I finished Stardust last night after savouring it for a couple of weeks, because this is a story and a world that I could have read much more of. I had only read one and a half books of Neil Gaiman‘s (the one being Coraline and the half being Good Omens that he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett) and loved them both, plus I really enjoyed the movie Stardust, despite it not being a big hit, so i have wanted to read Stardust for a while, and it certainly delivered.
For those of you who liked Stardust the film and found it to be a nice family movie with appropriate action, innocent romance and a lovely story-book ending – DO NOT GET THIS BOOK FOR YOUR CHILD! Despite being as short as many children’s novels and having the same fairy-tale look as the movie, this is definitely a Faerie tale for adults. I was shocked (and delighted :)) by the graphic violence, sexual scenes and references and the wee bit of swearing in this book, that were absent from the movie.
Besides the more mature themes of the book, there were many more differences between the novel and the movie, some which I loved and some which disappointed me a little. The differences I loved were the extra level of detail given for the world of Faerie that Neil Gaiman has created. For a small book, it manages to weave a lot of magic in, with plenty of quirky little characters to meet and explanations of bizarre happenings over the Wall. There was also more about the humble inhabitants of Wall, which was barely touched on in the movie. I also really liked that there wasn’t perfect endings for everything – there was death and disaster; there was disappointments – things that are often missing from film adaptations of faerie-tales.
There was only a couple of details that were in the movie and I “missed” when reading the book. The main one was the pseudo-macho, cross-dressing Captain Shakespeare who was obviously created for the film, because in the book there is only Captain Alberic who is perfectly welcoming to Tristran and Yvaine and doesn’t seem to own a single dress 😦 The other detail I missed was the final showdown between Tristran and the witches in their dwelling, especially the part where Lamia raises Septimus from the dead to fight for her. But in general the book was amazing how it was, and I understand the reason’s behind changing it so much for a family audience. My opinion would probably have been very different if I had read the book before seeing the movie, but I think I prefer it this way 🙂
I give Stardust By Neil Gaiman: