Book – Stardust
Author – Neil Gaiman
Year – 1999
Pages – 196
Genre – Fantasy
Time for a bit of fantasy escapism, and as Alex is starting on American Gods, a brilliant book, I thought I had best hop on the Neil Gaiman bandwagon as well. I found several of his books on my shelves, although unfortunately they seemed to mainly be compilations of short stories. No problem with that, but I fancied a proper novel, so as a result I raked out this book, which I actually read during the failed first year of the challenge – pre-blog. As that was over a decade ago now, I had no problems with a reread here.
(As an aside, a thing I will do during this strange Coronatime is to rake out that list which I still have somewhere and upload it here. Would be nice to see how many of those books I have now read again and therefore uploaded onto this site, and how many others I would be happy to read again to do so.)
So onto the book at hand. Stardust is a standalone book, a weirdly unusual thing for a fantasy book. It tells the story of Tristran Thorne of the little town of Wall in Victorian England. A normal enough town for the time, except it is home to a giant wall that separates our world from that of the Faerie world. To win the heart of the woman he loves, Tristran leaves his town to find a fallen star, and along the way meets all kinds of interesting characters – air pirates, witches, transformed animals – and has all kinds of adventures. A particularly interesting strand is the brothers competing to be the surviving heir to the throne, but as each is picked off, they become a ghost watching to see who will be left.
The whole book has an air of so many different things. There are obvious nods to fairy tales, a story is that is straight out of young adult fiction, and the whole thing has a Pratchett-esque feel to it without quite being a comedy book. It is thoroughly charming and delightful affair, and shows off how competent Gaiman is as a writer. Whilst it doesn’t have the depth of the book Alex is currently reading, I would recommend it as a lighter read, and in fact would recommend just giving his work a go – it is well worth it.