Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Stardust


Gaiman, Neil. 1999. Stardust.

If this book doesn't have you at hello, I don't know that I can help you. There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire. And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man there ever was or will be could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole of it. What a great beginning. It's just so beautiful, so magical. Doesn't it just feel right?

Stardust is set in nineteenth century England in the community of Wall. (1830s and 1840s to be exact.) This community is built by a large (and by large I mean high and long) grey rock wall. There is a gap in the wall, however, a gap that is guarded at all times. Guarded so no one--especially children--can slip through, and guarded so no one can slip in. Beyond the gap, there is a meadow, a beautiful meadow that is forbidden. Forbidden except for one day (and one night) every nine years when the Faerie market comes to the meadow. This is the only time when the two communities (the rather mundane humans and the fantastical, magical faerie world) interact. Our novel opens with us meeting Dunstan Thorn.

I really can't say much more about it. I could, but I won't. It's magical. It's beautiful. It's adventuresome. It's just great storytelling. I loved every moment of it. There were so many things I loved about it that I couldn't begin to describe them in such a way as to do the book and its characters justice. Just trust me. If you haven't met Neil Gaiman, use Stardust as an introduction!!! This isn't my first Gaiman. It's my third. But it is by far my favorite.

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