Monday, March 7, 2016

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
1999, William Morrow Paperbacks

Synopsis: Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

The Good: I haven't enjoyed Gaiman's books as of late. I've enjoyed a few, but on the whole, I tend to hate his stories. I went into Stardust with nothing short of dread in my heart. I dragged my feet the whole way into this book, pushing it off time and again. Turns out, I didn't hate it. It's a fun, lightly written, fairy tale full of dark things. Decent characters and an easy to follow plot made the book very readable and not worthy of the near insurmountable hesitation on my part.

The Bad: Who does Gaiman write these books for? Books like Stardust and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I mean. They're obviously children's stories, with their basic vocabulary and fairy tale/fable/moral story vibe. They're even presented as such, with big fonts and widely spaced letters. Except the situations faced soon turn darker than your average third graders taste. They're clearly written for adults, but adults with limited vocabularies and bad vision? It bugged me the entire time I read Stardust.

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