"The one characteristic of a beautiful form is that one can put into it whatever one wishes, and see in it whatever one wishes to see; and the Beauty, that gives to creation its universal and aesthetic element, makes the critic a creator in his turn, and whispers of a thousand different things which were not present in the mind of him who carved the statue or painted the panel or graved the gem." - Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist"
Goodreads Summary: Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria - even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie - where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman comes a remarkable quest into the dark and miraculous - in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible.
Style: I am a connoisseur of fairytales, and I do not say this lightly. I have read all of the Grimm fairytales, many of Hans Christian Andersen's, a multitude of Scottish folktales, some of Perrault's, and many others. Fairytales have a certain structure and style which make them unique. Details are more often than not, absent from these tales, and the authors expects that the reader will suspend his disbelief until the end of the tale. Neil Gaiman wrote Stardust as a fairytale of adults, and he nailed it. His style is immaculate, and reminiscent of the style that a fairytale should be written in. There are many times that he gives details, often gory ones, but then there are times when things are not explained, or the readers disbelief must be suspended. Indeed, he writes in the true style of a fairytale.
Content: Stardust, is just what it's author claimed it was, a fairytale for adults. Therefore, there are some very gory parts involving blood and death, as well as two small and brief sex scenes, one at the beginning and one near the middle. However, this does not mean that the main character Tristran Thorn is not a perfectly sweet, and innocent young man, who follows his heart, and better judgment to help those around him.
The story starts with a strange encounter with Dunstan Thorn and a slave woman at the faerie fair in the meadow next to the city of Wall, Tristran is the result of this "encounter". The reader learns that Tristran Thorn is quite an unusual youth who always seems to be in another world, and is infatuated with the belle of the town, Victoria Forester. He promises her that he will bring her anything she wants if she lets him kiss her and marry her. She asks for a falling star, and thus without any delay Tristran sets out into faerie to retrieve it.
Meanwhile the 81st Lord of Stormhold is dying and throws a pendant into the sky which knocks down the star. The son who retrieves it will become the next Lord of Stormhold. However, this is not an easy task as the brothers are cut throat, and have already disposed of their other siblings.
As the story continues we learn of three witches who eat the hearts of young people and especially fallen stars to regain their youth, thus, another seeker is sent for the star. However, the witch queen is the most cut throat and dangerous of all.
Throughout the story Tristran meets many strange and marvelous people and creatures, including man eating trees, a small hairy man, a unicorn, a lion, the crew of an airship, the witch queen, and of course the fallen star: Yvaine. The story is the tale of how Tristrans grows and learns what really matters in life, and how to be optimistic through out all the storms. And how sometimes what we think we want is not what we want at all.
What did I think? I LOVED Stardust the characters were dynamic and easy to love / hate. I loved the themes of compassion, trust, determination, and love that ran throughout the novel. My favorite character was Tristran Thorn. I loved his strange abilities, courage, and steadfastness. I also enjoyed the fallen star: Yvaine. Her transformation concerning her relationship with Tristran was gradual and extremely well written. I was also amazed by the compassion that she was able to show the witch queen at the end of the novel.