READER REPORT:

I've just finished reading: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

DARRYL KIRK
Last updated 11:43 20/09/2012
Stardust
STARDUST: NBy Neil Gaiman

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I've just finished reading…

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This is a book I have revisited regularly over the years.

First published in 1998 it tells the story of Tristran Thorn of the village Wall. Set in the mid 1800s Wall is an isolated hamlet in the English countryside. Wall takes its name from the wall that divides our world from that of Faerie.

Once every nine years the inhabitants of Faerie gather in the meadow just over the wall for the Faerie market, where those of humankind can buy wonders and miracles from the strange folk gathered there.

Travelers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to the market, many of them nearly as strange as the folk beyond the wall.

Tristran is the product of a union between his father Dunstan and Una, a Faerie princess enslaved to the witch Madame Semele. Tristran was found in a basket at the gap in the wall which is constantly guarded to keep people from wandering into those mysterious lands.

Marked as different from his peers Tristran is a neither of man or faerie. Renowned throughout the village is Victoria Forester the most beautiful girl in the local area. Smitten Tristran rashly vows to bring Victoria a star they see fall in Faerie as the price of her love.

So begins Tristran's adventures in the lands beyond the wall. In his search for the star he encounters many interesting characters. Unicorns, witches, talking tress, a flying ship that fishes for lightening bolts and the Lord Primus of Stormhold. He discovers the star but things turn out not as he expected.

This is a book that is full of whimsy and charm, with underlying parables on the virtues of honour and the treacherous fate of those seeking unfettered power. The prose is light and in places magical, the plot clever and the characters engaging. In the spirit of the traditional fairy tale certain elements of justice are present in the eventual fates of the main characters.

While the book is highly recommended and escapism at its best, the story has been taken by Hollywood and pounded on the script writers' anvil of the banal and rendered almost unrecognisable, try to avoid the movie before reading the book.


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