What a delightful book. As often as I quote Neil Gaiman, and as enchanted as I am by him, this is admittedly the first book I’ve read by him – and what a treat it was. Stardust is a true fairy tale, as memorable and captivating as Sleeping Beauty or The Princess Bride. There are fairies and magic, talking animals and humans imbued with mystical powers; it has everything a lasting, unforgettable fairy tale should. The icing on the cake is Gaiman’s use of adult themes (and language), elevating this from a children’s story to a classic adult fantasy novel.
This quote, describing the moment a star fell from the sky, perfectly captures the playful beauty of his story-telling.
First the light in the sky was no bigger than the moon, then it seemed larger, infinitely larger, and the whole grove trembled and quivered and every creature held its breath and the fireflies glowed brighter than they had ever glowed in their lives, each one convinced that this at last was love, but to no avail…
There was a cracking sound, sharp as a shot, and the light that had filled the grove was gone. Or almost gone. There was a dim glow pulsing from the middle of the hazel thicket, as if a tiny cloud of stars were glimmering there.
And there was a voice, a high clear, female voice, which said, “Ow,” and then, very quietly, it said “Fuck,” and then it said “Ow,” once more.
And then it said nothing at all, and there was silence in the glade.
Stardust is an uncomplicated, lyrically rich story. It won’t take long to read it, but every page is full of colorful characters and achingly beautiful imagery. Read it, then give it away; this book is a gift to be shared.
Next on my list for Gaiman is American Gods.