I was first inspired to read Neil Gaiman’s work after seeing the two Doctor Who episodes he wrote (The Doctor’s Wife and Nightmare in Silver), but I chose Stardust to be the first after reading this review by The Book Boozer.
Dunstan Thorne is a sheep farmer who lives in the village of Wall, so named because it is on the border between our world and the world of Faerie. The villagers keep up a constant guard at the gap in the wall, which is relaxed only once every nine years, when the two worlds meet for a magical market. Nine months after one such market, a basket is pushed through the gap in the wall, containing a baby boy called Tristran, the product of Dunstan’s dalliance with a denizen of the Faerie world.
Tristran grows up to become a sheep farmer like his father, but just before his 18th birthday he falls in love with the beautiful Victoria Forester and promises to retrieve for her the star they witnessed falling to earth one evening. Tristran is surprised to be allowed through the gap in the wall, and sets out east to find the star, little realising that he is not the only person searching for it…
As often happens when you choose a book based on its reviews, Stardust wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I loved it nonetheless. In fact I devoured it. I spent much of Thursday on various trains…I started the book when I got on the first one at lunch time, and arrived at my destination almost half-way through it. Later that night, I arrived home after an approximately five hour round-trip with only ten pages left to read! To be perfectly honest, I found the early chapters (set in our world) were hard work, but once Tristran stepped through the wall to Faerie, the story swept me away too, and I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next.
Stardust is a fairy tale for adults, and one I would recommend to lovers of fairy stories (Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree series springs to mind) or escapist fantasies like the Chronicles of Narnia.