Everybody loves Neil Gaiman, don’t they? At least that’s what I find. Avid readers speak of his brand of offbeat fantasy, both in traditional-type books and graphic novels, in tones of hushed awe and reverence.
It was probably a mistake that the first Gaiman book I picked up was American Gods. This was in my pre-Compulsive-Overreader-blogging days, so I can’t point you to my review of it, but let’s just say it wasn’t my cup o’ tea, so I didn’t rush out to get another Neil Gaiman.
On a Saturday night in the not-too-distant past, though, Jason and I watched the DVD of Stardust, which appealed to us partly because it looked like a fun, quirky fantasy, but mostly because Ricky Gervais had a small role in it. We loved it, and seeing it was based on a Gaiman novel, I decided to hunt down the book and give the man another try.
Unfortunately the only copy I could get from the library was the large-print edition, and I don’t like reading large-print books (Jason says, “I feel like they’re shouting at me!”) Despite that, I enjoyed Stardust, the novel. It’s a quick read, quite similar to the movie in some ways, though you can see where they took liberties with the story to make the film (Robert de Niro’s cross-dressing pirate captain isn’t in the book at all, nor is Ricky Gervais’ shady little deal-maker, but I can’t feel either of those was a bad addition). It’s a sweet-but-not-too-sweet fairy tale, a little too raunchy in a couple of places for the kids, but very fresh and fun and with a wry sense of humour. If you’re in the mood for a really quick hit of fantasy — you want a nice fairy tale but don’t want to wade through someone’s three-volume High Fantasy Epic — read Stardust, and then follow it up by renting the movie. Have fun.