Dee's Reviews > Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
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Dec 12, 09

bookshelves: fantasy-and-fairytale

There are passages in this book that are utterly brilliant. It's actually the first time I've wanted to copy whole pages out and stick them in my review just because they're priceless (my husband was subjected to my reading parts aloud to him). Love the writing style, it had me chuckling.

I thought it was a little bit Narnia-ish in that Faerie is full to the brim of seemingly unrelated fantastical beings & settings (if you think the movie is, the book is more so: fights between lions and unicorns, little sparkling pixies & killer trees). Some parts seemed a little hurried, ie would have loved more of the sky-ship. The lightning pirate scenes in the movie (Robert DeNiro & Ricky Gervais, classic) were evidently just written for the screenplay.

In some ways I really did prefer the movie. Things seemed to be resolved too easily where the film had a bit more climax & conflict and was, in the end, more satisfying. Also, (& this is not a sexist thing, because men are awesome, it just is what it is) I prefer to read female authors for many reasons, one being that they generally build a bit of emotional tension into their romance rather than throwing two characters together into a declaration of love (or a sex scene, ugh) just cause they're male and female and he thinks she has pretty eyes. May sound harsh, but from my experience it happens so often & Gaiman is no exception. Just a matter of personal preference.

But generally, I loved it. Fun fun fun.

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And okay, I found this already typed out online so I had to paste it in here. My favourite passage in the book. Gives you a feel for Gaiman's wit and 'voice' throughout the novel. It's perfect:

It was night in the glade by the pool and the sky was bespattered with stars beyond counting.
Fireflies glittered in the leaves of the elm trees and in the ferns and in the hazel bushes,
flickering on and off like the lights of a strange and distant city. An otter splashed in the brook that
fed the pool. A family of stoats wove and wound their way to the water to drink. A fieldmouse
found a fallen hazelnut and began to bite into the hard shell of the nut with its sharp, ever-growing
front teeth, not because it was hungry, but because it was a prince under an enchantment who
could not regain his outer form until he chewed the Nut of Wisdom. But its excitement made it
careless, and only the shadow that blotted out the moonlight warned it of the descent of a huge
grey owl, who caught the mouse in its sharp talons and rose again into the night.
The mouse dropped the nut, which fell into the brook and was carried away, to be swallowed by
a salmon. The owl swallowed the mouse in just a couple of gulps, leaving just its tail trailing from
her mouth, like a length of bootlace. Something snuffled and grunted as it pushed through the
thicket—a badger, thought the owl (herself under a curse, and only able to resume her rightful
shape if she consumed a mouse who had eaten the Nut of Wisdom), or perhaps a small bear.
Leaves rustled, water rilled, and then the glade became filled with light shining down from
above, a pure white light which grew brighter and brighter. The owl saw it reflected in the pool, a
blazing, glaring thing of pure light, so bright that she took to the wing and flew to another part of
the forest. The wild things looked about them in terror.
First the light in the sky was no bigger than the moon, then it seemed larger, infinitely larger,
and the whole grove trembled and quivered and every creature held its breath and the fireflies
glowed brighter than they had ever glowed in their lives, each one convinced that this at last was
love, but to no avail...
And then—
There was a cracking sound, sharp as a shot, and the light that had filled the grove was gone.
Or almost gone. There was a dim glow pulsing from the middle of the hazel thicket, as if a tiny
cloud of stars were glimmering there.
And there was a voice, a high clear, female voice, which said, “Ow,” and then, very quietly, it
said “Fuck,” and then it said “Ow,” once more.
And then it said nothing at all, and there was silence in the glade.
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12/11/2009 page 45
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