Title: Stardust (audiobook)
Author: Neil Gaiman
“Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a remarkable quest into the dark and miraculous—in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible.”
I bought Stardust as an audiobook but I didn’t actually get around to listening to it for months after I bought it. I wasn’t sleeping well at the time and thought listening to something in bed might be a good distraction for my wired, anxious brain. It was. Every time I tried to listen to it I would fall asleep! Half a dozen attempts in and, much as I was delighted to be sleeping again, all I’d managed was the opening description of Wall and no more. Soon I gave up trying and ignored it for a couple of months. Eventually, I hit upon the idea of listening to my audiobooks in the car – I definitely wouldn’t be sleeping then – which is how, eventually and after far too much faff, I finally came to discover what lay beyond the opening description.
I like Mr Gaiman’s delivery on the audiobook. His rumbling, British tones reflect his style of writing and as the author he clearly knows how he wants his story told. By listening to the book rather than reading it I felt a heightened sense of the childlike fairytale experience – surely all fairytales, even ones for adults, are best read to us? I found myself engrossed and would often end up sat in my car listening long after I had parked up, overlooked by my neighbours wondering why on earth I was just sat there staring intently at my dashboard.
Stardust, like much of Mr Gaiman’s work, is tonally akin to the Brothers Grimm or Lewis Carroll. This charming tale is targeted as a fairytale for adults but I can see it having young adult appeal as well. Adventurous and whimsical, it contains Mr Gaiman’s usual blend of humour and solemnity, realism and fantasy, pervaded, as ever, with a characteristic darkness. Stardust moves at pace and as a result sometimes focuses more on the narrative progression than on the character development. I felt like I never truly got to know some of the peripheral characters, which is a shame since they were all so quirky and enjoyable. Nonetheless, this was no detriment to the overall impact of a high-paced escapade which was both accessible and evocative.
If you like this, you might like: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Night Circus by erin Morgenstern