Published: 19th September 2005
Publisher: Headline Review
In the sleepy English countryside at the dawn of the Victorian era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall. Young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester, but Victoria is cold and distant as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky one evening. For the prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the star for his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the town’s ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining.
First Sentence: There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.
I enjoyed this so much more the second time around. I found myself completely immersed in the world that Neil Gaiman has created, it was a truly magical read.
The language used in this novel is wonderful. The prose is so poetic, it was a total joy to read. Everything flowed so well and the imagery was so vivid – I could picture it all with such intensity. Neil Gaiman’s world building is phenomenal, he manages to create a place that is so far away, yet feels like you live right next door.
This is a brilliantly crafted fairytale with some dark twists and turns for good measure. The different storylines combined together keep the story alive. It was refreshing to read about so many different characters, in various stages of their lives – it kept my attention.
The characters – for me – were just okay. I wasn’t really attached to any of them, I didn’t love them. My favourite, if asked to choose, would probably be Yvaine. I felt that being an outsider looking in on this world was part of the reason I wasn’t able to connect with the characters so well. It didn’t enable me to get to know them, I felt like I wanted to be inside their heads – not just observing their actions from above.
For some reason, the whole plot read much easier the second time around. The first time round I wasn’t intrigued, I didn’t care about what happened. This time I wanted to see where Tristran, Yvaine and Victoria ended up, how their stories unfolded. I was satisfied with the ending, I felt it was well done and stayed true to its fairytale roots.
I have only read this and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I have Neverwhere sat on my TBR shelf. Re-reading Stardust has made me want to delve into Neil Gaiman’s story writing and world building even more, so I am aiming to do that pretty soon.
You can also hop on over and see Maia’s review of my monthly pick here.
Website: neilgaiman.com Twitter: @neilhimself