Neil Gaiman: Stardust

by Neil Gaiman

I pulled this book out of the library because I had seen (and enjoyed) the movie and was curious to see if I enjoyed the book as much. While the book had a promising beginning, I will admit to being disappointed with most of the rest of it. Some of the things I liked best about the movie were added to the book, or adapted greatly. And with one exception, the things that were in the book but not the movie are changes I was glad we made.

(That one exception was the bit about nursery rhymes, and how different they are in our world and the land of Faerie.)

(Spoilers follow in the next paragraph; I will be vague, but they reference both book and movie.)

An example must be made of the sky pirates/lightning fishers. They are one of my favorite aspects of the movie, and yet barely mentioned in the book. There is no development of their characters, no sense of what they are doing, and no connection made between them and Tristan and Yvaine. Another example is the (dead) princes. In the movie they provide incredibly funny comic relief. In the book, they are not really visible to the living characters, and so the jokes that are made in the movie are not possible in the book. And a third example is the fate of the witch-queen. There is no conclusion for her in the book, with the part of the story that involves her trickling away to nothing. The movie has a much better climax to it, with the witches as featured characters.

(Spoilers over.)

Now, it must not be said that I didn’t like the book. It was amusing, it had some good ideas, and is an interesting way of looking at how man and myth co-exist. But the main reason I liked it as much as I did was because I had already seen the movie. I had already developed a connection with the main characters, and I could picture them as the actors who portrayed them. I do not know if I would have connected to these characters without the help of having already loved them and rooted for them (or against them) on screen. This one is definitely a mixed bag for me, and while I will be buying the movie, I will not be buying the book.


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