BOOK REVIEW: Stardust – by Neil Gaiman

Title: Stardust
Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: February 1st 1999
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Finished reading: May 15th 2017
Pages: 266

“You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.”

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It’s basically a miracle I could even see the cover of this one with all the dust it has been collecting for years… I guess it was about time I picked it up! Now I’ve read it, I can say Stardust is without doubt another well written and entertaining fantasy read, but it reads a bit slow and all in all I didn’t find it as good as some of my Neil Gaiman favorites. Stardust is one of those exceptions where I have actually seen the movie first, something I prefer not happening because it tends to alter the reading experience. It’s probably what happened here as well, because I kept thinking of the movie as I were reading Stardust… And this is one of the rare cases where I actually enjoyed the movie better than the book. I still can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that the pace was more enjoyable in the movie and I liked the dynamics between Tristran and Yvaine better. And the Robert De Niro scenes are just priceless. 😉 Back to the book, the slower pace used to tell this story made the whole journey feel a bit less adventurous and exciting and Stardust didn’t manage to blow me away like other books I’ve read by this author. The characters were interesting enough and I really liked the worldbuilding, but I also felt the so-called ‘spark’ was missing from this one. It’s without doubt an entertaining fairytale-like fantasy read, but I’ll stick with the movie for this once.

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Like many men of the small village of Wall, Tristran Thorn is in love with the beautiful Victoria and will do anything to win over her cold heart. This even includes finding the star they watch fall from the sky one day and bringing it back to her. Tristran is determined to do so, even if he must go to the other side of the ancient wall that gives the village its name. Normally people aren’t allow to cross to the other side, but an exception is made for him because of his past… And he soon finds out all about what’s on the other side: Faerie, where nothing is what he could ever have imagined.

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I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman‘s work and I have read various of his novels, but this one was somehow always pushed back down the TBR pile. I can’t explain why, especially since I really enjoyed the movie and have seen it various times over the years… But I’m without doubt glad I finally read the original story. Stardust turned out to be one of those rare exceptions were I liked the movie better, but the book is still a quite entertaining and enjoyable read. It reads a bit slow and wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, but then again it’s hard to live up to books like Neverwhere and The Ocean At The End Of The Lane in the first place.


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17 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Stardust – by Neil Gaiman

  1. I was curious what you’d think of this and it sounds like you’re review is very much like mine. I kept waiting on the events from the film to happen and was so disappointed when they didn’t. I do wonder if I would have loved it more if I didn’t know the film so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The exact same thing happened to me as well, and it had been some time since I last saw the movie. But I did see it numerous times, so I remembered most details and was disappointed when certain things didn’t match up to the book. Good to know I wasn’t the only one. 🙂

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  6. I also thought Stardust was just OK compared to Gaiman’s other books. I don’t remember why at the moment, since I read it last year… but it didn’t appeal to me the way that American Gods, Norse Mythology, or The Ocean at the End of the Lane did. But I did appreciate it for its lightheartedness and its adult spin on idyllic fairy tales. That’s one of his strengths, I think: Each of his stories has its own unique flavor, so the world and the overall tone differ every time.

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    • I can definitely agree with that and this unique feel is one of the reasons I love reading his books so much. You are never completely sure what to expect. This one wasn’t as good as other titles I’ve read, but like you said still entertaining enough.

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  7. I haven’t yet explored enough of Neil Gaiman’s HUGE hits yet, but man I’m always super excited to pick up start anything he’s written! Glad to hear you enjoyed it, even if the pace wasn’t so good. I’ll DEFINITELY be looking forward to them De Niro scenes once I get the chance to watch the movie (after reading the book hahha) 😀

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    • I’m always looking forward to a new Neil Gaiman story as well, mostly because you never know exactly what to expect… Stardust isn’t my favorite, but it was still a very entertaining read. And those scenes with De Niro are hilarious. 😉

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  9. I agree with your opinion that it is hard to live up to Neverwhere and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I wonder if I would have been disappointed too had I watched the movie first? Sorry this came up a bit short. I can’t remember, have you read Norse Mythology yet?

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    • I’m still having the feeling my experience would have been completely different if I would have read the book before the movie… I kept comparing it to the movie as I read it and things didn’t add up. 😉 I still have to read Norse Mythology! I don’t have a copy yet, but I have a (Dutch) copy of Fragile Things waiting on my shelves so I might read that first. Did you read Norse Mythology already?

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