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Review: Stardust (WG #12)

I got a lot of really interesting questions about Stardust by Neil Gaiman on my first Weekly Geeks #12 post. Since this is a book I read earlier this year, I’m going to expand the WG questions into a longer review.

Andi from AndiLit asked: What did you think of Stardust? Everyone raves about it so much that I feel like my mediocre reading of it might be something about my life at that moment rather than the book.

When I first started reading Stardust, I checked out an illustrated version of the story from the kids section at our library. I fell in love with the pictures and prose — there is something really child-like about it, and I think the illustrated version does a good job of capturing it. After I had to return that copy to the library, and bought the trade paperback version thinking it wouldn’t make much of a difference. Boy, was I wrong. I really didn’t enjoy the paperback version of it, I think because the visual and verbal combination in the illustrated version (and movie) are so good that the straight text loses something by itself. I’m not sure what version you read, but I would understand finding the book mediocre without some of the beautiful visuals.

Rachel from americanbibliophile asked: How did you feel it stacks up to other works by Gaiman?

Unfortunately, the only other work my Gaiman I started was American Gods, and it was a book I couldn’t get though. I think it just wasn’t what I wanted to be reading at the time, and I intend to go back to it when I have time. I hope to read more Gaiman though… recommendations?

Care from Care’s Book Club asked: Did you see the movie?

Yes — the movie was actually my first experience with Stardust.

Michelle from inthelouvre.org asked: If you have seen the Stardust movie, is there anything you feel the movie handled better than the book, or vice versa? And have you read a lot else by Gaiman? What would you recommend to someone who has only read Stardust, but who hasn’t ever particularly liked Terry Pratchett?

I liked the movie better because I think it took what is a pretty slim book and expanded the story into something much richer. Characters like Captain Shakespeare (brilliantly played by Robert de Niro) and Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) were a lot more complex and interesting in the movie. In fact, I think both Tristan and Yvaine have more room in the movie to be developed rather than just the characters they are in the story. I think the book does have good characters, but the longer movie has more time to develop them better. On the other hand, I like the ending of the book better than I like the ending of the movie. Without giving away spoilers, the book ending is a little darker, which I think is a little more appropriate.

I haven’t read much fantasy lately, but favorite fantasy series is His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. I’m not sure how they compare to Gaiman exactly, but I think they are great. However, do not see the movie The Golden Compass — it is terrible in comparison to the book.

Links to Enjoy:

Other Reviews: Passion for the Page; Lost in a Good Story; Trish’s Reading Nook; Bookworms and Tea Lovers; Reading Adventures; Just a Reading Fool; Care’s Online Book Club; Books Love Me

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Care July 24, 2008, 4:03 pm

    I agree with a lot of this. most of it. I don’t recall the book ending being ‘dark’ however. I thought it was rather tidy, actually. Comparatively – a lot less drama.

    and I second: Don’t bother with the movie The Golden Compass.

  • Marg July 24, 2008, 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the link! I hav e linked to you as well.

  • Kristi July 25, 2008, 2:52 am

    Interesting comment about the visuals. I read the trade paperback edition and, while it was an OK story, it didn’t exactly wow me. I’m not sure if I’ll see the movie (I’m not really a movie person), but I do intend to read American Gods (and Neverwhere). I have His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman on my TBR list this year, too. I’ve never read any of his books, so I’m looking forward to it ;o).

  • Kim July 25, 2008, 5:17 pm

    Care: SPOILER – The epilogue (I think) of the book ends with Yvaine stuck on Earth after Tristan dies, but in the movie they get to use the candle and return to the sky. Less drama, for sure, but I think a little less happy too.

    Marg: No problem, and thanks!

    Kristi: I think you’ll like His Dark Materials a lot. I’ll be curious what you think of American Gods and Neverwhere since I haven’t read those yet.

  • unfinishedperson July 25, 2008, 9:14 pm

    I mean to come over and personally comment as well, but somehow forget yesterday. Basically, I just wanted to let you know I’m pretty much in agreement about you with the movie being better than the book. I also thought that the brothers were much more “rounded” characters in the movie than in the book – not that they weren’t good in the book, but in the movie, they seemed to be more involved.

  • Trish July 26, 2008, 8:40 pm

    I was really disappointed that Captain Shakespeare (not even his name in the book…right?) only appeared for a few pages. I saw the movie first and thought it was fantastic–the book had a lot more room for development I agree.

    I’ve heard that Gaiman’s works are all very very different–perhaps you were expecting a little bit of Stardust with American Gods? I’ve heard that one is more difficult to get into.

  • Kim July 26, 2008, 10:35 pm

    unfinished person: Yes! I forgot about the brothers, I loved them in the movie too.

    Trish: Yeah, American Gods was hard to get into and I just wasn’t in the mood quite yet. I’m going to try again because I’ve heard it’s great, just not as accessible as Stardust.

  • Kim L July 28, 2008, 1:50 am

    I’ve really gotten into Neil Gaiman recently, but his writing is not for everyone. I think Stardust was a great book by him because its just a good fairy tale. I really liked American Gods, but it was definitely the type of book I’m really into already. I got the most into around the middle because the pieces started to pull together.

  • Kim July 31, 2008, 9:13 pm

    Kim L: I’m glad you got into American Gods, it gives me confidence I’ll enjoy it if I can get into it more.

  • Josette August 14, 2008, 3:30 pm

    Hi, yeah, the book and the movie are totally different! I was also looking forward to reading about Captain Shakespeare and the princely ghosts but nothing much about them unfortunately. But still, it’s a great read. I enjoyed the book. Here’s my Stardust review!

  • Jenny aka "Sister" June 21, 2009, 10:38 pm

    I just watched this movie this weekend, and I really really really liked it, I read your book spoiler and as you could probably predict I liked the movie ending better (though I have never read the books so this is pure speculation)