21 February 2011
Stardust: Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
I saw the movie a few years ago, so I know the story, but it was long enough ago that I don't fully remember the story, making this reading quite fresh. My library has a copy that isn't illustrated; I'm very glad I decided to get this version instead. Funnily enough, I thought I was ordering a graphic novel and was slightly surprised when I found this. The illustrations fit the story perfectly: This is how it is meant to be read. This, after all, is a copy based on the original magazines.
The story is a fairy tale in every sense of the phrase. It contains fairies and fighting and true love (and the youthful ideal of love) and witches and mysterious strangers and darkness and the light and potty humor and wistful humor and sly humor and intrigue and lies and assassins and fate and magic and all-around fun. Gaiman makes writing look easy, deceptively so. I read this and thought, I could do this. Though I know that's not true. It takes true talent to make word dance and play as he does, and I have never possessed such a talent. The most I can do is make word give an occasional twirl or hop. Nothing much exciting.
I have yet to rewash the film, but I know that Robert De Niro's character was altered a bit and his name changed. Nothing that ruins the story though. I see on IMDb that Neil Gaiman did not write the screenplay, yet the alteration to De Niro's character feels like something Gaiman might have done himself and likely enjoyed in the movie.
I finished the book a few weeks ago during a snowstorm and it left me feeling content in the way that all good books do. The story had a satisfying ending and kept me spellbound as I was snowbound. And really, what more can anyone ask of a book?