Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review Wednesday by Kim

By Neil Gaiman (1998)

Review By Kim

I usually think it’s a bit pretentious to start your book with a poem, but “Song” is almost certainly not one of John Donne’s deeper musings. Certainly the first line – “Go, and catch a falling star” – fits the story of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust admirably, though I definitely missed the second – “Get with child a mandrake root” – in the text. Possibly I should have been reading between the lines more.

The story is one of those olden times fairy tales I feel obliged to use words like “enchanting” to describe. It’s all very mythically magical with Good and Evil generally quite disparate and suitably adorned.

There’s kings and witches and boys attempting to sell donkeys with dubious results. There’s stars and the moon and slavery. There’s corruption and power and true love. Something for everyone, really. Except those who dislike fantasy. They’re a bit hard pressed, really.

Having seen the movie ages ago, I had a fairly accurate idea of how The End might come about, but thoroughly enjoyed the journey. It was rapid – the language is by no means challenging – but worthwhile.

And besides, I have a soft spot for stories with chapters entitled “In Which …” It’s reassuring knowing someone besides a poet is in charge of the prose.

Thanks, Kim-- a good review to kick off BRW for 2011!


Anonymous said...

Buy the original version illustrated by Charles Vess.
All of Gaiman's text is there, and Vess' paintings are exquisite.

Ben McLaughlin said...

I used to quite like Charles Vess, though not so much these days. I was a massive fan of Bone, and I still like the spinoff he did for that.