Denver News Stardust Review

mehitabelcat posted a review of Stardust from the Denver News:

( Denver Rocky Mountain News )

By Neil Gaiman (Avon Spike, 256 pages, $22).

Here is a really strange anecdote: On the night of Dec. 13, I finished reading Stardust, Neil Gaiman’s marvelous new fantasy about what happens when a backwoods adolescent captures a personified fallen star in the land of faerie. On Dec. 14, I went for a run (see also “shuffle’ ‘ and “stumble”) at 5 a.m., which I do almost every day. In a period of 45 minutes, I saw 13 meteors. In all the years I’ve staggered about in the dark, I’ve never seen more than three in one day, and that only once. Most days I don’t see any. Is this some kind of omen or what? I don’t know, but I thought it was worth sharing. The story starts out in Wall in rural England. The village is so named because of a wall that borders it. There is only one opening in the wall, and that is guarded night and day by the menfolk of the town. For one day every nine years, the gate is open for the market that is set up by the faeries, elves, dwarves and other supernatural folk that live on the other side. What young Tristan Thorn, raised in Wall by his father and a woman he thinks is his mother, doesn’t know is that he is the result of the dalliance between his human father and a faerie queen at one of those market gatherings. He is sent away to visit relatives and misses the market when he is nine. Eight years later, he falls in love with Victoria Forester, the most beautiful girl in the village. One night he and Victoria witness a falling star, and Victoria promises him his heart’s desire if he will find the star and return it to her. Tristan is first shocked when the guards at the gate allow him to pass into the forbidden area where the star must have landed.

But his shock is even greater when he discovers that the “star” is not a hunk of rock or metal, but a beautiful young woman whose leg has been broken in the fall. After he captures her, treats her leg and begins the arduous journey back home, he learns that he is not the only one who wants the “star.’ ‘ It seems that her heart is the secret of youth for three evil witches, and a precious stone she wears is the symbol of rule for the seven murderous brothers of Stronghold. In the adventures that follow, Tristan comes of age and learns what love is really all about. I looked up “classic” in the dictionary and couldn’t find how long it takes for a work of literature to become one. One definition is “a standard of excellence.” In the world of fantasy, Stardust certainly qualifies.

……. “Life is the lust of a lamp for the light that is dark till the dawn of the day when we die.” ACS