Stardust by Neil Gaiman
My Rating: 3 1/2 of 5 Stars
I have very mixed feelings about Stardust, I’m afraid. It is a sweet, though short, fable with a mystical touch of fairy magic and a strange assortment of characters. There were surprises here and there that I really appreciated, and the ending was touching. Mostly. Our hero, Tristran Thorne, is off on a mission to collect a fallen star for his ladylove, which entails him leaving the normal world where he grew up, and heading into the land of the fairies. Along his journey to find the fallen star, he meets a wonderfully varied collection of beings. Bit by bit, this tangled group of characters sort themselves out, and their relationships, both to each other and to Tristran, become clear in a satisfying manner.
What, then, didn’t I like? Partly, Stardust was maybe just a wee bit too sweet for my tastes, but mostly I think it was the fact that I never really felt connected to any of the characters in the tale. I liked them, but in a very detached sort of way, and if you have ever read any of my reviews in the past, you probably know that being invested in the people I’m reading about is huge with me. Make me love them and feel like I’ve known them forever, and you have a reader for life. Merely making them pleasant is just not quite enough, I’m afraid.
This is not to say that the book isn’t worth the read. It is a charming story, overall, and I can see why so many people like it; but for me, it was nowhere near as strong as the other two Gaiman books I’ve read, Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book, both of which I loved. Two out of three ain’t bad, though, and I definitely will be checking out more of Neil Gaiman’s work.
If you are a fan of brief, sweet fables, then I can definitely recommend Stardust to you. If not, go straight to Neverwhere, and find yourself in a much darker and more shivery world.
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