Patrice Sartor's Reviews > Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Aug 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: love-sex-romance, fantasy

GENRE: Fiction: Fantasy, historical fiction, adventure.

SUBJECT/THEMES: Romance, greed, story-telling, coming of age, surviving in the wild, bravery.

SUMMARY: A self-sufficient, isolated town called Wall is surrounded by a stone wall. The wall has only one way in or out, and this is continually guarded by two villagers. Still, every nine years Wall holds a market in the open meadow next to the town, which brings in a huge variety of unusual peddlers and entertainers, hoping to make some money. One Wall inhabitant was enchanted for a evening by a merchant stall worker, and, 18 years later, the product of their union, Tristran Thorn, has decided to step beyond Wall’s boundaries. His goal is to retrieve a fallen star for the object of his affection, Victoria, in exchange for anything Tristran desires. Victoria agrees to the potential exchange, and Tristran sets off into a world of fairies, changelings, witches, and other odd creatures. From here the adventure truly begins, as Tristran uses his resources (including help from the locals) to find the fallen star, who turns out to be a small, sparkly female who does not particularly wish to accompany Tristran back home to be presented to Victoria.

EVALUATION: I found this a magical tale, filled with both gentle-hearted, simple characters, as well as sneaky and manipulative ones. A number of characters are introduced quite quickly, and at first this is a bit confusing. Before long, the various characters come together and their stories and paths are intertwined, and it all happens in a way that feels masterful. The ending is a bit predictable, though that does not detract from it. After all, things could have ended up in a variety of ways; I was just not surprised how they did. Overall, I loved the book.

WHY I WOULD INCLUDE IT: Neil Gaiman is a very popular author, both among teens and adults (and tweens, for some of his work). He has written graphic novels, fantasy tales, horror novels, and more. His style is compelling, and his story-telling skills are well-honed. I strongly wanted to include one of his titles in this database for these reasons and more. I chose Stardust based on a friend’s recommendation. Also, I wanted to include a fantasy book in the database, and this one qualified. Lastly, this was made into a movie a couple of years ago, and has received very favorable reviews from, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars (Retrieved April 19, 2009, from I have not yet seen the film, though after reading this story, I will do so. Neil Gaiman is prolific and talented enough to warrant dedicating a special young adult display to his work and related films, and certainly this novel, and possibly the movie based on it, would be fine additions to help familiarize readers with Gaiman’s earlier works.

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