Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

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.

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5 responses to “Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

  1. I didn’t think much of American Gods either, so it wasn’t just you. I did like Stardust quite a bit and would recommend Coraline as well. It’s a great story—creepy in the way I think only children’s stories can be.

  2. Jenny

    Oh, you guys. I loved American Gods. But I listened to it, and maybe that helped; I find some books translate better to audio than they do to paper. In general, I think Gaiman does best in offbeat formats, and his straightforward novels are sometimes not as interesting as his kids’ books, graphic novels, short stories, etc.

  3. Diana

    I loved American Gods, too. And pretty much anything Gaiman writes, including Stardust.

    Dear Compulsive Overreader, have you read any Terry Pratchett, and if so, what are your thoughts on it? I feel that his joy in playing with language and with the conventions of fantasy writing might appeal to you…

  4. Many people have recommended Terry Pratchett to me but I haven’t read him so far. What’s the best book to start with?

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