Friday, June 29, 2007
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Monday, May 21, 2007
Bonus - Once Upon a Time Challenge
This is my very first Neil Gaiman book so many thanks to Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for offering some great drawing prizes to those who read Gaiman's books. "Neverwhere" has bene on my list for months, but the library didn't have it. I'm so glad that I gave Stardust a try. It is a beautiful fairy tale with just the right amount of the needed fairy tale elements: good hero, wicked witch, enchantments, magic, etc., but with a twist. Tristran Thorn is the hero, but not the typically handsome, overwhelmingly charismatic hero. In fact, he's quite shy. But he falls in love and makes a promise to retrieve a fallen star for his lady love and the tale falls in place from there. The fallen star has turned into a girl, Yvaine, who is a deliciously angry character. The witch is truly evil, cunning and ruthless. I really enjoyed the family of seven brothers who make up the ruling family for the land of Faerie. We first meet them at their father's deathbed, three living and four spirits who were each murdered by their brothers. The last male of the family living becomes the new ruler. Gaiman's descriptions are fantastic, so beautifully scripted and evocative. Here's a couple of the many wonderful passages:
"Still, he was alive, and the wind was in his hiar, and the cloud was scudding through the sky like a galleon at full sail. Looking out over the world from above, he could never remember feeling so alive as he did at that moment. There was a skyness to the sky and a nowness to the world that he had never seen or felt or realized before."
Don't you love the words "skyness" and "nowness." And sailing on a cloud (sigh).
"Tristran heard something he had never heard before: a beautiful melody, plangent and strange. It filled his head with visions, and filled his heart with awe and delight. The music made him think of spaces without limits, or huge crystalline spehres which revolved with unutterable slowness through the vasty halls of the air. The melody transported him, took him beyond himself."
The story doesn't have your typical fairy tale ending but it still very satisfying, bittersweet and beautiful. I can't wait to see the movie in August. My biggest regret is that I didn't get to read an illustrated version, but I will probably buy one because it sounds like a absolute must for my library.
Posted by Framed at 6:35 PM
I liked Stardust better than Neverwhere, but both are good. Yes, skyness and newness are wonderful words.
5/21/2007 8:29 PM
I'm hoping to read Stardust, soon, so I'm skipping over your review but I'm thrilled to see you liked it. I've seen nothing but positive reviews (hence, the itch to read it ASAP!).
5/21/2007 8:37 PM
Do get the illustrated version. It's definitely worth it.And the ending is one of my very favourite things about the book.I'm glad to see you liked it!
5/22/2007 2:28 AM
I saw the preview for the movie and didn't pick up on it that this was the same book. The movie looks really good. We may have to go see that together, but maybe I'll read the book first.
5/22/2007 8:47 AM
Gaiman is such a talented writer. He never fails to evoke just the right mood or description. I'm so glad he is very young and will be writing for many, many years to come. So glad you liked this one.
5/22/2007 11:18 AM
Oh....I want to read this one too!! American Gods was my first Gaiman (which I read a few months ago) And the wonderful Carl suggested Anansi Boys for a folklore book. What a wonderful book it was!! I saw the illustrated version of this at Barnes & Noble last week. I may just have to go back!
5/22/2007 11:33 AM
Booklogged, I'm thinking "Neverwhere" for a RIP challenge if the library gets it in.Bookfool, I can't wait to see how you like it.Nymeth and Stephanie, the artwork I've seen is so gorgeous. I don't see how I can pass it up. Except it is kind of pricey for me.Cassie, definitely read the book first. I saw the preview for the movie right after I finished the book and I can't wait to see it.Kookiejar, In my mind, I pictured Gaiman as older until I saw his picture on the jacket. That's just from reading blogs. But his picture matches his books.
5/23/2007 7:45 PM
Literary Feline said...
Stardust sounds like a great book. It was a group read in a group I belonged to a few years ago, but I wasn't able to get to it then. I still haven't managed to read it, but I hope to, especially now that I've had the opportunity to sample some of Gaiman's work. Thanks for the great review!
5/23/2007 8:52 PM
I sent this book to Booklogged (whom I believe is your sister?) for a Buy A Friend A Book prize. I almost wish I would've read it myself first, so I'd know all about what everyone else is reading! :)
5/27/2007 5:37 PM
Haven't yet read anything by Neil Gaiman, might be the only reader on earth that hasn't. I have two of his other books on my reading list, need to add this one. Saw the movie trailer and looks good, but I think I want to read the book first, better get on it.
5/29/2007 10:38 AM
Carl V. said...
Yay!!! Neil Gaiman!!! I am so glad you enjoyed this and hope you read many more of his books. Stardust is wonderfully magical and showcases just how special a relationship Neil has with words. I love it, glad you did as well.