Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Rating: 4 stars
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest."
Review: If this book were a resume and submitted to me as an application, I would definitely give it an interview. On paper, it's everything I'm looking for in a book. In person, however, I was a little less enchanted.
Not that there isn't a lot to love here - there is. I love that this fairy tale was written unashamedly for adults, not a children's book that adults are also allowed to love. The atmosphere reeks of magic and imagination, the humor is dry and alluring, and the adventure is charming and entertaining. But somehow that unidentifiable sparkle wasn't there for me.
The characters were all lovely on their own, but their relationships to each other were far less developed. Tristan is a little dim-witted, but in a delightfully blundering way. Yvaine was understandably upset with her situation, but softened as time went by. I didn't connect to the romance between them. Yvaine just seemed so far out of his realm to me, and I didn't get what they liked about each other.
In this regard, I think the film did much better than the book. The relationship between Tristan and Yvaine was much more believable and swoon-worthy. The film did a good job of staying true to the morbid humor of the book, and what changes they did made sense to me. (Although, I confess, I really liked how things worked out between the witch and Yvaine in the end of the book, even if it was a little anticlimactic if you're expecting a battle.)
I understand why so many love this story, though. I may not have been completely enchanted, but this book was bizarre in the best way, and gave me a quick adventure in a very unique world.
Review in a GIF:
Bottom Line: I wasn't swept off my feet, but I think that's a case of it's-not-you-it's-me. This fairy tale is funny and dry and adventurous and delightfully weird. I'd recommend it, though I might recommend the film more.