Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Published by William Morrow & Company on December 31, 1999 (originally 1998)
my rating: ⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg: 4.08
** Spoilers Ahead **
Young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant–as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall dividing the village from the adjacent meadow, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining. But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises–and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.
Two stars always feels like such a negative rating, but it really just means I “didn’t like it.” This book could hover around a 2.5 for me, but I think 2 is slightly more accurate. I know Neil Gaiman is a beloved author and I have enjoyed several of his works (although, don’t get me started on Anansi Boys), but Stardust just wasn’t for me.
I didn’t care about Tristran and I hated that he was just an unremarkable boy who got remarkably lucky and saved the day and got the girl even though his plan until almost the end of the book was to essentially enslave her and give her as an offering to another beautiful girl that he covets (I wouldn’t call what he feels love).
Besides the star (who doesn’t really count as human) and perhaps Tristran’s biological mother, every woman in the story is made out to be either unimportant or awful. Victoria is the whole reason for Tristran’s quest, but only because she snubbed him and didn’t tell him she was engaged. He literally forgets about and could not care less about his adoptive mother and sister. And there are plenty of evil witches, as well as a female merchant who had enslaved Tristran’s mother.
Whew, I didn’t mean to rant like that, but it all just really got to me. On top of that, I just wasn’t a fan of the writing style in this one. There are parts of the story that I found intriguing, so it wasn’t all bad. And it is a quick read, very easy to get through. So all-in-all, if this sounds like your jam: go for it. It just definitely wasn’t mine.