Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Finished: "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman

Finished: Stardust by Neil Gaiman, 0380804557 (pbk), 2000

A good book. I must have reserved this book after reading Gaiman's comic book novels earlier. Stardust is a fantasy novel and definitely not something I'd usually read. Gaiman's author notes mention the Victorian Era fascination with fairies and that must be where the story started out.

Set in about 1850, Stardust begins in the rural English village of Wall. Wall is named after the huge granite wall that runs through the middle of a pasture outside of town. There is one passage through the wall and the passage is guarded day and night by men from the village who deny access to everyone who wants to pass through to the pasture and woods beyond. The wall separates the rest of the world from a fairy world on the other side. The passage is opened once every nine years for a fairy festival on the other side of the wall where fairy vendors sell all sorts of "magical" stuff.

Main character Tristan is born after his father screws an elf, or something, at the fair and he is then deposited nine months later at the passage with a note naming his dad. 18 years later Tristan passes through the wall to find a falling star after the girl he is smitten with promises him anything he desires if Tristan returns the star to her. Since Tristan was born on the other side of the wall his father convinces the guards to let him through.

Gaiman adds in conversational bits and characteristics that do not fit into the fantasy novels and stories I have read before, which is good. Some of the characteristics seem anachronistic but are a nice touch. Stardust is a solid story but not a homerun like some of Gaiman's other stories like Coraline.

No comments: