Monday, November 3, 2014

Stardust: A Book Review

The movie Stardust is nearly as magical as the book it is based on and in this review I'm going to (attempt to) write about both the movie and the book, simultaneously. There are some stark differences between the two, but the underlying thread of fantasy and fun is strong enough to keep the viewer enchanted by both.

I first heard the story of Stardust over a year ago as an audio book read, delightfully, by the author himself. The story is one that stuck with me so strongly that there is a small portion of the street near my laundromat that flashes me back to the book every time I drive it to this day.

It's difficult to identify what it is about this story that is so captivating. In many ways it is a typical fairy tale. There is a man trying to win the heart of a woman, three witches trying to steal the life of a girl. There are unicorns and fairies and secrets and spells.

But somehow Gaiman has combined all of these rather cliche concepts into one unique fairy tale.

And this is a fairy tale in every sense of the word. With love and valor, magical transformations and proposals. Falling just short of actually beginning with "Once upon a time..." this story is told as fairy tale as one gets, a technique done so often it can sometimes fall flat. Gaiman manages (overall) to pull it off successfully. Though there is some faltering in character development, the sheer individuality of the story, the concept of a star falling from the sky starting off a week of adventures, is so perfectly representational of every child's wildest dreams. This story comes from that pure place dreams are born from.

Fairies, magic, a long rock wall and a flamboyant pirate with a flying pirate ship. I'm not sure a story could be more entertaining. (Just wait until you see who plays that flamboyant pirate.) This is not a book for the thinker, but a book for escape. Fantasy and a momentary break from the harsh realities of life.

Books that remind me of Stardust:

Charmed Life
The Eyes of the Dragon

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