By: Neil Gaiman
Lovesick for the cold-hearted and beautiful Victoria Forester, young Tristran Thorn vows to do anything to win her affection-even fetch a falling star. In order to retrieve the star, Tristran must venture into the forbidden land of Faerie which the villagers of Wall are only permitted to enter once every nine years. Beyond the stone barrier that gives the village its name, the boy will learn of magical creatures and the truth in nursery rhymes. Along his adventure, he will even learn the secret of his birth and why he was always seemed to be a little…different.
Like all of Gaiman’s books, this novel had the quirky, magical charm that fans have come to expect from his writing. I’m not sure why it took me so long to notice that he seems to possess an affinity for witches, both good and bad. Maybe this interest stems from Gaiman’s love of fairy tales which often contain witches with strange powers. Maybe he simply enjoys the freedom of creating a magic system that allows powerful women to bend the world to their will. I’m uncertain, but I also enjoy stories with witches and hope that he continues to incorporate them in future works.
Gaiman’s characters, even when only introduced for a brief time, are so well-realized and captivating in each of his stories. In Stardust, the characters all have flaws including pride, greed, and arrogance which give them a greater sense of depth and relatability. Sometimes it’s even difficult to hate characters with questionable motives because Gaiman gives you their perspective also. There is no “big bad” in these stories. There are only circumstances and chance which can work out for the better or worse for any of the characters. The oddness and randomness to Gaiman’s novels are his trademarks, and I appreciate how all of the pieces of Stardust slowly come together to create a narrative that has a purpose and came full circle.
There are quotes from this book and scenes that I am still playing through my head over and over again. This novel is memorable, to say the least, partially because I can see some parallels between Stardust and The Ocean at the End of the Lane which was the first Neil Gaiman book I ever read. It started me on the journey to Gaiman being my favorite author and with good reason. Everything he writes is magic.
In this story, riddles are answered, and hearts are won though not always in the way you expect. Go on the journey with Tristran and the star and learn what it means to lose a heart.
Overall rating: 5