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Monday, June 2, 2008


Author: Neil Gaiman
Rating: 5/5
Reason for Reading: Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge, Mythopoeic Award Challenge

I was very happy to finally get my hands on this book. I requested it quite a while ago from the library, but when it finally came in, I didn't quite get the library on time to pick it up. I called the library, and pleaded with a librarian to put it back on the hold shelf for me so that I could pick it up. Which she so nicely did for me.

Anyhow. This book is about "a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire" (as the first line informs us). The village of Wall is a perfectly ordinary place, except in the fact it lies next to Faerie.

I'll let Gaiman describe Faerie for you:

A question like "How big is Faerie?" does not admit a simple answer. Faerie, after all, is not one land, one principality or dominion.... Faerie is bigger than England, as it is bigger than the world (for, since the dawn of time, each land that has been forced off the map by explorers and the brave going out and proving it wasn't there has taken refuge in Faerie; so it is now, by the time that we come to write of it, a most huge place indeed, containing every manner of landscape and terrain). Here, truly, be Dragons.

When a young man from Wall named Tristan journeys off in search of a falling star to bring back to the woman he loves, he has no idea of the adventures that await him in Faerie.

He doesn't know about the powerful witch who is in search of the star for her own nefarious purposes or the significance of the broken necklace she carries. He plans to be in and out in no time, which means of course that nothing will go according to plan.

This fairy tale by Neil Gaiman is silly, irreverent and fun. The star that Tristan finds, is, to his surprise, a girl, with a good deal of annoyance for having to fall onto earth. She is further irritated at Tristan for taking her back towards Wall. The story is structured so that we have knowledge about Tristan that he himself doesn't have. It gives the story urgency because we know what dangers Tristan is going to face, even if he doesn't.

Stardust follows fairy tale conventions, but this is Gaiman. His books tend to have a twisted sense of humor, and this book is no exception. Some of the encounters Tristan has with different inhabitants of Faerie were laugh-out-loud funny.

"My name is Tristan Thorn," said Tristan... His breakfast companion had packed up the morning's breakfast - fire, pans and all - and made it vanish into his pack.

He removed his hat, pressed it to his chest, and looked up at Tristan. "Charmed," he said. He tapped the side of his pack: on it was written: CHARMED, ENCHANTED, ENSORCELATED AND CONFUSTICATED. "I used to be confusticated," he confided, "but you know how these things go."

(Okay there's undoubtedly better examples, but that last line cracked me up).

For those of you who haven't read Neil Gaiman yet, this book would make a great introduction. If you already know you like him, then you should definitely read this one. Between American Gods and Anansi Boys, he has become my newest favorite author. I thought I was all done with the Once Upon a Time Challenge, but I was happy to slip this book in.


Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much, and even more glad to hear he has become one of your favourite authors :D I agree that this book would be a great introduction to his work. It's different from his other books, but then again, they're all different from one another, and that's part of the reason why I love him so much.

PS: This post would be great for the Bookworms Carnival :P

joanna said...

It's great to see other people enjoy this book as much as I did! :-)

Anonymous said...

You are the 4th person (that I've read) to say positive things about this book. I have got to find me a copy!

Great review!

Amanda said...

I loved this quirky little fairy tale book. My first Neil Gaiman book was Neverwhere (which I LOVE) and this book didn't disappoint. Great review!

Sam said...

I've just this weekend seen the film and enjoyed it very much and given such a positive review I am now definitely going to have to read the book!

Debi said...

Why haven't I read this book yet?!! I must be an idiot.

Chris said...

Yay! Glad you loved it :) I did too...such a great book. Have you seen the movie yet? They tweaked with the book a little bit, but it's still really good.

Melody said...

This is one of his books that I haven't read it, yet!!! I'm also hoping to watch the DVD soon... And of course we'll never go wrong with Neil Gaiman's books. ;)

Kim L said...

nymeth-don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the bookworms carnival! :-)

joanna-glad to hear you liked it too!

j. Kaye. oldner-yes, you should definitely read it! Its very worthwhile.

amanda-thanks! I want to read Neverwhere as well.

sam-I hope you do! I haven't seen the movie, and I'm debating whether I want to or not after reading the book.

debi-heehee, no you're not an idiot! But now you know to read this one.

Chris-I haven't seen it yet! I want to though. except I don't want it to ruin the experience, so I might wait for a while to see it.

melody-I'm beginning to believe we can't go wrong with Neil Gaiman. He's pretty good,huh?

DesLily said...

I read this book last year.. just in time for the movie release!

I enjoyed both..

Alice Teh said...

I love this book and I'm so glad you like it too. Great review, Kim! Neil Gaiman rules! :D

Kim L said...

deslily-I'm glad to hear you liked the movie. I'm a little hesitant, since I've read some negative reviews. And i liked the book so much, you know?

alice teh-yeah, I'm glad I learned about him from other bloggers. It's been great!

Trish said...

I loved this movie, but I haven't been able to find a used copy of the book (too lazy for the library...eeks). I did pick up a copy of Neverwhere and am looking forward to my first Gaiman read (finally!)

Kim L said...

trish- (gasp) you haven't read Neil Gaiman yet??? Just kidding, I only read a book by him a few months ago, thanks to other book bloggers. Honestly, my library is perfect for lazy people. I can do all my requests online and show up there about once a week to get books.

Rhinoa said...

I am REALLY looking forward to reading this at some point this year. I loved the film and it's the only novel of his (for adults anyway) that I haven't yet read.

Kim L said...

rhinoa-well I'm willing to go out on a limb here and say that you will really like this one then!