I’m actually quite embarrassed that I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman, so when the opportunity arose for me to listen to the audio of Stardust, I jumped at the chance.
I actually went into this not even knowing what Stardust was about. Gaiman says in the Introduction that this story was born out of his desire to write a fairy tale for adults. I was instantly hooked. A fairy tale for adults? HELLS YEAH! I’ll admit, though, that my heart sank a little when I found out the Gaiman was the performer for this audiobook. The author? What the hell?! I’ve been to more author appearances than I can count, and honestly, I haven’t heard too many great author readings. The reading is stilted, emphasis is placed on the wrong words, and it always feels like they’re reading so I never get lost in the words. But Gaiman did an amazing job, making me eat my opinion about authors reading their own books in a very short period of time. It makes me wonder if he’s performed other novels of his, and if so, I want to get my hands on them!
Stardust is about Tristran Thorn who is in love with Victoria Forester. One night he tries to get a kiss from her and they see a falling star. She tells him that he can have anything he wants if he retrieves that very star for her. So off he goes to find the star so that he can present it to Victoria. He finds the star quite easily, which turns out to be a girl who, due to falling from the sky, has broken her leg. Tristran captures her and takes her on the journey back to his village. Along the way they encounter a unicorn, witches, elves (I think?), slaves that have been turned into animals, and an assortment of odd characters.
Since this was a fairy tale for adults, there was some swearing and sex. Which I actually really enjoyed. It wasn’t over the top. It was a nice juxtaposition of the quaint fairy tale with modern words sprinkled in. Gaiman is still able to keep the traditional feel of fairy tales with the way he writes, while still nodding to the fact that this book is for adults who still love fairy tales.
The writing was always so much fun, to the point that I would laugh out loud at the way Gaiman turned a phrase. At one point I got out of the car and was just grinning because I was so happy to be immersed in this book. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t listening to it at that very second (I mostly only listen to books in the car). I felt like a teenager whose crush just asked her out on a date. I was smiling LIKE A FOOL. And when I was away from the book, I was thinking about it. I was positively giddy to get back in my car and start the story again.
I’m sure the book is great, but I highly recommend the audiobook. Do yourself a favor and get Stardust for yourself for Christmas. I will be listening to this book again. And again.
Five out of five stars! I want to throw stars at this book it was so good. This guy can tell a story.