I love Neil Gaiman. I find his books just so delightful. My introduction to him was the movie Stardust years ago. I found it, much like I find his work now, delightful. I remember at the time thinking that the movie was a little more “grown-up” than I expected; I assumed it was a children’s fairytale. I have since learned through a Neil Gaiman interview at the end of the audiobook that Stardust was all along a fairytale for adults. I think that the book walks that line between adult and young adult. There is a sex scene that I do not remember from the movie, but which must have happened given that it is a major part of the plot. I mention it specifically because Gaiman’s prose made me stop and think and I find this specific detail to be VERY adult. Outside of that, it could easily be categorized as YA by the standards of today. There is some violence but nothing on par with Hunger Games or Red Rising but definitely more than Harry Potter. I do find it interesting that I found the sex more adult than the violence. I think that says a great deal about American culture and is pretty sad. In fact, I really only remember the violence because I am writing this and I consider myself to be aware of the easy acceptance of violence in American media. One thing I remember very differently about the book is that the ship captain seemed to play a far less prominent role than I recall. Robert De Niro played him in the movie and if I recall correctly, did it or at least part of it in drag. I’m not sure that part was in the book at all. If I remember that correctly, that seems like it would have been a bigger deal back in 2007 given where we are today. I really like my memory that Stardust the movie played a little with gender. I think it was done well and not entirely as a joke but I don’t remember completely. I feel like nearly fifteen years later that is still not commonplace.
Overall, the book was just as, if not more, fun than the movie. Gaiman narrates it himself as he usually does for his novels. If you like Gaiman, you’ll really enjoy Stardust.