Book Title/Author: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Publisher/Year: Published August 29th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1998)
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fairytale, Adventure
Two realms: Wall, a small town in rural England and Faerie, both located close to one another, both think the neighbouring realm is inferior to their own. The two worlds are separated by a wall, for which the town of Wall is named.
Tristran Thorn, of Wall, is seeking the love of Victoria Forester, the town beauty. One night, Tristran and Victoria see a shooting star land in Faerie, and he vows to bring it to her in exchange for a kiss, and perhaps her hand in marriage. Victoria promises to grant Tristran’s wish if he brings her the star. Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining.
Tristran eventually discovers the star, but in Faerie the star is anything but a piece of rock that has fallen from the sky; instead, the star is revealed to be alive and is named Yvaine. Yvaine promises to go back to Wall with Tristran, but as their quest is coming to an end and they near closer to Wall, Yvaine realizes she has fallen in love with Tristran and, if she fulfills the promise of going over the wall to be, she will not only lose him to another woman but upon leaving Faerie, she’ll be transformed into a piece of rock because her magic cannot exist past the wall.
Absolutely loved this book! I did a follow-along read with the audiobook; this is my first Neil Gaiman audiobook and it was a treat! I love hearing authors read their own books because I feel like this way you get to know the author better and get to experience the story the way in which they intended it to be told/emphasized.
The book is short, given the timeline it covers; the whole story takes place over many years, taking readers through Tristran’s family background and then Tristran’s journey to Faerie and back. The story length, pace, and level of detail could not have been better — nothing felt like it was being drawn out.
My favourite aspect of Stardust was how it was written:
- Every character fact, event, and detail was meticulous and intentional. Everything is intertwined beautifully to make you feel like it is a complete story with no loose ends.
- This was the perfect fairytale for adults: an original story and whimsical elements that suck you in, similar to that of children’s fairytale — but 100% written for an adult audience.
“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really…”Do the stars gaze back?” Now, that’s a question.”
“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”
“You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.”
“Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets.”
“He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called.”