STARDUST by Neil Gaiman

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The village of Wall sits on the border between the mortal world and Faerie.  Usually, guards stand at either side of the break in the wall that separates the village from the faerie meadow.  But once every nine years, the faerie market comes to the meadow at Wall, and the villagers and Faerie folk mingle freely.  It is on one such market day that the ordinary shepherd Dunstan Thorn meets the beautiful young woman, slave of a witch merchant, who is his heart’s desire.  And it is nine months later that an infant is left in the gap between the wall bearing the name Tristran Thorne.

At age 17, Tristran finds a love of his own and vows to retrieve a falling star from Faerie so that Victoria will agree to marry him—or at least to give him a kiss.  But with ancient witches, ruthless assassins, murderous trees, and other strange magics, Tristran’s quest into the land of his birth turns out to be much more challenging and exciting than he expected.

Another awesome Neil Gaiman audiobook narrated by Neil Gaiman!  Stardust is a true fairytale romance for adults.  Gaiman draws on the tropes and laws of traditional faerie lore to craft a compelling and dangerous magical world.  As usual, his storytelling is masterful; he brings together numerous plotlines and resolves them in complex, unexpected, yet perfect ways.  One word I will say against Stardust as an audiobook: Gaiman has a habit of writing some excruciatingly long and confusing sentences.  This is more of an issue in his adult books than his children’s books, and there were definitely a few points where I was jerked out of the story as I tried to decipher what exactly all of the clauses in the last sentence meant.  But it was not egregious, and I still think that Gaiman’s marvelous reading enhanced the story on the whole.

If you liked Stardust, you might like William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, or Cornelia Funke’s Reckless.

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