I must bring this old post forward, as part of my NG appreciation
Stardust (1999), Neil Gaiman, 248 pp.
This is my month to focus on fantasy, catching up on stuff I should have read long ago but am only just now getting around to.
So, catching up with Gaiman. Stardust reminded me of Lord Dunsany’s classic, The King of Elfland’s Daughter, which is not a bad thing. Gaiman even uses the line, “beyond the fields we know” as direct (although only for those in the know) homage to Lord Dunsany’s classic. I love old-style fantasy, with its lofty language and references to Faerie, a land just beyond a wall, or through a forest — a place any fool can visit, but few fools can survive.
In a nutshell, Tristan chases a fallen star he’s promised to give to his beloved Victoria (not worthy of him, but no surprise). The fallen star turns out to be the snooty Yvaine, who needs (but hates needing) Tristan’s help. She’s in mortal danger (of course), and not just because Tristan wants to take her out of Faerie. There’s also a Faerie Kingdom looking for the rightful heir to its throne, a vicious Witch-Queen, a cryptic prophecy, and all kinds of aid coming from unexpected places. Deliciously complex, with suitable retribution for those who’ve earned it.
Gaiman earns his place next to other classic tales of Faerie.