Friday, December 21, 2007

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust is an enchanting tale told in the manner and tradition of the fairy tale. Tristran Thorne, a young man who is unaware of his unusual parentage, lives in the town of Wall, in which there is a carefully guarded gate into the world of faerie. Tristran sets off on a journey into faerie to gain the love of the prettiest girl in wall.

Gaiman's prose is masterful, and the story is told in an engaging manner. Despite his adherence to many traditional forms, such as the rash boast and impossible quest that set the plot in motion, and his use of such beings as witches and unicorns, Stardust is a highly original tale. The world of faerie is filled with interesting creatures and wondrous magic, and despite the frequent light tone, the reader is rarely certain that Tristran will fulfill his quest, or even live for that matter.

The one relative area of weakness is the lack of depth to the story. Of course, the book is not intended to be a deep, complex fantasy tale, but I found myself wanting more. In one section, several perilous encounters are summed up in a single paragraph. I found myself thinking, "I would have like to read about that!"

Overall, Stardust is a light, entertaining story for the fantasy reader looking for variety.

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