Stardust

by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by Coral


The town of Wall is a pretty normal English town, except for one thing. Outside the city is a wall, with a gap in it, guarded by men from Wall. No one is allowed to pass through this gap at any time other than a few days every 9 years, when the Faerie Market is held. During the Faerie Market, the magical world and the real world come together, however briefly.

Tristan Thorn is a boy living in Wall.  He is infatuated with Victoria, who doesn't feel the same way about him. One night, after they've seen a falling star, Victoria accepts - in jest, she thinks - Tristan's vow that he will retrieve the star for her in exchange for what he desires most. But for Tristan, this is no joke, even though the star has fallen beyond the gap.

Allowed to pass through because of secrets surrounding his birth, Tristan sets off in search of the star. When he comes across the star he is surprised to learn that she's, in fact, a she. And she is none too happy about falling to earth or being traded away to a Miss Victoria. Unfortunately, making their way back to Wall won't be that easy because Tristan is not the only person after the star; there's a witch who wants the star's heart for its power and a pair of brothers looking to earn their dead father's throne. And they will stop at nothing to find the star.

I decided to read this book after watching the movie a few years ago. I thought that the movie had some interesting ideas, but couldn't quite pull them all together. I actually feel the same way about the book, even though I think it had parts that were executed better than the movie.

I wish more time had been spent on the relationship between Tristan and the star (Yvaine). I could see them developing feelings for each other in the movie, but not as much in the book, so their ending almost seemed to come out of nowhere.

Robert De Niro's pirate captain was an annoying cliché in the movie, so I was glad that he was such a small, non-important character in the book.

I liked the character of Tristan's mother better in the book than the movie, because at least she had a personality in the book.

One part that I felt wasn't really explained all that well is why, if the brothers had been killing each other off all this time, did the last surviving brother need to avenge his brother's death? Just because someone outside of the family killed him?

Another part I had trouble with was with something the witch did near the end. After having spelled another witch to ensure that she couldn't see, hear or otherwise recognize the star, I didn't understand why the witch would ask her if she had seen anyone or if there was anyone else in her wagon. Of course she wouldn't know! You put a spell on her! Actually, I didn't really like how the witch story line ended in the book - though it was less (maybe only slightly less) ridiculous than the movie.

 

Grade: B