One of the things about borrowing books from the library is that you never know which edition of a book you are going to get. I must confessed that when I requested Stardust, I definitely wasn't expecting to get a picture book sized book, and I had to go back to the online bookstores to check whether that was normal or not, but it seems that I just managed to get an illustrated version (published by DC Comics) as opposed to the straight written version. Of course, then it took me ages to find a picture of the actual cover that I had. I hate it when I can't post exactly the same cover.
Neil Gaiman is one of those authors who I have seen raved about at various places are blogland, and I have been tempted to read him for a long time, particularly as I started reading more fantasy. Having said that, this is the first time I have ever read Gaiman, but it won't be the last time.
The story opens in the very early days of Queen Victoria's reign, when we meet a young man by the name of Dunstan Thorn, who lived in the village of Wall. Near the village of Wall, there is a wall that is guarded to prevent people from crossing over into the neighbouring faerie lands.
Once every nine years, there is a market held at Wall, where all types of folk come to trade goods and meet. When Dunstan goes to the market he meets a beautiful young woman, and has a tryst with her, despite the fact that he is promised to another woman. Dunstan goes on to marry his betrothed and settle down, but then months later a baby is left on the doorstep with a name tag saying Tristan Thorn.
Whilst there is a bit of time taken to set up the above storyline, the book really is about Tristan and his adventure. When he is a teenager, he is in love with Miss Victoria Forester, as are most of the other young men in town. When out walking one evening with Miss Forester, they see a falling star, and Tristan promises "For a kiss, and the pledge of your hand...I would bring you that fallen star", and so begins Tristan's journey, as he crosses into the faerie lands in search of the fallen star.
When he finds the star, who unfortunately has broken her leg in the fall, he binds himself to her with an unbreakable silver chain, thus earning her scorn, but after various incidents involving others who are also searching for the star for their own nefarious purposes, they come to respect and like each other and they find themselves bound together, not by a physical chain, but by a much stronger invisible bond. Along the way they meet unicorns, witches, are changed into other creatures and spend time on a flying ship.
Eventually, we find out about Tristan's true identity and his destiny, that the star, whose name is Yvaine, shares with him, but not before he comes face to face with Victoria once again.
Whilst I really enjoyed the fairy tale like story, I have to admit that it took me ages to read this book. Part of the reason was because of the size of the book. It really wasn't a convenient size to hold whilst lying in bed, which is where I was reading this book most of the time. The other distraction was the imagery in the book which was really detailed and really added an extra dimension to the story.
The story itself was lovely, and I am definitely going to see whether I can track down a DVD of the movie so that I can see how it translated to the big screen. I must confess that when I first saw the trailer of the movie, and they were talking about one of the main characters being a fallen star I was a bit puzzled as to what that all meant, but now having read the book, I can definitely see how it was done in the book, and I am looking forward to seeing the movie's portrayal.
If you have read the story in a normal novel format, or perhaps have seen the movie (or both), then I don't think you would be disappointed if you tracked down this version of the book that includes the artwork by Charles Vess and read the book again.
This is one of the books that I nominated to read as part of Carl's Once Upon a Time II Challenge. I only have one more book left to read for this challenge. I also have several reviews to write before the challenge finishes next week, so I really should just hurry up and get on with it!
Have you reviewed this book? If yes, please leave a comment with a link to your review and I will link to your blog.
Other Blogger's Thoughts:
Bookworms and Tea Lovers
Trish's Reading Nook
Passion for the Page