My friendly neighborhood library had this book sitting out as part of their staff recommended book display and on a whim I picked it up. I had heard of the book (and movie) but didn’t really know much about either, other than remembering Michelle Pfeiffer’s costume looked pretty cool in the promos. What I did know, is that I had really enjoyed Ocean at the End of the Lane. Since both are written by Neil Gaiman, it meant this was a good bet in my book.
Oh boy, after the first 20 pages or so I thought I might be wrong. So far nothing was like the blurb! I didn’t get why there was this whole section of the book on these characters who made no sense! I could not figure out where the story was going, what the point was, or even what the heck was going on. I almost stopped reading the book entirely. However, I stuck to my 50 page rule (if after 50 pages I still do not like it, I can move on to the next book with no hard feelings). Man oh man am I glad I did. Looking back, I was a wee bit dense about how the book was being set up. So really this frustration was my own fault, not the books. I am sorry book, I judged you by your cover. Backstory, who knew you needed it?
Set in the Victorian period, the basic, underlying plot of the book, is that Tristran (who is half faierie, half human) is in love with Victoria (a full human), who promises to marry him if he brings her back the star they watched fall. Tristran leaves the only home he has known and goes into a magic land (where faieries come from incidentally) to retrieve the star and thus, marry Victoria. Sounds simple, right? Well, it might have been if some lords and an evil witch queen weren’t also looking for the star. For things are not always as they seem and star’s have feelings too you know! Thrown into a world he knows nothing about, Tristran struggles to find his way to the star. Along the way he finds out about who he really is, and learns more than a little about what his heart truly wants.
My favorite part of the book was any part with the Lords of the Stormhold. Backstabbing, murderous brothers out to secure their dead father’s kingdom sure know how to make drama! Even better, we can see the dead brothers and hear them though the living brothers cannot, like the judges on cooking shows. But instead of wondering if the dish will be too like the last, these specters comment on how predictable their brother is in killing them. I was kind of invested in their exploits, I even start rooting for one over the other!
Stardust is full of imaginative creatures, unique takes on classic concepts, and best of all an ending that leaves you wanting more. Jane Austen said it best when she said, “But for my own part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short.”
Love and page turners,