Stardust is an enchanting tale that follows a young man called Tristran Thorn, as he ventures outside of the small, rural town in which he was brought up, out into the magical, unexplored lands of Faerie. Seeking to win the heart of the beautiful Victoria Forester, Tristran sets off to fetch her the star that they saw fall from the night’s sky, but he is not the only creature who is searching for the star. This book is magical but dark, full of traditional fairy tale tropes but also sex, violence and swearing. Gaiman manages to balance all these aspects wonderfully, and produces a book that couldn’t be more perfect.
Told through an omniscient narrative the book has a traditional, fairy tale like feel. Other traditional techniques were also utilised to add to this effect, such as using groups of three; there are three Witch-Queens and three heirs of the Stronghold. This style of writing gave the book a whimsical, magical feel, and in this sense I felt like I could’ve been reading any fairy tale, which I loved. This juxtaposed with the dark, adult themes but still managed to work, and the two created a deeply satisfying, wonderful read.
The writing in this book was simply beautiful. Gaiman used rich and vivid descriptions to create the different lands of Faerie, and I felt fully immersed in the world. Nature was prominent in the novel, with wonderful descriptions of the sky and the stars and huge mountains, to flowers and streams small animals. I also found the use of colour particularly engaging, in both a metaphorical sense and a purely descriptive sense.
The plot and the world were much more the focus of this story rather than individual character consciousness, and while this writing-style did cause me to feel distanced from the characters, it did not detract from my enjoyment of the novel in any way. I loved reading about Tristran, and all the vivid secondary characters, in the detached way that allowed me to learn about their journeys as if someone was telling me a story with a lesson, not as if they were actually real. The story was full of morals and teachings, and I particularly enjoyed reading about the female characters, and seeing how they all demonstrated their powers, in different ways.
This is a book I will never get bored of re-reading. Gaiman is highly imaginative and a brilliant writer; his prose truly dances.