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The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars (The Fairy Tale Series)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,176 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Since his first Vlad Taltos novel in the mid-1980s, Steven Brust has gathered a loyal audience. With The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, originally published in 1987, Brust interweaves a traditional Hungarian folktale with the modern story of three young artists' struggle against the world's indifference. This underground cult novel will now be enjoyed by a wider and new gen ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 210 pages
Published October 1988 by Ace (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary Robinette Kowal
This is one of my favorite books. The book interweaves a Hungarian Fairy Tale with a story of an artist who is trying to decide if it is time to pack it in.

It captures the creative process perfectly. I tend to pick this up and reread it when I'm feeling creatively blocked.
Carolee Wheeler
This book struck me as one of the most hackneyed, self-aggrandized depictions of what it is like to make art. I read all the glowing reviews and I still wonder what I missed.
Dev Null
Jan 31, 2012 Dev Null rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
What do you call a book that's a mix of Hungarian folklore and a peek into the lives of fictional modern artists? I got as far as "fiction", and "very very good"; you're on your own after that.

This was short (~200 pp - and I mean that as a compliment not a complaint) excellently-well-written, and full of interesting characters. It made me feel like I might start to understand some of what it is to be an artist, without all of that tedious learning to practice an art first. It doesn't really go a
Nancy O'Toole
Greg is a struggling painter. Three years ago he and a few friends decided to rent an art studio so they could create art together, but little has come out of it. The group of friends now have to decide whether they want to set up an art show, or close down the studio for good. Meanwhile, Greg is creating a large painting that depicts Uranus, Apollo, and Artemis. His struggle is mirrored in a Hungarian folktale called "The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars."

The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars is part of
Steven R. McEvoy
Returning once again to Steven Brust, I am now choosing to review not one of his Vlad Toltos or Dragaera books going on to a much deeper book by this very creative writer. There are two editions of this book that I know of. The current Orb edition and a much older Ace edition.

Quoting from the back’s of the books:

Once Upon A Time

there was a kingdom, that
lived in darkness, for the Sun, the
Moon, and the Stars were hidden in a box …
which was hidden in a sow’s belly …
which was hidden I a troll’s ca
Jun 25, 2016 Macha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Hungarian folktale of great detail, told in bits over the course of the book and proceeding in parallel to the journey of the contemporary artist who tells it, this one's about the creative process. An original structure for a retelling too, and how unusual is that?: no magic in it except the maker's magic in creating art. I liked it lots, and Brust is at his best when he's got a demanding structure to work to. so here there's the creative process of solving the riddle of the folktale, the int ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I read this based on the recommendations from several authors. I share their high opinion about the insights it portrays into the creative process and the creative mind. There isn't much story here, but the characterizations and the framing devices keep things moving and interesting.

I give it high marks for overall theme and structure. The intermingling of the current tale with a Hungarian folk tale and even the subject matter of the painting the narrator is working on is pretty brilliant.

On th
Apr 15, 2010 Psychophant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, art
There are three meaning threads in this book. One is a reflection on art, made using a group of artists that share a studio, in the 80s (contemporary when published). The second is a Hungarian folk tale, the quest to put the Sun, the Moon and the Stars back in the sky. It interacts little (but there are a few moments) with the main thread, even if it is told by the main character. Then there is an additional meaning in the pictures chosen by the author to introduce each scene, which both tell us ...more
Sep 23, 2008 Mika rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book would be really interesting. I was wrong.

Alright, well, that doesn’t capture all of it. The story was told in a very unique manner, I liked hearing about the narrator’s artistic creative process, and interspersed in the plot was a Hungarian folk tale. So maybe you can see why I thought it would be interesting. Unfortunately, I never liked the narrator — he was every bit as cocky as the other characters claimed — and the folk tale was included just for the sake of including a
Feb 24, 2010 Akiva rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the reasons I like Brust is that he is always trying different things, well different things mixed with hungarian folktales and so the main thread of this book is intercut with a fairly generic folktale about a taltos (mysterious wizard type) at the dawn of time who is going on a quest to hang the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky so that the world can be bright. Greg, the protagonist narrator of this book, is one of a group of artists who share studio space. None of them are making ...more
I'm amazed at Brust's ability to to write in such different styles. This book broke each chapter down into multiple parts. One part dealt with the protagonists history with the artists around him, one dealt with what was currently going on with those relationships, one dealt with his actual work on the painting, one dealt with a Hungarian folk tale, and one dealt with philosophical insights into everything else. There was some overlap of course, but generally each section told its own part of th ...more
Jun 20, 2007 Proditor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who breathes
But is is art?

Yes. Categorically, yes. Steven Brust has one great gift and that is his ability to tell a tale in such a way that it almost feels like he is in fact, right there telling it to you. This comes through very well in his Taltos series, but it reaches a pinnacle in The sun, the Moon and the Stars. I read another review that talked about the artistic process and how Brust might not get it...well, I say poppycock. He does get it. He also explains it like I might explain it to you over a
Mar 08, 2016 xenu01 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting more, I guess. I think too many smart people talked this book up. One of those things. There's just no character growth or anything. Nothing really happens. But it's not really so well written that "nothing happens" is still interesting. Maybe it's because I didn't find the narrator's thoughts all that interesting. *shrug*
Thom Marrion
Feb 14, 2015 Thom Marrion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this shortly after graduating from art school and the whole story about trying to get an art show together and even justify whether or not you should be an artist in the first place spoke to me so strongly at the time. I love this book a lot and despite being relatively unknown, it is my favorite Steven Brust novel.
Dec 02, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended in a roundabout way by my dear friend Greg, who sent me his collection of quotes once years ago--one lengthy passage from this book included ("The Temple of Isstvan", if you wondered). I ran across it in a used book store for a dollar and snatched it up.

I was sad to see it's gotten some bad reviews, though I can understand it even if I don't agree with it. It's not a very linear narrative--the setting bounces back and forth between a fairy tale about a man who sets out to place the S
probably should have abandoned this book, but I wanted to know how the hungarian folkstory played out. another reviewer described it as 'one of the best examinations of masculinity in genre fiction written to date' and there it is, the reason this book makes me nose-scrunch.
Mar 07, 2016 Milele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good weekend read (short and engrossing). Wonderful interleaving of two narratives, that leaves one constantly musing the relationship between them. Strange, and doesn't always make total sense or have cheap closure.
Scott Schroeder
Jan 17, 2016 Scott Schroeder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of many wonderful Steven Brust books. I remember reading this many years ago, and loved it. It's telling that this isn't necessarily one of the top 5 Steven Brust books - plenty of others to read! - but still 5 stars.
Ariana Deralte
I freely admit that this was not my type of novel. The artist sections of this book were so self absorbed and pretentious, I started skimming them just to get to the folklore bits, which were masterful. So then I found myself torn between enjoying the folklore, and liking that it was meant to shadow the art story, but on the other hand, hating the protagonist, and being utterly bored by the artist sections. Is there anything more masturbatory than reading about an artist creating art? My only co ...more
Kest Schwartzman
Feb 07, 2016 Kest Schwartzman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
God I loved this book in highschool. I was pretty sure it was the best thing that had ever been printed. I'm pretty sure i would disagree with that, if i read it now, so i won't
May 10, 2010 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was OK. It provided amazing insight into the artistic process and how artists see the world. The main character was complex and flawed. The author showed him as highly insightful while still really blind to his own faults (aren't we all?), which made listening to his inner dialog more interesting.

Unfortunately, the plot (if there is one at all) isn't compelling. The Hungarian folk tale woven through the modern day tale is far more fascinating. I kept waiting for them to intersect, but
This books is different from Brust's other novels. In this book he "retells" a Hungarian folk tale while also exploring the life of a young artist. Apparently this was part of a series of retold fairy tales. The s tructure of the book was interesting. Very regimented, each chapter had five sub-parts which each had a slightly different style. One was about the past, one the present, one about painting, one about art and one part of the fairy tale. The structure allowed Brust to tell multiple stor ...more
M.E. Garber
Having trained as an illustrator for a few years in college (before switching to graphic design), I really enjoyed the protagonist's thinking about painting, and the descriptions of the painting (affectionately known as "The Monster") he works on during this novel's progress. At first I was bothered by the swapping story lines, going from past history to a Hungarian folktale the protagonist tells his companions, to current works, etc. But as I got used to it, I fell into the rhythm, and learned ...more
Sep 14, 2015 Caitie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2015
Oh, I just didn't get it. And I'm not actually sure there was anything to get. There wasn't any "there", there.
Oct 25, 2008 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
I really enjoy Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series. Maybe it's the humor that accompanies Vlad that appeals to me so much. So I was excited to read a fairy tale by Brust. Unfortunately, I didn't really like it. The story is about a group of struggling artists in the 1980s and their attempts to make an art studio work. The fairy tale is about three gypsies, well, one in particular, who overcome certain obstacles in order to put the sun, the moon, and the stars back in the sky. I admit, that I still ...more
This one felt like two separate stories - first, the one of a struggling artist as he goes through life learning, making friends, trying to keep his studio open, and trying to pay his bills solely through his art. The second, the one of three gypsies trying to put the sun, the moon and the stars into the sky.

While I really liked both stories, I don't really understood how the modern one connected with the fairy tale. I saw more parallels between the painting Greg was working and his current even
Feb 23, 2015 Tor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Structure and writing are great. It's an eighties contemporary piece that sounds authentic, which can be really difficult to digest at times where conversation is concerned. It might teach one how to approach a painting -- as in, to paint one.
Dec 17, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read this author's books.....
John Anthony
Jun 17, 2015 John Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julie Cordova
I feel like I missed something...but I don't know...hmmm.
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Steven Karl Zoltán Brust (born November 23, 1955) is an American fantasy and science fiction author of Hungarian descent. He was a member of the writers' group The Scribblies, which included Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Nate Bucklin, Kara Dalkey, and Patricia Wrede, and also belongs to the Pre-Joycean Fellowship.

(Photo by David Dyer-Bennet)
More about Steven Brust...

Other Books in the Series

The Fairy Tale Series (8 books)
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“That's what does it-- that moment where you think you're lost, and then discover that you're not, that you've never really left. There's something that happens in that incredible tiny no-time, and that something is like the revelation of learning.” 1 likes
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