boat captain to the tree (who is actually Tori Amos). He is informed by traditional tales of Faerie and generally avoids most of them. While small, unidentified creatures do show up, as well as a unicorn, they’re not generally the major focus of the plot. Most of the creatures of Faerie are more Mystery than anything — a lady with cat ears who is turned into a bird, etc. There are no Seelie Sidhe or anything else expected like that. I would say he does a wonderful job of avoiding the obvious while letting it be there enough to tweak our imaginations. We’re allowed to fill in the Tinkerbells if we choose.

The plot moves fairly well and has no major holes as far as I can tell, but I seem to be pretty accepting of things like motivation: if you tell me that someone is doing something for such-and-such a reason, I’ll probably believe you and go on with the book. In any case, I love this book; it is definitely not heavy reading and I would probably recommend it for anyone . . . but not necessarily as characteristic of Neil Gaiman. If you’ve been irked by Gaiman in the past because you think he’s too bloody or gross, although you admire his whimsy, this is probably the one for you. Whimsical, of course, with minor moments of gore, but nothing extreme. Overall I’d give it a 4.5/5 stars.

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