Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Date Finished: June 28, 2008 #37
Pages: 333
Rating: 4.5

Yay!! I finally read a Gaiman book! I know I leave comments on y'alls blog and say--ooooh, I'm putting that on my TBR and then it seems that I don't. But I tell you--I do! And, I've recently picked up three of Gaiman's novels (the other two are American Gods and Neverwhere). I had actually hoped to read this one to hubby since we both really enjoyed the movie (read: I LOVED the movie he enjoyed the movie), but the book didn't really lend itself to being read aloud like Ender's Game did (read about our experience here). Oh well! :)

Tristran Thorn is a pretty ordinary shopboy from a small, isolated town called Wall. He lives a pretty ordinary life and, like his town, he is pretty sheltered. Along the side of the village, Wall, is in fact a wall. There is only one day in every eight years that the villagers can pass through a break in the wall to attend a market. Otherwise the gap is guarded and no one passes either way. Poor Tristran is not even allowed to go to the market during the times when the villagers are allowed--instead he is sent away to visit family. Despite all of this, though, there is something a titch different or strange about Tristran--something deep down inside.

One night, when poor Tristran Thorn is attempting to woo the beautiful Victoria--who finds Tristran unbearably ordinary--he sees a falling star and promises to bring the star back to Victoria. She agrees to give him anything he would like if he succeeds. She doesn't believe Tristran's scheme, however, but everyone is shocked when Tristran packs his bags to embark upon his pursuit of the fallen star. Thus begins Tristrans magical journey on the other side of the wall.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the book and its events (because you've either read the book or seen the movie and if you haven't you need to NOW). But, there is a witch seeking youth, a woman enslaved as a beautiful blue bird, seven princes who will stop at nothing to gain their father's crown, a flying ship--did I leave anything out? Oh ya. A very cranky Star (Yvaine). When Yvaine wonders why Tristain is dragging her to meet his love:

'"So, having found a lady, could you not have come to her aid, or left her alone? Why drag her into your foolishness?' 'Love,' he explained. She looked at him with eyes the blue of the sky. 'I hope you choke on it,' she said, flatly" (145).

I laughed out loud, I smiled with my heart, I felt waves of romance and pangs of sorrow. This book was magical from the very first page all the way until the end. I have to admit that I was not swept away with Gaiman's writing as I expected to be, but I was certainly swept away with the story (honestly, I could have easily had another 100 pages of this story--my complaint is mostly that it is too short!!). It is a very sarcastic and satirical fairy tale (and I was thrilled to get the Color of Magic reference--although I'm sure there are others I missed), but Stardust is also everything I expect from a true love story. Why oh why did I let myself miss out on fantasy for so long?

There are a few differences between the movie and the book, of course, but there were parts of the movie that I loved which are not in the book (mostly Robert De Niro's character who only appears briefly in the book and some of the ending is written much differently). I guess that happens and I find myself more and more either not wanting to read the book after I've seen the movie or watch the movie after I've read the book. I can't do either Stardust the book or the movie justice with my mindless rambling--so discover it for yourself. This one is a fantastic story that I hope to revisit again and again.

They read it, too:
Mrs. S at 50 Book Challenge; Valentina's Room; Unfinished Person or Just a Reading Fool; Dewey from Hidden Side of a Leaf; Kim from Big.Blue.Adventure; Bookfool from Bookfoolery and Babble; Raidergirl at An Adventure in Reading; Stephanie from Confessions of a Bookaholic;
Marg from Reading Adventures; Joanna from Lost in a Good Story; Bart's Bookshelf
On a Side Note:

I'm going to Argentina until next Thursday, so I won't be around bloghopping (and I'm already so far behind). I hope everyone has a great week!


Clare - The Super Mommy Club said...

Hooray! I'm glad you finally got to read this book - and more importantly that you enjoyed it. I really need to see the movie!

Amanda said...

Yay! You m ust must read Neverwhere next. While I enjoyed Stardust I LOVE Neverwhere.

Laura said...

Fantasy is another genre I tend to shy away from, but I'm not sure why! I think I definitely need to read Stardust, as it sounds really fun! We almost rented the movie last night, actually. Which do you recommend first-book or movie?

I hope you have a really good time in Argentina--take lots of pictures!

Ana S. said...

What a lovely review! I'm so thrilled you enjoyed this one so much :) So, what will your next Neil Gaiman be? :P

Have a wonderful time in Argentina!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Mrs S - Oh yes, the movie is fantastic!! Rent it this weekend! ;)

*Amanda - I'm glad to hear that because I'll be reading Neverwhere for an upcoming challenge. Gaiman is one of those authors that I've seen everywhere on the blogosphere, it just took me way too long to finally pick something of his up.

*Laura - You know, I'm the same way with fantasy but I've really enjoyed all the fantasy books I've read this year. Blogging has really stretched my comfort zone--that's for sure!

*Nymeth - My next Gaiman will probably be Neverwhere since I'm using it for the bonus round of the classics challenge. But I've got American Gods as well on my shelf (and believe that one is on the list as well?). Do you recommend one over the other??

YOU have a fantastic time in Brazil!!

CJ said...

I also loved Neverwhere but couldn't get into American Gods the first time I tried. I'll be interested in your review.


Bookfool said...

Argentina! Cool! Have a fabulous time, Trish!

Anonymous said...

I have this on my list to read this year and am really looking forward to it. I really enjoyed the film and the other books I have read by Gaiman so I hope it lives up to my expectations...

Joy said...

Argentina!?! I look forward to your pictures. :)

I very briefly, kinda-sorta, breezed through your post. I was trying to get the gist of the excitement, without the details.

Anyway, you have inspired me to possibly give this one a try. I'm very leery of Gaiman's work. We'll see. Thanks for the encouragement.

Stephanie said...

I'm so glad you read this book! I love, love, LOVED it!! But I also loved the movie, despite the differences!! Here is a link to my review from last year:

Have a wonderful trip!!

Anonymous said...

It is on my read list. Just that I have not been able to find a copy in Delhi till date.

Marg said...

I really enjoyed this when I read it not too long ago. I was lucky enough to get the illustrated version from the library!

My review is here.

Have a great time in Argentina!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed it, but I'll admit I'm not the big Gaiman fan so many people seem to be.

I really liked the movie of Neverwhere, or was it a British T.V. series. I saw it a few years ago as I remember.

Maybe I should try that one in print.

Michelle Fluttering Butterflies said...

I just watched the movie of this and desperately want to read it, because the book is always so much better, right? I'm kicking myself now that I had the book checked out of the library a couple of weeks ago but didn't have time to get to it and had to return it. It must be there when I go next!

joanna said...

glad you enjoyed it - i loved both the movie and the book too - and reviewed it here:

Have a good time in Argentina!

heather (errantdreams) said...

I absolutely loved the movie, and hope to read the book at some point. I guess I've always been lucky in that I have no problem taking the movie & book versions of a story as wholly separate entities, and enjoying them (or not) on their own merits.

Anonymous said...

I love Neil Gaiman's books (although I've been struggling to get in to American Gods) Neverwhere is a fantastic book, on of my all time favourites.

Anonymous said...

I have never read a Neil Gaiman book (did I say that out loud?!). Honestly, I probably won't anytime soon either (eek, did I say that out loud as well!).

And Argentina! How wonderful! I bet you're having a great time.

valentina said...

I as well watched the movie first and had the same kind of experience. I loved the movie and the book but I wish I hadn't seen the movie before, because my mind kept going back to the movie and making comparisons...It still was a great read.
My review is here:

have a great trip in Argentina, lucky you!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I started reading this book as an illustrated children's version, which I really loved. When I had to return it to the library and switch to the paperback, I was disappointed to lose the visuals. I think this story is better visually, which is why although I love both I think I liked the movie a little more :)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*CJ - I'm pretty clueless about Gaiman except Stardust and everyone's continual praise--I'm looking forward to both. Is there a particular reason why American Gods didn't strike your fancy?

*Bookfool - Thanks! I had a great time but I'm glad to be back. :P

*Rhinoa - There were a few elements that I liked better about the movie, but the book was also very magical. I hope you like it!

*Joy - I can't compare this to his others because I haven't read any but I really enjoyed this one--have you seen the movie? Either way, it was a very quick/easy read.

*Stephanie - I know you are a huge fan of Gaiman--how the heck did I miss your review??

*Gautami - I hope you are able to find a copy soon!!

*Marg - Oh, I bet the illustrated copy is beautiful! Have you seen the movie?

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*CB - I haven't really been a big fantasy person until recently (still testing the waters slowly), but I've heard so much about Gaiman through the blogosphere that I couldn't resist giving him a try. I think Neverwhere will be my next go--didn't know there was a production of it!

*Michelle - For me the book is better if I read it first. I haven't had much luck with liking books after I've seen the movie (if I love the movie anyway). This was was an exception but the movie is still fantastic!

*Joanna - Thanks for the link--I'm a little backlogged but I'll try to get it up soon. :)

*Heather - I know that is what needs to be done with these two mediums but I have a difficult time doing that!! The book is very good, though, in its own way.

*Bart - Yay! I'll be reading Neverwhere sometime this year so I'm glad to hear that so many people enjoyed it. You're not the first person to say they couldn't get into American Gods--I wonder why?

*Natasha - Ha ha!! One of those blogger recommendations I couldn't ignore any longer! This one is delightful, though, and I think you'd like it.

*Valentina - I wish I could separate the book from the movie but it is difficult for me--especially when the movie is so visually appealing like Stardust is. Still a great read, though.

*Kim - I've heard that the illustrated copy is great but unfortunately they didn't have it at the used bookstore (it actually took months of looking before I could even get a trade paperback copy). I'll have to look for it sooner or later.

Marg said...

No, I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will eventually!

Kim L said...

Thanks for mentioning my review! I felt similarly about the ending... it felt rushed. I loved the story anyhow. Glad you enjoyed Gaiman enough to try more.

Anonymous said...

I may be repeating what some people already wrote, but be prepared for American Gods and Neverwhere to be completely different from Stardust. Neil Gaiman has a very unique talent of never recreating the same mood in any book, even though they all center around dark fantasy (Stardust is his lightest novel).

I also suggest adding Anansi Boys to the list if you want more his humorous work.

=) Welcome to the Neil Gaiman world, once you start reading, its hard to put it down.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Marg - YES! See the movie!

*Kim - After hearing everyone's praise on Neverwhere, I'm really excited to read it soon. I love new discoveries!

*Narineh - Thanks for the heads up. I was expecting Stardust to be a little on the lighter side and the others to be a little darker, but other than that I really don't know much about his other works. Very excited to discover more, though!

Anonymous said...

I started American Gods, and just couldn't get through it. I'm going to try again soon. However, I did really like Stardust.

I linked to your review, and you can find mine here.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Kim - I've heard that about American Gods. When I go into his other novels, I will need to keep in mind that they are very different from Stardust (and each other)--hopefully that will help.

Anonymous said...

Gaiman's style from book to book remains intact. His humor is subtle and the emotional context is something you have to add yourself. His recent "young independent reader" novel, "The Graveyard Book," is extraordinary. I'm about 25 years older than the target, and it not only captured my imagination, it kinda blew away Anansi Boys as a story. I think Gaiman shines when he just rolls up his sleeves and lets the kid inside him out to play.