I’ve always loved a good fairy tale. When I was a little girl, bedtime stories of castles and fairies, witches and princesses, sparked my imagination and did more to keep me up at night imagining my own adventures than to lull me to sleep as my mother had hoped. Reading Neil Gaiman’s Stardust was like revisiting that part of my childhood, sparking my imagination with this grown-up fairy tale.
One fateful night, in the village of Wall and the land of Faerie, three separate parties witness the falling of a star. Unbeknownst to each other, each sets off on a journey to find the star and claim it as their own: a boy to have his love, two brothers to win a kingdom, and a witch to steal a heart. What follows is a tale of love, deception, adventure and honor filled with mystical characters and magical places. In short, Stardust has everything that a good fairy tale should, enhanced throughout by the bewitching prose for which Gaiman is so well-known.
Stardust is simply a lovely little read. The characters are memorable; the story is well-told; and although it has all the elements of a great fairy tale, it has enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. If you’re just getting into Gaiman, this is a nice place to start. If you’re looking of something of his to try after this, try The Ocean at the End of the Lane; it’s another easy trip into the land of magical realism, but much more ethereal and haunting.
In terms of grown-up fairy tales, I think that this is what Undermajordomo Minor strove to be, but never could. I wonder if any contemporary authors can handle the genre quite as well as Gaiman. Can you think of any? I’d love to check them out and see.
Until then, happy reading!
Little Book Reviews