All throughout the Once Upon a Time Challenge, I kept seeing Neil Gaiman’s name pop up. I’d read the reviews with interest, and would think it sounded interesting, but I wasn’t really motivated to do anything about it. Then, my younger brother hopped on the Gaiman fanwagon, and Carl added the incentive of a giveaway (though the odds are low that I’ll win anything), and so I checked out Stardust from the library.
I’m not sure you can count me among the hoards of Neil Gaiman’s super fans, but I did find this book charming and sweet. I was charmed from the first pages, with stable Dunstan falling for a faerie. I enjoyed so many elements of the story: the innocence and foolhardiness of Tristran, the crankiness of the fallen star toward him and her plight, the weirdness of the brothers (I was actually rooting for Primus, and so was a bit bummed when he got offed), and, yes, even the sinister witch-queen (though I think I was a bit disappointed by the way her story turned out). I enjoyed the sky-ship, the magical elements of the story, the way nursery rhymes came into play, the way Gaiman uses language.
It’s one of those stories that works just the way it is, but is really hard to define. It’s a fairy tale, but it’s not a typical one. It’s an adventure story, but mostly it’s just Tristran and the star wandering and helping and being helped. It’s a story about kindness and opportunity and, yes, love. I do wish I had read an illustrated copy; they sound beautiful.
I do have to admit that I’m made wary by the movie trailer; it looks like it’ll be fun, but I’m also suspecting that they’re going to play fast and loose with the story. Which would be too bad, since it’s nearly perfect as it is.