I have never been a big fantasy fan but CBR (and, specifically, Badkittyuno) have led me to try new things to mixed results. Neil Gaiman has been a welcome addition to my author’s list beginning with last year’s American Gods– probably my favorite book from the CBR8 read.
Stardust is Gaiman’s fairy tail for adults and it’s a pretty successful attempt. This was an increasingly rare instance when I saw the movie (granted, forever ago) before reading the novel and while they have similarities they are also pretty different.
“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.”
Dunstan Thorn lives in the English town of Wall where there is a literal wall that serves as a boundary between the world we know and the Land of Faeries. There is a crack in the wall that is guarded by volunteer townspeople but every 9 years it is opened up to allow for a Faerie market in the meadow. It is at this market that Dunstan meets a beautiful, nameless woman who is a slave to a witch; some months later a basket is placed by the Wall with the name-tag “Tristran Thorn.”
“I gain my freedom on the day the moon loses her daughter, if that occurs in a week when two Mondays come together. I await it with patience.”
Here begins the main portion of Stardust where Tristran (the most irritating name to type out besides, maybe, the Weeknd) is now seventeen years old and hopelessly in love with Victoria Forester. Walking home one night Victoria and Tristran see a falling star; Tristran vows to retrieve the star for Victoria as token of his love. So Tristran goes through the crack in the wall and begins his adventure. He finds the star, Yvaine, fairly quickly but their journey back to Wall is not as easy.
Gaiman has created a realistic but fantastical new world where stars are people, witches can trap faerie princesses and trees can be strong allies to the pure of heart. I listened to the audio book, which Gaiman narrates, and the narration gives added depth to the various descriptions.