If any of you are like me, you found Stardust to be a delightful and humorous adventure movie with just the right amount of fantasy and imagination. I, of course, bought the book right away when I read in the credits that it was based off a novel.
Stardust, by Neil Gaiman, is a quick read--large writing and fairly easy syntax--but by the end, I found that the movie version far surpasses the novel (a rare case). Through the first half of the book, the story is almost identical with the movie (a fact that gives me great pleasure in applauding Paramount Pictures, for it's a rare thing nowadays to see such accuracy in Hollywood), save for a few "adult" sections, which were not included in the motion picture (thankfully).
Stardust tells the tale of Tristran Thorn, a young boy who lives in the village of Wall. The first few chapters delve into Tristran's hiostory--his father, Dunstan, crossing the wall that separates the village from the magical (but guarded) land of Faerie and a meeting a beautiful princess. After some bewitched and foolish choices on Dunstan's part, the princess ends up having his child, Tristran.
Tristran grows up with his father and his father's wife and daughter (thinking they're his mother and sister) in Wall and falls madly and adolescently in love with a girl named Victoria. One night, they see a fallen star shoot from the sky and land in Faerie. In an act of passion, Tristran vows to find that star for Victoria and bring it back to her in return for her giving him whatever he desires (aka. her hand in marriage). She believes him to be bluffing and foolish, but agrees for the fun of it. As we can all predict, Tristran crosses into Faerie and, as in most novels with other worlds, finds his life turned upside-down.
The star turns out to be a beautiful girl--a halting factor for Tristran who must take her back to his Victoria. Through many toils, dangers, and adventures, Tristran travels, fighting off witches, princes, lions, and the unknown. During these many days and nights of adventure, he and the star slowly fall in love--another halting factor in Tristran's love for Victoria. By the end, the fate of the star, Victoria, and Tristran's real mother, balance precariously on the difficult choices and decisions young Tristran must make.
Overall, the main plot-line is an enjoyable read and Gaiman has some spectacular descriptions, but the book is strictly "adult fantasy". I should have researched that earlier and perhaps I would not have been taken by surprise by the adult situations and insinuations. This book is, in my opinion, inappropriate for any children, teens, YA, and Christian readers. We are to dwell on "...whatever things are noble...true...just...pure...lovely, [and] whatever things are of good report..." (Phil. 4:8). Stardust has explicit adult content, severe swear words (both American and British), and (sadly) a fizzle-out ending.
I enjoy the movie-version much more and do not recommend the book (despite it's attractive cover), but hope to find some more promising fantasy in my next read. Meanwhile, speaking of the movie, I'm off to make popcorn.
Violence Level: ***
Romance Level: **** (not really romance, but just focus on the physical)
Christian Focus: *
Readability Level: ***
Story Depth Level: *** (a lot of creativity)