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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering Stardust
Fairy tales tend to lose their sparkle when they're made into books for adults.

But Neil Gaiman creates his own sparkling fairy tale in "Stardust," an entrancing fantasy tale that never loses its magic. With beautiful prose, likable characters, and a mesh of the grotesque and the ethereal, this is Gaiman's reworking of fairy tales -- with a slight wink to the...
Published on June 15 2007 by E. A Solinas

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Skip the novel, get the "comic" collection
The three stars is specifically for the novel edition. The story deserves four; while not perfect, it is an excellent story in traditional Victorian style. Gaiman's characters are familiar - we've met some of them, the rest we wish we could meet. The story is well-rooted in folklore, and has some fine vivid moments.
So I don't know why Neil decided (After having...
Published on Sept. 4 2000 by Lenora Heikkinen


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering Stardust, June 15 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
Fairy tales tend to lose their sparkle when they're made into books for adults.

But Neil Gaiman creates his own sparkling fairy tale in "Stardust," an entrancing fantasy tale that never loses its magic. With beautiful prose, likable characters, and a mesh of the grotesque and the ethereal, this is Gaiman's reworking of fairy tales -- with a slight wink to the readers.

Years ago, Dunstan Thorn fell in love with a beautiful slave from across the Wall. Nine months later, he got a baby boy on his doorstep. His son Tristan grows up unaware of his heritage, and longs for the beautiful, frosty Victoria Forester. When she rejects him, he makes a rash promise -- he'll pursue a fallen star over the Wall and bring it back to her, if she gives him her hand.

But when he finds the star, he learns that it is a beautiful young girl, a daughter of the moon named Yvaine. The dying Lord of Stormheld threw a gem to the distance and accidently knocked her from the sky. Now his sons are trying to get the gem back, since the one who gets the gem will be the next Lord. What is more, an ancient witch is pursuing the star, determined to cut out her heart so she and her sisters can be young again. To protect the lovely star, Tristan is called on to be a hero, and to learn who he really is...

Few fantasy stories are as well-done as "Stardust." Gaiman mixes humor, romance, grisly realism and airy-fairiness in a tight little plot. It only really picks up two-thirds of the way into the book, but what a trip it is. It slides rather than explodes to a conclusion, where everything slips into place and all the loose ends are neatly tied together, in a way that makes perfect sense.

His writing is a mix of beautiful details and fast-moving plot. Gaiman frequently pauses to describe the creepy Stormhelm, where murdered ghosts watch their brothers compete, to the beautiful forests of Faerie where little sprites mock people. Some scenes -- like a unicorn's skewering a witch -- are breathtakingly vivid.

Everybody loves an everyman hero, and despite his mystery background, Tristan definitely qualifies. He's a little goofy and a lot clueless, but his earnestness makes him likable. Yvaine is a bit off-kilter in a good way, sharp-tongued and a little naive, but a good match for Tristan. And supporting characters like the evil Septimus and youth-hungry witch are solidly written; even Victoria is shown in a new light.

The beautiful adult fairy-tale "Stardust" is an entrancing read, wonderfully written and full of intriguing characters. An outstanding, timeless story, and sure to enchant fantasy readers. (Yes, even the ones who don't like unicorns)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once you have seen the movie should you read the book? You bet., Aug. 22 2007
By 
Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I would be one of those people who checked out Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' "Stardust: Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie" because they really enjoyed the movie "Stardust." When I went to my local comic book store to pick up this week's comics I notice they had this elegant hardback edition of "Stardust," which I took to be a sign that I should pick it up instead of trying to track down all of the issues on eBay. So each night since seeing the movie I have been reading a couple of chapters of the book before turning out the lights, because it seemed the sort of thing that should be read in bed (actually, it seems like it should be read to somebody, but then the narrative flow of Gaiman's text would be broken up every time you had to show the person who was being read to the illustrations by Vess).

One of the nice things about reading the book after seeing the movie, instead of the other way around, is that instead of bemoaning what has been altered, added or deleted you get to enjoy seeing the entire world of Faerie envisioned by Gaiman and illustrated by Vess. As soon as you start reading Chapter 1, "In Which We Learn of the Village of Wall, and of the Curious Thing That Occurs There Every Nine Years," you are aware of the differences, because Dunstan Thorn does not have to sneak past the two guards (not one) that guard the gap in the wall in order to meet the personal slave of the witch-woman who owns the stall where flowers are sold. So there are myriad differences between the book and the movie revealed in each and every chapter.

In fact, many of the things that I liked most about the movie are not in the book. That is not to say or even to suggest that this is a bad thing, because movies and illustrated novels (which is what this book is and not a comic book) have decidedly different approaches when it comes to what is visually important. The big moment in the movie was exactly what I wanted to be (indeed, I had turned to my wife and whispered that I wondered what would happen if the fallen star got really, really happy), and what happens in the original story is radically different but equally appropriate to the path that Gaiman and Vess had stacked out for their characters.

The inevitable question would be which is better, the novel or the movie, but everybody knows what the answer to that question usually is in such cases. However, what is important is that those who enjoy one should be able to enjoy the other. If you have seen the movie and liked it, then you should check out the book. If you have read the book, or the original comic books, then you should go see the movie. There will be those who will be disappointed by one given the other, and some will be touched or moved by either, but that is their loss.

My familiarity with Gaiman's work has been pretty spotty. I have only seen a couple of issues of "The Sandman," a couple of years into the telling of the tale, so I could not really appreciate what was going on. But I have read his novel "American Gods" and his alternative history comic book series "Marvel 1602." "Stardust" is different from those other works, but you can get a sense of how this is just another corner of Gaiman's imagination. Equally important are the illustrations by Vess, because they help reinforce the idea that even if it is set during the time of young Queen Victoria in the land across the pond that this is indeed a faerie tale. If anything, both the book and the movie reminds us of what that means.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shimmering Stardust, June 19 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
Fairy tales tend to lose their sparkle when they're made into books for adults.

But Neil Gaiman creates his own sparkling fairy tale in "Stardust," an entrancing fantasy tale that never loses its magic. With beautiful prose, likable characters, and a mesh of the grotesque and the ethereal, this is Gaiman's reworking of fairy tales -- with a slight wink to the readers.

Years ago, Dunstan Thorn fell in love with a beautiful slave from across the Wall. Nine months later, he got a baby boy on his doorstep. His son Tristan grows up unaware of his heritage, and longs for the beautiful, frosty Victoria Forester. When she rejects him, he makes a rash promise -- he'll pursue a fallen star over the Wall and bring it back to her, if she gives him her hand.

But when he finds the star, he learns that it is a beautiful young girl, a daughter of the moon named Yvaine. The dying Lord of Stormheld threw a gem to the distance and accidently knocked her from the sky. Now his sons are trying to get the gem back, since the one who gets the gem will be the next Lord. What is more, an ancient witch is pursuing the star, determined to cut out her heart so she and her sisters can be young again. To protect the lovely star, Tristan is called on to be a hero, and to learn who he really is...

Few fantasy stories are as well-done as "Stardust." Gaiman mixes humor, romance, grisly realism and airy-fairiness in a tight little plot. It only really picks up two-thirds of the way into the book, but what a trip it is. It slides rather than explodes to a conclusion, where everything slips into place and all the loose ends are neatly tied together, in a way that makes perfect sense.

His writing is a mix of beautiful details and fast-moving plot. Gaiman frequently pauses to describe the creepy Stormhelm, where murdered ghosts watch their brothers compete, to the beautiful forests of Faerie where little sprites mock people. Some scenes -- like a unicorn's skewering a witch -- are breathtakingly vivid.

Everybody loves an everyman hero, and despite his mystery background, Tristan definitely qualifies. He's a little goofy and a lot clueless, but his earnestness makes him likable. Yvaine is a bit off-kilter in a good way, sharp-tongued and a little naive, but a good match for Tristan. And supporting characters like the evil Septimus and youth-hungry witch are solidly written; even Victoria is shown in a new light.

The beautiful adult fairy-tale "Stardust" is an entrancing read, wonderfully written and full of intriguing characters. An outstanding, timeless story, and sure to enchant readers. (Yes, even the ones who don't like unicorns)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, Jan. 11 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, strange things begin to 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 has quite the mind of her own.

Tristran, though, isn't the only one looking for the star. The witch queen and a group of three brothers all want something of it. For these brothers, it's the power she possesses. For the witch, it's her heart.

STARDUST was completely entrancing, charming, and a surprisingly quick read. The star's spunk and Tristran's humanity are both to be admired in this adventurous tale that will make you laugh out loud and break into tears. This is one book not to be missed.

Reviewed by: The Compulsive Reader
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fairytale for grownups, May 10 2004
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
Tristan Thorn's journey across the Wall is a beautiful lyrical tale of a young boy who vows to win his love by retrieving a fallen star from across the Wall into the land of Fairie only to find that the journey itself is more important than the object of his affection. Many surprises await him including a dwarfish aide, a flying ship, witches, princes, and unicorns and of course, a damsel in distress. The side plot of the Lord of the Stormhold and Tristan's though initially unrelated, coincide in the manner only the best of fairytales can, by fate, destiny, and love. The ending is a mix of happiness, triumph, and melancholy. Curiousity peaked yet? Good. No other spoilers needed.
To say that "Stardust" is "an outline" or in some way incomplete is to miss the essence of a fairytale. Young hapless human + journey + magical realm + good + evil + happy ending = fairytale. Suffice to say, Neil Gaiman's scores on all accounts in creating a successful tale and adds a bit more complexity for the adult reader. Overall the plot, characters, and world ARE simple. The themes, however, are not: The journey is more important than the goal, the goal one desires in youth is not the same in adulthood, after a life-changing journey, how can one return home, and so on and so forth.
(...). Furthermore, with only one minor scene, it seemed superflous. But don't let that detract you from reading. "Stardust" reads like an oral tale that has just been written down for the first time. It carries the history and weight of a classic. Give it a whirl!
A+
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most heartwarming story I've read in ages, May 5 2004
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
This is the second Neil Gaiman book I've had the pleasure of reading - the first was American Gods. While I found American Gods interesting and quite entertaining, Stardust I found I could not put down until I finished it.
Like American Gods, Stardust would make a great graphic novel (I would be surprised if it has not already been done) or movie. Gaiman is very graphic in his descriptions of situations and although I am no poet by any measure, I felt that there was almost a poetic quality about the whole story - the definitely is a good dose of poetic justice (of sorts)in the story itself.
The story itself is uncomplicated. One, of course, cannot help but liken it to a fairy tale, but I think I would be better classified as a story about every young man's journey into adulthood and all its attendant heartaches, magic and lessons. That it was set in the realm of folklore and legends only makes it all the more interesting. I won't go into the details of the story (many reviewers here have done that already), but I would like to say that I must have cheered aloud when the hero won over the damsel (who was not in so much of distress as he probably was) and in true fairy tale tradition they lived happily thereafter (not ever after, since the story is also quite well grounded in a logic - of sorts).
I would strongly recommend this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An old fashioned Fairy Tale without the PC nonsense, March 24 2004
By 
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
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. IMHO.
This tale is told with a simple exuberance, yet manages to hold up under the scrutiny of all us die hard Neil Gaiman fans, showing us that he has the talent to lead us along gentler slopes of the same deadly peaks and chasms he has taken us to in his other works. His playfulness shows through in Stardust as a novel, the way his chapbooks "Wolves In The Walls" and "The Day I Swapped My Dad For 2 Goldfish" did with his graphic novels.
Tristin Thorn lives in the English town of Wall, right next to, well, the Wall. There is only one way through the Wall, a gap which is constantly guarded by the village folk of Wall; not to keep people from coming in, but to keep the inhabitants of Wall from crossing over into the land of Faerie. Once every nine years there is a huge fair within the field beyond the gap, and only then do the peoples from each of the lands mingle. Tristin is not aware that half of his lineage is from across the Wall, and when the day comes that he watches a falling star with the girl he wishes to marry, and promises to bring her back that very same star, his father Dunstan helps him to cross the gap into Faerie.
Over in Faerie, it is time for the Lord of Stormhold to die, and pass along his Reign to one of his sons. Unable to determine which of his surviving sons is worthy, the old Lord tosses the Power of Stormhold (a topaz set in an amulet) up into the air and tells his sons that whoever finds the amulet will rule after him. This won't be easy for the offspring of the old Lord, for already four of his seven sons were dead, killed off by the living brothers in order to eliminate their claim to Stormhold.
Also in Faerie live the Lilim, three ancient women who have lived on and on for forever, revitalizing their youth by eating the hearts from fallen stars. When the star falls, one of the ancient crones makes herself young again and sets out after the star.
Tristin is helped along in his quest by some, and treated rudely by others, but always manages to get along by determination and, surprisingly, innocence. When he is transported by a magic candle to where the star had fallen, he is shocked to see that the Fallen Star is a girl, and she has a broken leg to boot.
The adventures of Tristin in his journey back to The Wall and the market within the field are magical, fantastical, and sometimes just a tiny bit scary. Though the plot really does have a transparent ending, it still does not take away from the total enjoyment of Tristin's adventures and the predicaments he falls in and out of. All of the main characters coalesce in the ending, but the side characters we meet along the way are just as fleshed out and real to me as Tristin, Yvaine the Star, and Madame Semele with her mysterious bird.
Go ahead and step through the Gap with Tristin, you won't be sorry you tagged along. Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Classic that's not for everyone, Feb. 17 2004
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
In the ever growing genre of Urban Fantasy, _Stardust_ stands out as a rare gem among the cluttered and convulted and all too often poorly done novels of that genre.
But what makes this novel stand out is it's premise and ultimate story and it's story telling that may also be it's partial downfall.
_Stardust_ is about a man named Tristan Thorn living in early-Victorian era England in the village of wall. A village that stands out purely because of it's massive wall that blocks off the village in one direction. In the village of Wall there is a large man sized hole that is guarded day and night. No one is ever let through except every nine years on a special holiday. The reason for this odd schedule? It's belived that the hole in the wall leads to the Fairy World.
When a star falls from the sky on the otherside of the wall, Tristan makes a vow to retrieve that star to win the hand of his beloved and so begins a fairy tale like journey that is riddled with original ideas and old mythologies presented in an original way.
Gaiman's prose is often considered childlike and poetic at the same time. It's written to be told as a new fairy tale and in some sense it is, yet it is this very archaeic approach in a time when more modern methods and sensibilities and morals are praised in fantasy. _Stardust_'s lead character Tristan is an innocent and naiive and sweet youngman with perhaps a predictable destiny and ties to the land beyond the wall and it's inhabitants, yet it is this very characteristic that both endures him to us and makes us sigh quietly with the cliche of it all. One can SEE the "revealtion" towards the end of this book a mile away. As most fairy tales had this same charactertistic it makes the story a well done fairy tale with all that is required of it. But it may not make it enduring to it's more modern minded readers.
_Stardust_ is filled with secondary characters that are introduced in various narratives then later abandonded rather sadly in quick "get 'em out of the way" means, that is perhaps this books only real downfall. With a predictable and happy ending and slightly over extended epilogue and slow prologue this book is sweet fairy tale that stands out in its rariety and also makes it forgettable to some readers.
It's hard for me to give Neil Gaiman a less then perfect review, but this being one of his earliest novels, it's easy to see the clutter of a writer still in the earliest phases of developing his own niche with writing that was more clearly and solidly finished _American Gods_ then it is in this novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Starlust, Dec 8 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
Stardust is a great book. I have never read anything by this author, but I probably will try to find some more of his works now. However, I would not recommend this book to younger people, since there are a couple of well-described love scenes. I don't think that it was his intent for these scenes, that people should be mature and therefore probably for the eleventh grade and up. This book could become a classic later on because of what it is based on. People love well-written love stories. That is why this book will continue to succeed. I am glad that I had the privilege of reading this book. If you like a fantasy love story and you don't mind a twist at the end, then you will really like this book.
First, the book opens up in the village of Wall. Wall is surrounded by different kinds of lands. The land just beyond Wall is called Fairy. This is a mystical land that almost anything is possible such as witches, spells, flying ships fishing for lightning bolts, and unicorns. A man named Dunstan Thorne lives in the village of Wall. Every nine years people from the land of Fairy come to visit the village of Wall to trade with them. This year Dunstan was going to go to the fair. The lat time he went, he was too young to remember. He was in love with a woman in the village of Wall, but when the fair come he made love to a fairy woman who gave birth to a baby later on. The woman left the baby at the village to be discovered by guards that guard the children from going into the dangerous lands of fairy. Dunstan knew it was his, so he naturally took care of the baby boy. He then married his love back in Wall and they said the kid was theirs. They named the boy Tristan Thorne. When he turns seventeen, the fair is going to come around again real soon. He has fallen in love just like his father. The book described the girl to be the most beautiful girl in Wall. Her name was Victoria Forrester. One day he got up the courage to ask her for a kiss and she said no, so he asked her to marry him instead. She said no, but then she saw a star falling. She told him that if he brought that star to her that she would give him his desire. She didn't believe that he would do it, but he went home and said goodbye to his father and was on his way to find this star. Since he was part fairy, he could understand things that took place in Fairy better than people in Wall. When he finds the star though, it is a woman about his age, and not a rock like he had dreamt of. During his trip in the land of Fairy, he is almost killed, rides a unicorn, talks to trees, saves a star from death, and other adventurous things. Things happen at the end of the book, but I don't want to give it away for you. It is very sad and then happy and so on. The only problem with this book is that some of the things in the middle of the book don't make any sense as to why they are in there, but be patient because the end will glue all of the pieces together.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!, Nov. 5 2003
By 
Vivek Tejuja "vivekian" (mumbai, maharashtra, india) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
I picked up Stardust by Neil Gaiman on November 1st 2003 and I completed today - the 6th of November 2003 and it was an amazing read. Light and fluffy in places, but then again I loved it to the word GO!!
What is it about? It's about finding your Heart's Desire and this is exactly what Tristan Thorn sets out to do when his lady love Victoria Forester asks him to get the falling star they see together one night. They all live in a place called The Wall - and beyond it is what is known as the Faerie land - no one ever speaks about it and is forbidden to go there as well. And this is where the star fell...
What I loved about this book is the simplicity in which Mr.Gaiman has expressed his ideas and thoughts. There are times when you want to fling a book across the table and never open it for its sheer complex language - but this one is far beyond that reaction. Its about witches, fairies, about spells, about thrones and the fight for the same, its about destinies and above all - realizing that life isn't always what it seems to be...
It was a heart-warming experience for me reading this one. Thanks Gaiman.
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Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Paperback - Dec 15 2008)
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