Fiction Reviews


Stardust

(1999) Neil Gaiman, Spike, US$6.99, pbk, 336pp, ISBN 0-380-80455-7

 

This is a very pleasant read. It really is about stardust; the dreams we have and our hopes of achieving them.

Twisting the theme of a changeling, Stardust takes us on a journey where a lad seeks his future and his love. As an act of devotion to his love, Tristan Thorn vowes to retrieve the fallen star that's seen by his love and himself. Unfortunately, this entails Tristan leaving the peaceful but odd village of Wall and going over into the Faerie world to discover himself. He also discovers a few wild, sexy and monstrous occupants of the Faerie world, both large and small. It is these that are the most charming aspects of the book. There are horrors and comedies here, in almost equal measure; comedies to make you laugh and grimace, horrors to make you squirm and laugh.

This is immaculately conceived and executed. Although heading towards an obvious conclusion, Gaiman keeps you reading because the details of the journey are so satisfying. We all know how it ends, but getting thereÖ

Graham Connor

Tony Chester provides another review below.

(1999) Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, Titan Books, £14.99, trdpbk, 224pp, ISBN 1-840-23052-5

Set in the realms of Faerie, as presented in Gaimanís Sandman series, this is a convoluted romance between Tristran Thorn, a resident of the village of Wall, and a fallen Star who fell to Faerie, which borders Wall and shares with them, every nine years, a fair. It is also the tale of succession to the throne of Stormhold, and of a witchís desire to cut the living heart from the fallen star. The phrase Ďfairy tale for adultsí is overused but, until something better comes along, itíll have to do. The text is richly illustrated with 175 paintings by Vess, each with a wealth of detail. On the whole, I do not think this is Gaimanís best work, but there are occasional flashes of delightful prose and wordplay, and most fans wonít be disapponted (though some have told me that they "canít get into it" -- I submit a failing of theirs rather than Gaimanís). Either way, this is a lovely achievement and well worth the price (cf Midnight Days).

Tony Chester


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