Stardust – Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie

Just finished the “hardcover with images” edition of Stardust. So cute. Well, my definition of “cute.” Not “pokemon cute”, but cute in a “fantastical tale about a man and a woman” way. The hardcover edition is presented as it originally was, with illustrations by Charles Vess. There are currently several versions without them to make it more marketable to adults (plus post-movie versions to milk the horde), but the story is not particularly for kids as it stands, not American kids anyway. Japanese kids would be like, shit, I just saw some samurai get beheaded in my Saturday morning cartoons and the blood spray was 3 feet high. I kid.

In regards to the movie, which I liked, although I thought the actors and dialogue could have been better, after reading the book version, it became pretty apparent that the movie makers took a lot of creative liberties. The story is similar, but also quite different.  Different enough to like both? Yeah, I think so.  Imagine a Venn diagram. There’s actually quite a bit in the mutually exclusive zones. But I think I prefer the book version. It’s just a bit more unique, a bit less generic than the movie, a bit less pretentious, a bit more charming.

Amazon describes Stardust as within the same tradition as The Princess Bride, and The Neverending Story. I can kinda see that. All of those have their charm, too. And Neil Gaiman’s prose is fun and easy to read. It’s written in a way that is easygoing and storybook-like, never taking itself too seriously like a novel, but not exactly reading like a child’s book either. And it looks Neil Gaiman just won a Hugo for it.

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