Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book: Stardust

Neil Gaiman, where have you been all my life? (your books, I mean)

Just finished Stardust. This took me much longer to read than it should have -- it could have been read in one sitting, or one weekend. However, I've been putzing along, just reading a chapter or two before falling asleep.

What a charming story. I absolutely loved this slightly fractured fairy tale, with the grumpy fallen star, and the slightly dunderheaded Tristan, and the magical bird, and the silvery chains, and the Market, and the pirate ship in the sky... it was so lovely.

Told with much sly humor, a few different storylines all weaving together, and such brilliant imagery that I don't even have to see the movie (although I will, because it's sitting on my table right now, thanks to Netflix).

Basically: Tristan, a young man of slightly mysterious birth, falls in love with the haughty Victoria. One night, they see a falling star. She says that if he brings the star to her, then she will give him whatever he wants (a kiss, her hand in marriage, etc.). Since their little town, Wall, is right on the border of Faery, he bounds off into an incredible adventure where many surprising and charming things happen.

What I really enjoyed, and maybe it's just my slightly fragile (detoxing) state right now, is that nothing really all that bad happens. Well, except to the unicorn. Why do they always do bad things to the unicorn? Once the unicorn appeared in the story, I just prayed that nothing bad would happen to it. I knew something would. Why? Why?!? It's like when I was reading that King Arthur book (whose name escapes me right now, being somewhat dunderheaded myself at the moment), and the horrible unicorn part happened (with Morgause's children) -- I pretty much just skimmed over it. I couldn't bear it. Same with this. I just barely read those two pages because I just couldn't believe it. Not that sweet unicorn! Augh.

Anyway. Other than the unicorn, nothing too terrible happens. Sure, some people die, but it's nothing traumatic. Everybody who deserves to be happy, ends up happy in the end. I liked the happy ending very much.

I loved, loved, loved the grumpy star, Yvaine. She was so uppity and cranky, I just loved it. I want to be her friend.

This is a fairy tale that fits nicely into the bookshelf in my mind along with all the other legions of fairy tales I have ever read. Have I mentioned how much I love fairy tales? I do. It's nice to find a grown-up one that isn't too dark, isn't trying too hard to be anything but what it is: a smart, charming tale of learning to trust -- yourself and others. Maybe it's about other things too, but that's what I got from it. I love dark books, but it was refreshing to read something that could have veered into gratuitous darkness and didn't.

The love affair with Neil Gaiman books continues. Next on the list, and one I'm very excited to read, is American Gods. I may even have to reread Coraline... I don't know where my copy is but I'm sure my library has it. I am going to be very sad when my short stack of Gaiman novels comes to an end. This is the problem with falling in love with an author -- I get on a roll, and then I am all out of their books, and then I am bereft. I wonder if anyone has all the Sandman graphic novels to lend? I would need the entire set, you see...

1 comment:

Nymeth said...

"Neil Gaiman, where have you been all my life?"

I asked myself the same when I first discovered him :) I'm glad you enjoyed this one, and I look forward to your thoughts on American Gods!