Monday, 17 October 2011

Neil Gaiman - Stardust

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman
Pub. year: 1999
Pages: 223
Editor: Vertigo

Summary: Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining...

Although Lyra and I have been blogging together for a while, we never really had the opportunity to read a book at the same time. Now it's finally the case! Let's enjoy this opportunity to see how both of us liked it, and what we have to say about it.

Was the story good?

Lily: Well, how could I say no? It is, after all, a Neil Gaiman's book, and I don't think I ever did—or ever will—find any of his stories bad. They have something very special in them, because in a way I can never say that it's "the best I ever read", even thought I never find it a chore to finish the books. Well here is the same, the story is kind of classic—very fairy tales like, as you guessed already, but with an edge to it, very dark sometimes. It's somehow based on a child story, being about this plain hero rescuing the star and bringing her back to claim his lover's hand, but quite mature in it's content—and I'm telling you, not all characters in this story will remain unharmed. And yes, there are details. Brrr.

Lyra: I agree with the Muffin. I'm never really enthousiastic with Gaiman's books, but I always enjoy them. He has a gift to tale things in a way that no matter what it is, I like it. I'm not a big fan of fairy tales but this one was cute, yet mature and unusual. I've always found it weird and frustrating that princesses fall in love with complete strangers, just because they're princes and about to rescue them. Here, we discover the girl AND the guy, and it feels all more credible and enjoyable.

Were the characters moving?

Lily: Of course, they're not staying still all book long... oops, sorry, you mean touching? That is something else also frequent with Gaiman books: while his characters are always surprising, courageous, strongwilled and so on, they lack some emotional attachment to them. Take for example Tristran... he's a nice guy, brave, becoming along the way a true hero, but that's it. You don't feel for him, as you don't feel for the pretty star, or the bad sorceress, or any other. It's a perfect story to read or to tell to escape the dull everyday life, but it's not the kind to become you favorite book ever.

Lyra: Will you stop saying what I have in mind, please? Like I said, I was glad to get to know each character, but yeah, I wasn't really moved by them. They were enjoyable but sometimes, I thought that they were acting in a way that didn't seems appropriate for what I knew about them (especially Tristran and Una).

So altogether... a must read or not?

Lily : A must read, I don't know. I definitely don't regret reading it, and I would recommend it to Gaiman's or Fantasy fans, but it's not really in my top list. The end is very predictable, not much happens during the story, and not being a big fan of fairy tales probably doesn't help. One thing though, the edition I read illustrated by Charles Vess is most awesome, the drawings fit perfectly the mood and I loved just looking at them. Buy it just for that, you won't regret it! And if you don't know it already, a movie was made in 2007 by Matthew Vaughn, quite different from the original story, but for once... I think I liked it better. Maybe because there were more pirates?

Lyra: (I always knew you were TEAM Pirate :P) I don't have the same edition, and mine wasn't illustrated (that's unfaiiiir), but anyway, I think it's a fine book to read. It's nice, I spent a good time with it, and I'm glad I did. But a must read, maybe not. If you feel like you can appreciate it, if you like fairy tales, if you like Gaiman's books or Fantasy, you should definitely try. If you don't, well, it's up to you. I've never been really disappointed by this author because he damn knows how to tell stories, no matter the subject, so, it can't hurt trying!

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