Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

Stardust is the first novel by Neil Gaiman that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. The first thing that I thought at the end was “Oh I wish I could write something like that and have that kind of imagination”. Because his style is what I would like to have in my writing. A mix of old fairytales and modern fantasy told with irony. Beautifully yet simply written.
The basic idea is charming: that in the realm of Faerie, when a star falls, it falls in the form of a woman, who shines in the night and never sleeps. And if a romantic hero in love foolishly promises to bring a fallen star back to his beloved, he can actually find the star and decide to bring her back to his world. But our young hero, who’s name is Tristran Thorn, is not the only one that wants to capture the star. There’s a witch who wants to stay young forever, and there’s a bunch of ruthless brothers who’d do anything to become the next king. The three story-lines melt together perfectly and at the end everything ties up nicely, like in every proper fairytale.

I’ve seen the movie first and really enjoyed it. But that meant that I kept comparing the two. They are very different and for once I appreciated them both, but it’s true that the movie lets the romance between Tristran and the fallen star Yvaine stand out much more. In the book it sorts of happen at the end, almost suddenly, even if you can see it coming. The film made it into a Hollywood love story, with sparkles and passion. I can’t say what I would have thought if I hadn’t seen the film first, but I missed that part in the book. Other than that, I didn’t feel like the movie spoiled the book for me. I was expecting the grand final scene with the witch trying to kill Yvaine, and I was surprised to find out it’s not there. It was different, but still brilliant.
Gaiman’s style alone makes the reading of the book worth it. And I was happy to find some bits that where taken out of the movie, like the “Tori Amos” scene or the encounter with the little hairy man in the forest. It felt so right in the book because it immediately tells you that Tristran is in another world now. He’s in Faerie.

With Stardust Neil Gaiman had definitely won me over and I’m sure I'm going to be a huge fan as soon as I’ve finished reading all his books. I have no doubt about it.

other blog reviews
Stephanie's confessions of a book-a-holic
Becky's Book reviews
Trish's reading nook
Josette's Book reviews


Melody said...

Glad you enjoyed this book! Neil Gaiman is a talented author; all of his books are so good and different! I haven't watched or read this yet, but I know I'd do them both in the near future!

Bunny B said...

I've never read any of Neil Gaiman's books, but I did enjoy the movie :)

Ana S. said...

I know just what you mean about the book making you wish you had written it!

One of the things why the movie did not quite live up to the book for me was the different ending. I mean, I understand why they changed it, and why the book's ending wouldn't work in the movie, but oh, how I love the ending of the book. If fits the story perfectly in my opinion, and I tear up every time I read it (and I've been known to take the book from the shelf just to read that last paragraph).

valentina said...

melody, make sure you read it soon, it's a real treat:)

bunny, I'm only starting to know Neil gaiman now, but I would recommend him to anyone. read it!

Nymeth, I know exactly what you mean. Hollywood wants a happily ever after kind of ending, while Gaiman's is bittersweet. In a way I liked both, but maybe because I watched the movie first.

Carl V. Anderson said...

the first thing that I thought at the end was “Oh I wish I could write something like that and have that kind of imagination”"

You are not alone there! :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. The film was okay, but after watching it a couple times I ultimately began having more and more problems with it because I love the story so much. I don't mind the witch fight in the film, it needed some kind of climax, but I thought the ending in the book was much more sweetly sad and I enjoyed it, and the melancholy book ending, much, much more.

Glad you're a fan and can't wait to see what you think of his other books. Try Neverwhere next, it is amazing!

Becky said...

I recently discovered this book myself. I reviewed it last Sunday in fact. :) I'm glad you enjoyed. I just loved this one.

valentina said...

carl, I think I'm going to re-read this one day, maybe in few years, without thinking about the movie and I'm sure my mind would be more open to appreciate the spirit of the book,without comparisons. But I still thought the movie was quite fun!

becky, I didn't see your review! *running to becky's blog*...

Josette said...

I really enjoyed watching the movie. It's one of my favourites! Now that I've read the book, I was kind of disappointed at how different it was from the movie. But then, it can't totally the same, can it?

I agree that Gaiman's writing style is beautiful and I was really into the story. Wonderful plot. If only Captain Shakespeare's in the book! He'd definitely be my favourite character.

Anyway, here's my Stardust review. :)

Anonymous said...

Have you read the original version of Stardust? The one with the wonderfull illustations of Charles Vess? The original book was thought for being an adult fairytale...Look for it, it's gorgeous :)