Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Review by Tom McMeekin

Book Cover

In Stardust, a fallen star in human form calls Tristran Thorn "a clodpoll ... and a ninny, a numbskull, a lackwit, and a coxcomb." However, author Neil Gaiman demonstrates he is none of these with his award-winning fairy tale.

The story, which has recently been adapted as a feature film, is the adventure Tristran has in search of the star he has promised to bring home to win the hand of a young woman from his village. Normally the village of Wall and people of the Faerie world come together only once every nine years. Tristran becomes one of the few allowed to pass through as he searches for his destiny. Along the way, as in most fairy tales, there are those who help the travelers and there are those who would steal the heart's desire of another for their own wicked reasons; among these are several crones desiring immortality and several brothers fighting to become king.

While there are a few times the plot falls into the trap of simplicityŚleaving questions unanswered or wrapping other threads up too tightlyŚmost of the book provides just enough of a connection through its foreshadowing and subplots to satisfy readers. It is a quick, humor-filled and delightful read. There are times where the author provides a figurative wink to the reader that things should not be taken too seriously, so some suspension of disbelief is required.

The feature film differs from the novel in many points, but it is one of the rare instances when the adaptation feels equally enjoyable as the original. Both will interest fans of Gaiman's other works or quirky fantasy.


Tom McMeekin is a writer and artist from Pennsylvania and a recent graduate of Clarion University. His Web site is TomMcMeekin.com.