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.”


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.


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.


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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BOOK REVIEW: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – by Stephen Chbosky


Title: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: 1999
Finished reading: August 10th 2015
Pages: 224
Rating 3,5

“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”


I have heard mixed things about The Perks Of Being A Wallflower for many years now and I thought it was about time I finally read this controversial novel by Stephen Chbosky. This story has appeared on my banned books lists ever since it was published fifteen years ago and now I’ve read it I can understand why some people might be offended by some of the themes discussed. Still, I don’t think The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is such a bad read for teenagers. The characters are very realistic and it deals with a lot of themes like sex, drugs and domestic violence that teenagers should be aware of. The prose is interesting with all the letters Charlie writes to his friend. I do I think I would have liked the story better if I would have read it ten years ago… I probably would have connected better to the characters. Still, I would definitely recommend it to fans of realistic YA fiction; it’s a very interesting read.


Charlie is a freshman and very intelligent. He is also shy and socially awkward… Making him into a wallflower. He has two very good friends though, Patrick and Sam, who help him develop some social skills. Charlie tells his story through letters to an unnamed friend; we see him struggle to fit in with the ‘normal’ teenagers and deal with his own feelings. Charlie can’t stand on the sidline forever; it’s time he learns how to start living. And life sure isn’t easy…


I did enjoy The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, but not as much as I know some others. Part of the problem might be that I feel this novel is meant for teenagers and I cannot connect to the characters in the same way now I’m 27. I did like the prose and the letters Charlie wrote to his friend, but I just wasn’t blown away by it. Fans of realistic YA fiction will probably love this novel though!

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban – by J.K. Rowling


Title: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
(Harry Potter Series #3)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 8th 1999
Finished reading: September 25th 2014
Pages: 317
Rating 4,5

“Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”


Some know already that I’m currently rereading the seven books of the Harry Potter series. Book number three, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, is one of my favorites and marks the beginning of a growingly dangerous wizard world where Voldemort is about to rise again. Growing up along with Harry and his friends the first time I read these books, I could really appreciate the books becoming darker over the years… And it makes sense as Harry is growing up as well. J.K. Rowling did an excelent job with this third book, and is able to tell us a both terrifying and magical story in only threehundred pages. Lupin is probably one of my favorite Defense Against The Dark Arts teachers, and I remember being glad J.K. Rowling decided to use him again in later books. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban is, like the previous books, a definite must read for anyone who enjoys reading YA fantasy and won’t disappoint. It’s just magical!


WARNING: Spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet...

Just as Harry thinks his summer with the Dursleys cannot get worse, his aunt decides to stay at her brother’s house. She despises Harry and uses every opportunity to criticize and humiliate him. Harry tries to be patient as he cannot use magic in presence of Muggles, but enough is enough and he ends up accidently blowing up his aunt. Fleeing the Dursley house, he gets picked up by a very special bus and when he arrives at The Leaky Cauldron they are waiting for him. But he doesn’t get expelled as he was expecting; they actually seem very glad to see him alive. A dangerous murderer has escaped the wizard prison of Azkaban and is currently on the loose… And what Harry doesn’t know, is that the same wizard named Sirius Black is looking for him.

Everybody seems to be concerned about Harry’s safety but Harry himself. They don’t let him go anywhere alone and this doesn’t stop when they arrive at Hogwarts. They fear Black will attempt to enter Hogwarts and attack him. Dumbledore has agreed to have the Azkaban prison guards, creatures named Dementors, at the gates of Hogwarts to prevent this. They don’t seem to obey all the rules though and approach the students various times. The Dementors have a terrible effect on Harry. Every time they are close, he hears the last moments of his parents’ life… And he faints. Black is spotted close to Hogwarts, and then he managed to enter the school and attack the portrait that guards the entrance of the Griffindor common room. New security measures are taken, and Harry is trying to weapon himself against the Dementors with the help of professor Lupin. Then one night the horrible truth comes out and Harry starts seeing the past events in a whole new light…


Poor Harry doesn’t get a break, does he? Surviving Voldemort three times already (twice in the first two years at Hogwarts), you think he deserved a nice and quiet third year. But no, this time a dangerous criminal is trying to kill him and people turn out to be different than who they seemed to be. I loved the final scenes and I wish I could have a watch like Hermione’s… A great reread and definitely worth reading if you haven’t already!

Hunting Badger – by Tony Hillerman


Title: Hunting Badger
(Navajo Mysteries Series #14)
Author: Tony Hillerman
First published: November 1st 1999
Finished reading: August 12th 2013
Pages: 318

When I started reading this book I realized that I had read it once before already some years ago. Still I decided to continue reading since it’s an easy reading story where Tony Hillerman mixes police business with old Native American traditions. When three men rob a casino, kill some men in the process and then flee the area. A huge man hunt starts. The FBI gets involved, but it’s the Navajo Tribal Police that solves it in the end. Sergeant Chee and retired Leaphorn see where the FBI don’t see, and use old Native American folklore stories to hunt their prey. Stories talk about an Ute called Ironhand, also called badger in shape-shifter stories, who can disappear and appear in the mountains…

It’s an ok story, but in my opinion some characters and parts of the stories lack development. All in all a nice one to read, but definitely not challenging.

Pop Goes The Weasel – by James Patterson


Title: Pop Goes The Weasel
(Alex Cross Series #5)

Author: James Patterson
First published: 1999
Finished reading: August 8th 2013
Pages: 486

James Patterson is one of my favorite writers in the sense that his books give a garantuee for entertainment and easy reading. Pop Goes The Weasel didn’t let me down. Although the storyline is intriguing, there is only one which is strange for Patterson. Still, since it’s quite a complicated storyline, it didn’t bother me. The story centers around a fantasy game called The Four Horsemen, where four British agents are involved. This book questions the morality of diplomatic immunity where British agents go bad and their immunity makes it almost impossible for Alex Cross and the police to catch them. The most import character, Death or Geoffrey Shafer, lives an double life; behind his happy family image he leads an irresponsible life full of drugs, adulterly and murder. No one can stop him, or at least he thinks so… Until he kidnaps Alex Cross’ fiancee and things get ugly.

If you are not looking for the next brilliant masterpiece and just want a few hours of easy entertaining, this book might be for you. It’s nothing too complicated, it has action and before you know it you are at the last page already. Not bad at all.