Fantasy is a slightly tricky genre to navigate through (read). There seem to be a huge number of fantasy novels; how in the world are you supposed to choose? (For example, I love Edith Nesbit’s The Phoenix and The Carpet, but Philip Pullman and the Inkheart series (Funke) were a bit too dark). Plus all the covers look really pretty, and the blurbs at the back don’t help (critically) either. So when I stumbled upon Neil Gaiman when I was searching for ‘authors like terry pratchett’ (err..yes, I do that a lot, even though the results are seldom accurate), I decided he was a must read, and finally got around to it with Stardust. Gaiman is apparently one of the top fantasy authors today, and he’s also co-written a novel with Pratchett (Good Omens).
So Stardust is the story of Tristran Thorn, from the village of Wall, just outside which exists the world of the faerie. Tristran enters the other world in quest of a fallen star, while unbeknownst to him, many other forces are at work in the same pursuit. How their paths cross and who gets the star makes up the rest of the story.
I loved the book. It was a wonderful read, simple and enchanting. It does not aim to be (thankfully) a clear retelling of any one particular fairytale (I don’t like FT remixes, why would you like to know whether or not Prince Charming was an MCP?), and mixes in loads of FT and nursery rhyme elements, giving the whole thing a sort of dreamy and what I call the ‘proper-fantasy’ feel.
Gaiman somehow manages to weave in nearly every clichéd fairytale trope without making it feel repetitive or overcrowded. The wicked witch (or 3), royalty, commoners, the seventh son of a seventh son, a non-human sidekick to the hero, a sweet love story, a family reunion; it’s all there in Stardust, except it’s got that extra bit of stardust sprinkled over it (this is where my 3 followers leave me due to an intolerance for obvious puns).
A must-read for fantasy lovers, fairytale lovers and quest lovers. Dear discerning readers (cuz you’re following my blog), do read it and tell me how you liked it, or if you could recommend other books like this one, you get one paid (i.e. by you) trip to India free.
P.S. There’s also a movie based on the book (*screams in delight*).. 😀
P.P.S. Tried reading American Gods, but it was soo weird and different from this, have left it halfway; please tell me someone else also feels this way.. 😛
P.P.P.S. Ticking off the magic box.. 🙂