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Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This was originally put out as a comic, and gathered as a graphic novel.  I, however, read the novel version -- only words.  The illustrations are good, but it's not really a graphic novel, but an illustrated one; the story makes sense without the pictures.

In England there is a village called Wall.  And it has a wall running alongside it, with a gap through it.  Every nine years, there's a fair on the other side.

When the novel opens, people are coming in force to the fair.  Very odd people.  One villager rents his cottage to a gentleman for his heart's desire, and goes the fair, and nine months later, a baby is pushed out the gap with a name tag "Tristan Thorn" thus giving away his father.

Seventeen years later, the Lord of Stormhold is dying, but three of his seven sons are still alive, not having managed to kill each other off.  He throws his badge of office off, to bring down a star, and tells them that the son who gets it will succeed.

The witch-queens, the Lilim, get wind of this in the entrails of a beast, and one sets out to retrieve the star's heart and restore their youth.  (She takes the last store of years they had, to carry it out.)

And Tristan Thorn, madly in love with Victoria Foster, is told by her that if he retrieves that falling star, she will give him his heart's desire, and so he sets off through the Wall -- getting by the guard who know he came that way in the first place -- and meets up with a peddler, who gives him some help; after all, that same fair, his father had let him stay in the barn with him.  And so Tristan sets out to find her by candlelight, and finds a very, very, very annoyed star who has broken her leg and hates him.

And the story involves lightning hunting ships that fly through the air, the lion and the unicorn fighting for the crown, a witch cursing another not to know anything, revenge, freedom, a secret legacy, and much more.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
I read this book and enjoyed it, a bit sensual in the fantasy.
years later I saw the movie - got dejavu because I didn't realise it was based on this book.
Sep. 25th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
When you say graphic novel - you mean novel interspersed with Charles Vess's gorgeous illustrations, like a kids' picture book, right? Because afaic it wasn't brought out as an actual graphic novel?

I agree that it's a lovely book; I'd encourage people to buy the edition which contains Vess's illustrations, because just as the style of the story harks back to the pre-Tolkein traditions of English fantasy, Vess's illustrations hark back to Rackham and the illustrators of that era.

I can understand why they've published it as an unillustrated novel - lots of people have a snobbery about graphic novels, and consider illustrations fit only for children's books (not saying that's where you're coming from, but I see the sense of it as a marketing decision), so they can sell more copies this way. But what a shame to miss out on the artwork if you don't have to!
Sep. 25th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
Coming in to second the rec to get the version with Vess's illustrations; it's the recommendation I always make when telling people to read this book. I admit, it's from my own experience: I read it without the illustrations first, and like it well enough, but didn't really love it. Then, a couple of years later, I bought the illustrated version on a whim and, after rereading it, it became one of my favorite GNeil stories. I think Vess' illustrations really add a lot to the story.
Sep. 25th, 2010 07:06 am (UTC)
i've seen the movie of this book... but... keeping summaries aside, what did you think of the book? :)
Sep. 26th, 2010 05:12 am (UTC)
I read the book and saw the movie, didn't like either =/ I thought the writing was sloppy and the characters weren't very interesting.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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