Saturday, June 23, 2007
The Once Upon a Time challenge is now over, but it will have lasting effects on me. Carl, at Stainless Steel Droppings, was the host of the challenge and a the self-professed biggest fan of Neil Gaiman. I have to say, that love is spilling over to me. I've read 3 of his books this year. Each one different, but equally as good. Stardust (238 pgs, Avon) is an adult fairy tale and beautifully written.
There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire. And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely novel (for every tale about every young man that ever was or will be could start in a similar manner) there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole of it.
And so opens the beginning of this beautiful tale. At the turn of the Victorian era, in the English countryside, there was a town called Wall. It was named as such for the stone wall that was built to divide the city from the land of Faerie. Once every 9 years, a magical fair took place in the meadow outside Wall. It was the only time people were allowed outside the gap.
Young Tristran Thorn wanted only one thing. He wanted the love of the beautiful, but rather shallow, Victoria Forrester. As he was walking her home one night, they saw a falling star. Tristran told Victoria he would bring her that star if she gave him his "heart's desire". And Victoria, thinking how foolish Tristran was, agreed.
So with a pack on his back, Tristran sets off in the land of Faerie looking for the star. But he is not the only one looking. The witches of Lilim need the heart of the star to regain their youth. And the Lords of Stronghold are looking for the star in hopes of gaining the right to rule the land of Stronghold.
This book is magical. Set in the land of faerie, we encounter unicorns and talking trees; witches and goblins; pixies and stars. Stardust is beautiful in it's simplicity and it's lyrical prose. I can't believe I waited so long to read it! The characters are unique and full of life. They were written with such a vividness that I can picture each and every one. If you haven't read this wonderful little fairy tale, you should. It will have you believing in magic and happily ever afters again! 5/5