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Stardust by Neil Gaiman
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Stardust (original 1998; edition 2005)

by Neil Gaiman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,240401123 (4.03)653
Member:AdonisGuilfoyle
Title:Stardust
Authors:Neil Gaiman
Info:Headline Review (2005), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Read in 2013 (inactive), Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Kindle, 2013

Work details

Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1998)

  1. 370
    The Princess Bride by William Goldman (norabelle414, Morteana)
    norabelle414: Both are hilarious, imaginative fairy tales.
  2. 132
    The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (aslikeanarnian, MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For, "There is no immortality but a tree's love."
  3. 121
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (aarti, Jannes)
    Jannes: Gaiman might be inspired by Dunsany and Mirrlees while Valente leans slightly more toward Carroll and Baum, but both of them are modern authors tackling the classic fairytale, both are great stylists, and both books are highly enjoyable.
  4. 101
    The king of Elfland's daughter by Lord Dunsany (ghilbrae, Haltiamieli, wisemetis)
    Haltiamieli: "Perhaps this book should come with a warning: it is not a reassuring, by-the-numbers fantasy novel, like most of the books with elves, princes, trolls, and unicorns 'between their covers.' This is the real thing." – Neil Gaiman
  5. 81
    Lud-in-the-mist by Hope Mirrlees (twilightnocturne, moonstormer, isabelx)
    isabelx: Villages on the borders of Faerie.
  6. 70
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (flissp)
  7. 93
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (GreenVelvet, GreenVelvet, GreenVelvet)
    GreenVelvet: Both Stardust and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell are detailed, well-written and riveting explorations of the world of fairie.
  8. 51
    The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (Medicinos)
  9. 107
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (keristars)
    keristars: Though Alice is less of a traditional fairy tale type than Stardust, it shares a style and many narrative and plot elements.
  10. 31
    Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones (infiniteletters)
  11. 21
    Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham (WildMaggie)
    WildMaggie: Stardust is not as dark, but these book share a similar feel and tone.
  12. 00
    Song in the Silence by Elizabeth Kerner (infiniteletters)
  13. 00
    The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For stories both darker and lighter than they appear; for original works that feel like a fairy tale.
  14. 00
    Sparrowdance by Anne Lewis (TeaWren)
    TeaWren: Quite different really, but along similar general lines. There's a quest, and fairy tales aren't quite what they seem, and it's funny and sad and rather clever.
  15. 00
    Enchantment by Orson Scott Card (VictoriaPL)
  16. 23
    Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (norabelle414)
  17. 02
    Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (quigui)
  18. 712
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (Medicinos)
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» See also 653 mentions

English (384)  Spanish (4)  French (4)  Finnish (3)  Swedish (3)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (402)
Showing 1-5 of 384 (next | show all)
Stardust is the perfect example of why I shouldn't read a book if I've already seen the movie. Unlike the case of [b:The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy|11|The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)|Douglas Adams|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327656754s/11.jpg|3078186], my gripe with Stardust is that the movie was such a good adaptation of the book (I won't say perfect because it's been a while since I've watched it and there were some things that they changed/added, but I digress), that reading the story just became tedious to me. I already knew what was going on and the 'twist' that makes you go, "oh no!" right about the end, and that took away from the enjoyment I bet people who read this book for the first time get to experience.

However! That doesn't make this book any less magical. The world building is fantastic (literally!) and the author drops you in headfirst without any kind of explanation whatsoever because it's not about the cat-eared fays, the human-shaped stars, the witches or the lightning collectors. And it isn't just a love story, either; I believe it's a story about growing up and going on adventures and finding yourself and knowing that there's more to the world and life than what surrounds us, and [a: Neil Gaiman|1221698|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1234150163p2/1221698.jpg] does a good job at conveying that.

It's an enjoyable, feel-good read regardless of whether you've already seen the movie or not (though if you haven't, you should because it's hilarious and delightful and also Robert De Niro is in it being awesome) and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fairy tales and happily ever afters. ( )
  joiedeslivres | Apr 12, 2016 |
This is a great little Neil Gaiman book. If I was introducing Gaiman to a young reader – regardless of age – then this is one that I would steer them toward. It has all the elements one would expect from one of his novels: a little magic, some real world, a lot of good fantasy stuff and, well, a little stardust.

Tristran Thorn lives in one of those typical English villages that are often described: a pub, some shops, some farms and gap in the stone wall between the village and Faerie. No one passes through the gap except once a year when a fair is held. All manner of the wild and fantastic comes to town for the villagers to see and purchase.

Tristran is a bit of a mystery man himself having been left in a cradle with a note at the gap in the wall. When he is old enough, during his wooing of Victoria, he sets off to Faerie on an adventure to bring her back a fallen star.

All manner of adventures befall him in his hero quest. And it is a great hero quest which is important to making it a great fantasy read. The world of Faerie is exceptionally well described and it is easy for a reader to imagine exactly the ideas that the author is conveying. At one point in the story I remember thinking that it all reminded me somewhat of the adventures of Mr. Toad and the world of Toad Hall.

There are lots of happenings on the quest and I won't go into them so that they don't get spoilt for readers. I can tell you that there is a happily ever after but perhaps not one that readers will see coming. There were certainly a few twists toward the end that kept the ending just out of sight around the bend.

There are the usual collection of the good, the bad and the simply mad which is what most people want in a fantasy story. It is all there and told so well. The book is not long – quick readers will have devoured it in a day. Fortunately, for readers who are just discovering Neil Gaiman, there are lots of choices in his catalog so if you like this one, grab a few on your second go round the bookstore. And don't forget to check out his graphic novel series “Sandman”.

I was introduced to Neil Gaiman by a great friend and fellow traveler and I haven't been disappointed yet. Another 5 star read. ( )
  ozzieslim | Apr 6, 2016 |

Originally posted here

The story in Stardust is very strange. Tristran Thorn sets off through a gap in a wall to the land of faerie, to obtain a fallen star in which to impress his crush with the hopes that she will marry him. There is a lot of adventure, mythical creatures, witches and murder. Tristran is unlikeable at times and I felt like the side characters had a lot more interest and substance to them.

At its heart, this is a dark fairy-tale written for adults but the ending is very anti-climatic and felt weak. I loved how all the different threads of the story converged, I really liked the gore, and the strangeness of the faerie world. The ending though, I was left feeling so underwhelmed and in fact, the latter half of the book felt rushed. There was a certain death that I felt really upset by and absolutely hated!

All in all, Stardust was full of lots of tantalising detail that was never expanded upon and the ending felt rushed and anti-climatic. I really enjoyed the dark and adult nature of the story though - some of the characters really leaped off of the page. I hate to say this but, I strongly preferred the movie version. ( )
  4everfanatical | Mar 14, 2016 |
Easily my favourite of the Gaiman I've read so far - I think his style works much better when he's not trying to be overly pretentious and involve too much philosophising in his work. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Stardust begins in a small English town named Wall, located a night's drive away from London. Wall is named after an old rock wall to its east, in which there is a small opening leading to a forest. This opening is a portal to the magical world of Faerie. It is carefully guarded by two watchmen at all times, except once every nine years on May Day, when a market comes to the meadow just past the wall.

Faerie, a world also featured in many of Gaiman's other works, such as The Sandman and The Books of Magic, is composed of "each land that has been forced off the map by explorers and the brave going out and proving it wasn't there", and thus features many mythic creatures and objects. Most of Stardust takes place in Stormhold, a kingdom within Faerie named for the Stormhold, a fortress carved from Mount Huon.

The story begins in late April 1839, as Henry Draper had just photographed the Moon and Charles Dickens was serializing Oliver Twist. The majority of the book takes place seventeen years later, around October 1856.


[edit] Major characters
Tristran Thorn: The book's main character (renamed "Tristan" in the movie adaptation), a half-Faerie creature raised by his father and stepmother. Tristran foolishly promises to retrieve a fallen star for his sweetheart, Victoria (see below), and so unexpectedly finds the beautiful Yvaine.
Yvaine: A fallen star, which Tristran vows to find and bring to Victoria Forester. In Faerie, stars are living creatures. Yvaine appears to be immortal, but not invulnerable. She is pursued by the Lilim and the surviving sons of Stormhold, who want her for their own reasons. When Tristran realizes his love for her and abandons his courtship of Victoria Forester, Yvaine marries him despite their inability to interbreed.
Dunstan Thorn: Tristran's father. Main character in the beginning of the book. He visited the Wall Market to find a gift for his sweetheart Daisy, and ended up fathering Tristran by Madame Semele's abused Slave Girl, Lady Una. Prior to this, he had bought a crystal snowdrop from this girl, and later gives the flower to Tristran.
Victoria Forester: A resident of Wall described as "the most beautiful girl for a hundred miles around". She is the daughter of Bridget Comfrey and Tommy Forester. Although very beautiful, she is somewhat proud and nitwitted. She ultimately marries a man called Monday and thereby unwittingly frees Tristran's mother, Lady Una, from slavery.
The Lord of Stormhold: The eighty-first Lord of Stormhold is an old man who rules Stormhold until his death. At the beginning of Stardust, he has four dead sons (Secundus, Quartus, Quintus, and Sextus) and three living ones (Primus, Tertius, and Septimus), in addition to his long-lost daughter Una. The dead sons appear as ghostly observers, while the living sons plot constantly to kill each other in order to succeed their father as Lord of Stormhold.
Lord Primus
Lord Tertius
Lord Septimus: The youngest and most ruthless of the Lords of Stormhold. He is, by nature, a skilled assassin and has succeeded in murdering the majority of his family.
Lady Una: A cat-eared faerie girl of great beauty who works as a slave for Madame Semele until released by an improbable occurrence that fulfills the conditions of her debt. Lady Una suffers constant abuse at the hands of Madame Semele, being beaten and called a "slattern". When not toiling for the witch-woman, she is kept in the form of a multicoloured bird. She is later revealed to be the Lady Una, the daughter of the Lord of Stormhold and Tristran's birthmother.
Madame Semele/Ditchwater Sal: A witch, and a member of the Sisterhood to which the Lilim belong. The witch-queen knew Semele as Ditchwater Sal when she was "a young chit of a thing". On their first encounter, Semele drugs the witch-queen's food with a magical substance that causes her to speak only the truth, thus forcing her to blurt out the truth of the fallen star. Semele plots to find the star first and restore her own youth, but the witch-queen curses her so that she will never perceive the star in any way.
The Lilim: Three old women of great power. The eldest of the three is called "the witch-queen", though they are also called by this title collectively. They are never named, as they lost their names long ago, but the eldest adopts the alias "Morwanneg" at one point. The Lilim were once the beautiful queens of a magical kingdom of witches; when it was lost beneath the sea, centuries of age caught up with them. They seek the fallen star because by consuming her heart, they will be granted centuries of youth and beauty. Using magic counteracts the effect; therefore with each spell cast by the witch-queen, she grows older and uglier.

[edit] Synopsis
Dunstan Thorn attends the fairy market in a nearby meadow, where he seeks a gift for his sweetheart, Daisy. He eventually buys a crystal snowdrop, but becomes unexpectedly infatuated with the slave of the witch who owns the stall and sleeps with her that same night. Dunstan marries Daisy the following June. Several months after their wedding, a basket containing an infant boy is left at the wall, along with a scrap of parchment, on which is written "Tristran Thorn", who is evidently the faerie slave's son by Dunstan. Tristran is raised by his father and stepmother, ignorant of his true heritage. Seventeen years later, Tristran promises to bring the beautiful Victoria Forester a fallen star in exchange for her hand in marriage. She agrees to this, and he crosses the Wall into Faerie to find the star. He there discovers that the star is an anthropomorphic being, who refuses to accompany him to Wall, and that there are others who also covet the star in order to achieve their purposes by her death. Tristran and the star, called Yvaine, travel across Faerie, evading numerous attempts to capture Yvaine and setting off a chain of events which lead to some surprising revelations, and cause Tristran to question whether he really wants what he set out to achieve. At the end of the book, he finds himself forsaken by Victoria and instead chooses to marry Yvaine, with whom he had fallen in love on their journey. His heritage, and that of his mother, who is the daughter of the Lord of Stormhold (a Faerie nobleman), are revealed thereafter. After several years of exploring Faerie with his wife, Tristran accepts his inheritance as ruler of Stormhold. Yvaine becomes his queen, and rules the land after his death.

( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 384 (next | show all)
Tristran Thorn is zeventien wanneer hij de wondermooie Victoria Forester, in het Victoriaanse stadje Wall, dat een eigenaardige scheidingsmuur bezit, belooft dat hij haar de vallende ster zal brengen die ze net samen gezien hebben. Thorn klimt de muur over en komt in Elfenland terecht, maar er zijn nog andere wezens die op de gevallen ster azen. De Engelse fantasyschrijver Neil Gaiman schreef eerder onder andere 'American Gods' en 'Coraline'. 'Ster' heeft alles van een ouderwets sprookje, zowel de goede dingen - fantasierijke verhaalwendingen, fabelachtige wezens, nobele gevoelens - als de slechte - kinderlijke stijl, verregaande vereenvoudiging van personages, effectbejag - en bekoort uiteindelijk door het ontwapenend gebrek aan literair cynisme. Voor lezers van sprookjesverhalen die zich niet storen aan een gebrek aan literaire kwaliteit.
added by Liyanna | editBiblion, B. van Laerhoven
 
While the bones of the story (the hero, the quest, the maiden) are traditional, Gaiman offers a tale that is fresh and original. Though the plot begins with disparate threads, by the end they are all tied together and the picture is complete. The resolution is satisfying and complex, proving that there is more to fairy tales than "happily ever after."
added by Shortride | editSchool Library Journal, Susan Salpini
 
This is a refreshingly creative story with appealing characters that manages to put a new twist on traditional fairy-tale themes.
added by Shortride | editLibrary Journal, Laurel Bliss
 
Gaiman gently borrows from many fine fantasists--for starters, from Andersen, Tolkien, Macdonald, and, for the framing device, Christina Rossetti in her "Goblin Market" --but produces something sparkling, fresh, and charming, if not exactly new under the sun. Superb.
added by Shortride | editBooklist, Ray Olson
 
a comic romance, reminiscent of James Thurber's fables, in which even throwaway minutiae radiate good-natured inventiveness. There are dozens of fantasy writers around reshaping traditional stories, but none with anything like Gaiman's distinctive wit, warmth, and narrative energy. Wonderful stuff, for kids of all ages.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, Neilprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vess, CharlesIllustratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartocci, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gwynn, BethAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hunt, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivimäki, MikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pék, ZoltánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spångberg, YlvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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Epigraph
Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.
- John Donne, 1572-1631
Dedication
For Gene and Rosemary Wolfe
First words
There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.
There was once a young man who wished to win his Heart's Desire.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The illustrated and unillustrated versions of Stardust are, in fact, substantially the same text. The most notable differences are that some single paragraphs in the illustrated version are separated into two or three in the unillustrated version.

The only reason to consider the two versions to be separate works (though it is not a bad one) is that Charles Vess's many illustrations are a substantial part of the original version.
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Blurbers
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061142026, Paperback)

Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love. His adventures in the magical land will keep you turning pages as fast as you can--he and the star escape evil old witches, deadly clutching trees, goblin press-gangs, and the scheming sons of the dead Lord of Stormhold. The story is by turns thrillingly scary and very funny. You'll love goofy, earnest Tristran and the talking animals, gnomes, magic trees, and other irresistible denizens of Faerie that he encounters in his travels. Stardust is a perfect read-aloud book, a brand-new fairy tale you'll want to share with a kid, or maybe hoard for yourself. (If you read it to kids, watch out for a couple of spicy sex bits and one epithet.) --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:44 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In the quiet English hamlet of Wall, Tristran Thorn embarks on a remarkable journey through the world of Faerie to recover a fallen star for his lover, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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