Did you know, when your partner suddenly starts reading books by an author you have loved and read in the past it makes you remember you have more books by said author lying unread on your shelf. It also gives you a boot up the bum to read them as you know they will be worth every minute. That said, when they are as short but fantastic as Stardust, you regret the fact you haven’t read them before quite quickly.
I have had Stardust sat unloved for a number of years now. I think I remember buying it shortly after watching the movie and not wanting to read it because I had just watched the movie.
Thankfully I have not seen the movie for at least 10 years, giving myself plenty of time to forget the actors and what they looked like. Giving me enough time to make up my mind about the story all over again. I’m so glad I waited, as I know now looking back that there was not a single actor in my mind as the characters in this book brought themselves to life in front on my very eyes.
As I read I started to recall a bit of the story from the film. But not enough to spoil it for me. There was vague recollections of the overall ending but as I couldn’t remember how the characters got there I could enjoy their journeys much more.
The writing, in true Gaiman style, is a little lengthy in places. Where there could be 4 words said there are often more. But that doesn’t bother me because in his writing I always hear his voice and those extra words help so much with the world building.
Stardust is a fantasy novel, but it is also a romance novel. The main character sets off on an adventure to meet the whims of his ‘true love’ and on the way meets all kinds of weird and wonderful characters. There’s magic around every corner and a faerie world to explore. And explore you do. With Tristan at your side you follow him and a number of other main characters on their quests. It was fun and exciting, especially as they came across one another. I found the setting magical and I think my favourite part had to be when Tristan boarded the Free Ship Perdita. I loved even minute of his journey on that ship.
I think Stardust is a fantastic introduction to Neil Gaiman’s work for a young adult audience. A lot of his adult works can be imposing due to their size but Stardust is just 195 pages and a fantasy love story at its best. I will be reading An Ocean at the End of the Lane soon and I am keen to see where that compares. I love that Neil Gaiman has such a diverse set of books though and despite this you can always tell they were written by him. It makes them comforting in a way that I’ve never discovered with any other author.
Stardust was published in 1999 by Headline. My copy was purchased in 2012. All thoughts portrayed in this review are my own.