Tuesday, May 24, 2022

REVIEW: Stardust (book) by Neil Gaiman

Stardust is fantasy. I bought my copy new.


This begins with the story of an ordinary young man who wants to gain his Heart's Desire, spends some time at a mysterious market that only happens every nine years, and ends up accidentally fathering a son with the probably-not-human slave of a witch. 

When that son, Tristran, turns 17, he's head over heels in love with Victoria, the most beautiful girl in his town. She, not realizing he'd take it seriously, sets him an impossible task to win her heart: bring her back the star they both saw fall. And so begins Tristran's journey away from his ordinary village, into a world where witches, unicorns, and magic exist, and where fallen stars take the form of young women. 

Multiple characters' stories end up intertwined: a witch seeking the fallen star so that she can harvest her heart for its power to grant youth; several brothers competing for their late father's throne; and of course Tristran.

I had previously read this book but remembered almost none of it - just that there was a young man traveling with a star who looked like a woman, and that they somehow fell in love. I also recalled not being very impressed by it.

The beginning, with Tristran's father, was long enough that I initially mistook him for the book's protagonist. Thankfully he wasn't, although Tristran didn't appeal to me much more than his father did. Okay, so he was 17 and nursing his first big crush, but knowing that didn't make him less annoying. Besides, I had trouble remembering his age - he came across as a sort of generic "young and naive." I outright flinched when he found the fallen star and just sort of accepted that he'd have to chain her in order to bring her back to Victoria. He wasn't malicious so much as stupid, as evidenced by a later event involving the chain, but I definitely felt sympathy for the star for having to deal with him, and their eventual feelings for each other never rang true for me.

I suppose feelings were never really the point - this was basically a fairy tale, and I did at least admire the way Gaiman wove all the various characters' stories together so neatly. It was a decent enough read, but it never engaged me enough to feel like a great one. It was just...okay.

No comments:

Post a Comment