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Stardust (novel)

A fantasy for adults written by Neil Gaiman and with illustrations by Charles Vess, published as both a novel and a graphic novel.

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Mythpoeic Award-winning fantasy

  • Jun 1, 2003
"Stardust" won the Mythpoeic Award for best adult fairy tale. After all, fairy tales are not just for kids. And they're not for wimpy adults, either. Just read "The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales" by Maria Tatar if you don't believe me. "Stardust" has some pretty Grimm stuff in it too, however the only people who might not enjoy it are those who take Unicorns very very seriously. Or are extremely fond of billy goats.

Gaiman's story begins and ends with a fair that will remind you of Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market":

"Backwards up the mossy glen/ Turned and trooped the goblin men,/ With their shrill repeated cry,/ "Come buy, come buy.".http://www.lunch.com/

As Laura of "Goblin Market"-fame learned, it is better not to sample the merchandise at such Unseelie gatherings. Dunstan Thorn, who "was not romantic" learns this lesson too, when nine months after the "Stardust" fair, a baby is abandoned at the boundary between Faerie and the English village of Wall with his name pinned to its blanket. Thus begins the story of Tristan Thorn who is raised as a proper Victorian lad until age seventeen. Unlike his father, Tristan is romantic and at the bequest of the most beautiful girl in Wall, he sets out on a quest through the Land of Faerie to fetch her a fallen star. Not just any fallen star, but the one Tristan and Victoria both saw on the night she refused to kiss him.

"Stardust" is stuffed with stock fairy tale creatures who have been blown loose from their moorings and brought to life in the most wildly imaginative way. Some of them make only token appearances, but all are memorable. Two of the most poignant are the boy who is turned into a billy goat, and a billy goat, turned into a boy. There are three truly evil witches, and one who is only so-so wicked. There are...well, read the book. Even if you aren't drinking while you read it, you'll feel drunk by the time you finish.

If ever there was a book that could be labeled, `Drink me!', "Stardust" is that book.

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More Stardust: Being A Romance With... reviews
Quick Tip by . April 09, 2011
If you've only seen the film, Stardust the book (widely available as both a graphic novel and a novel) is quite different in tone. The story is a creatively dark fantasy adventure for adults (there is some gruesome violence, a couple instances of sex, and brief strong language) that tells a fairly bittersweet story of romance and love. The main characters all experience a great deal of hardship and tragedy and while lessons are learned and they ultimately are better people for it, they …
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
This book is just fun fantasy. Different from the movie, but not in feel.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
An enjoyable read
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Dark and whimsical. Lovely.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
Delightful, though the writing can be a touch pompous.
review by . February 15, 2010
I'm one of those folks who saw the movie first.    I was quite surprised Neil Gaiman would write such a 'light' story as was presented in the movie. I'd read his 'American Gods' before because it was touted 'as good as Stephen King' or my money back.    It was as good, in my opinion, but that also meant his writing was on the dark side.    When I picked up Stardust I expected something that was more of a YA fantasy read, but it's definitely …
Quick Tip by . June 09, 2010
So much better then the movie
review by . July 23, 2009
When Tristran Thorn is sent on a quest to find a falling star by his ladylove Victoria Forrester, little did he know of the magical adventure that would ensue.    After falling in love with the film, and being acquainted with other Gaiman works over the past year, I had high expectations for this novel. But sadly, I must confess, I actually liked the film better - which was quite a surprise to me. Don't take me wrong, I enjoyed this book immensely, but the film just left out …
review by . November 20, 2008
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Okay, maybe not the kind of Fairy Tale you would read to your very young children, but after delving through horror and dark fantasy, I found Stardust to be a refreshing, childlike break; minus the hangover of feeling like I was exposed to an excess of sugar and cotton candy. After all, Fairy tales used to be a bit brutal in their own right, and taking away all of the blood and violence in order to conform to today's "Politically Correct" standards also takes away from the lesson to be learned. …
review by . July 23, 2008
Tristran Thorn would do absolutely anything to win pretty Victoria Forrester's heart. Even venture across The Wall into mysterious Faerie in search of a fallen star. But once he enters Faerie, mysterious things happen. Tristran knows the location of every place in the land. He meets a strange, small man who gives him a candle that allows him to travel great distances. And when he finally finds the fallen star, Tristran discovers that it is not a lump of rock like he thought, but a young woman, who …
About the reviewer
Elaine Lovitt ()
Ranked #171
I'm a retired geek whose goal is to move to Discworld and apprentice myself to Granny Weatherwax. I have degrees in Astronomy and Computer Science, but was seduced by the Dark Side a few years before … more
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About this book


Stardust (1998) is the first solo prose novel by Neil Gaiman. It is usually published as a novel with illustrations by Charles Vess. Stardust has a different tone and style from most of Gaiman's prose fiction, being consciously written in the tradition of pre-Tolkien English fantasy, following in the footsteps of authors such as Lord Dunsany and Hope Mirrlees. It is concerned with the adventures of a young man from the village of Wall, which borders the magical land of Faerie.
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Author: Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess
Genre: Fantasy, Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Vertigo, DC Comics, HarperCollins
Date Published: 1998
Format: Novel & Graphic novel
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