Review: Stardust – Neil Gaiman

11 - stardust

Rating – 3*

This book was a really enjoyable couple of hours of listening to Neil Gaiman read to me. I love any of Gaiman’s audiobooks as he generally narrates them himself which just adds a much greater depth to the story, in my opinion. A quick sidenote, if you’re unsure as to whether audiobooks are for you seriously check out some of Gaiman’s work as not only are the stories amazing, but it’s a perfect way to slip in to audiobooks.

That note aside, this book was good. I enjoyed it, it was easy to listen to but it felt a little flat for me. I loved the idea of this, a boy goes on a quest to capture a fallen star. The issue with that is he does it to win the heart of a girl he’s in love with, or just get a kiss for her, that didn’t sit particularly well for me, it didn’t address the fact he was being predatory instead shrugged it off with the attitude of “boys will be boys”. Yes it’s a fairy tale, yes it’s short, yes there was a lot overlooked and missed out but I don’t think that really excuses the fact that it really objectifies women. The premise of it being a fairy tale for adults I also loved. It’s just it fell quite short of the mark for my personal tastes; adult equalled random sex and some violence which, in and amongst the childish narrative, felt quite out of place.

So, on the whole this was a good book. I enjoyed listening to it. I just didn’t love it like I was expecting to. I gave this book 3*

5 thoughts on “Review: Stardust – Neil Gaiman

  1. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorites, but I have not read this book yet. My favorites by him are Neverwhere and The Ocean at The End of the Lane

    • Haven’t read Neverwhere yet, but I adored The Ocean at the End of the Lane! I also read American Gods which I didn’t like as much, but it was still amazing.

      One thing I didn’t mention is that in Stardust, we get another Hempstock! I love the idea that all of his books are in some way related, and take place in the same universe, because of this one family (who are generally peripheral). It’s little things like that which make me keep picking up his books.

    • I’m not opposed to putting effort in to courting someone. Done right it can be a beautiful thing to read about. The premise of this book is a beautiful thing, what makes it not so good for me is that Tristran is not a nice person. As a reader we’re meant to like him but, I didn’t.

      Sure he’s a 17 year old boy who is madly in love with this girl but at no point is standing outside a girls window watching her undress okay. This happens in this book, it’s just an aside, but it happens and that’s not okay. Sure, it’s just one line out of many but it’s not addressed as an issue. It’s addressed as “oh, boys will be boys” which actually infuriated me. Maybe, after that point, I was looking more heavily for little things that didn’t sit right. And it was, on the whole, little things and offhand comments that dragged this book down but they all add up!

      There are many things about this book, just fleeting things and overarching themes which just didn’t sit right with me. I’ve tried a couple of times to be coherent and come across well in saying what I want to say but I can’t seem to get the right words out! Instead, have a link to a review on goodreads:

      https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/462936665?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1

      That review is a *lot* more abrasive than I would put things across, and I did enjoy the writing so I really, really don’t agree with everything what is said, but it does raise the problematic points which I felt also. It just doesn’t word it as nicely as I would, and maybe goes a little overboard in places!

      One thing I think may have made this better, for me, is if it were longer. If there were more character development, if maybe we saw more of Victoria and Tristran, if we got more rounded characters to depict how in love with her he was rather than having him staring up her window watching her in her underwear! I’d rather 20 pages of character development than one, offhand comment like that, personally!

      Thanks for the comment, I hope I’ve managed to get my point across in a succinct way! But just to clarify, I love the *idea* of the book, I loved the writing, it was just loads of niggly little points and offhand comments that dragged it down.

  2. I read a large-print version of this book a long time ago and didn’t think it was Gaiman’s best work. Apparently it was originally a novel illustrated by Charles Vess, who draws beautiful Arthur Rackham-style pictures for DC Comics. So now I’m thinking that I’ll need to get a copy of that edition before I can judge it fairly. They’ve made a film of this book, which I think was pretty good although I’ve forgotten everything about it, except the bit where Robert de Niro played a camp pirate.

    The best thing Neil Gaiman ever did was the Sandman comics – that’s the point of him, really. The fact that he keeps on writing when he could be resting on his laurels, and the way he’s so nice on Tumblr, seriously impresses me.

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