Stardust – Neil Gaiman.
All thanks to our impromptu Book club meet that I came across this awesome book by Neil Gaiman, my first from him and I am totally bowled over by his imagination. Trust me when I say this that this little gem of a book actually gave me the same kind of pleasure what I last got from Harry Potter (series) and Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is indeed that great, although way bit shorter (hardly 200 pages) but he has wrapped up so much in these many pages that I wished he had written a huge huge book with great details. The mysterious setting, visual spectacle of a background, magical characters, super kool gadgets, Witches, Princes(s), King, Lovers and on top of that a falling star which is the best part about the entire story. It had so much wrapped up in the little book which took me no time to finish but it will definitely become one book that I will never forget and will read it again for sure. I have never read a book twice barring of-course (To Kill a Mockingbird – no one can come close to Atticus Finch). But this one, I am definitely reading again and eagerly waiting for its prequel as he has promised to write it one of these days, if not a sequel for sure. Before this book, I had no idea what actually Neil Gaiman wrote and as is I practice never to learn a review or even a blurb before picking up the book I want to read, this was a big big surprise and now I will be hooked on to his writing(s) till I finish all his books one by one.
Stardust is a terrific love story cum fantasy story of Tristran Thorn, his entire life is a big mystery. A simple boy who works at a grocery store one days falls in love with beautiful Victoria Forester, hilarious is the way he proposes her and makes a thousand promises if only she will accept his love. What she asks him is nothing else but a fallen star and his journey starts. The poor simple guy who is good at heart actually crosses the “Wall” beyond which no one has ever stepped out for 100’s of years. The only respite in the life of the villagers is a “Market” which takes place every nine years. I don’t want to disclose much but this all takes place in the very initial 20 odd pages and he sets his course for the terrific journey ahead. There are two more parallel (very interesting) tracks too, three almost four hundred year old Witches almost at the end of their life-time need a heart of a star to revive their youth and powers which they are losing by the day. A King, whose kingdom is right across the “Wall” is on his deathbed, with three of his sons dead out of seven. The rein of kingdom will go to that surviving son who will fetch him the Topaz he throws in the same direction where the star falls from the sky. And the hunt begins. How their paths criss-cross or do they have a history of relations earlier too makes up for a very interesting and intriguing story. It has everything as I said from Magic to terrific (lovable) characters to the eye popping situations. I totally loved it and the way it all ends was beyond my wildest imagination but was very pleasing.
If you have read the book, do let me know how you like it and if you haven’t read it or are as ignorant fool as I am to have missed Neil Gaiman so long, you better get this and read it ASAP. You have no idea what you are missing in life. Also, keep an eye on the Epilogue, Prologue, Credits and Question Answers in the end of the book – they are totally Hahalarious. Neil Gaiman has some sense of humor and I am totally in love with the guy and his work(s). Looking forward to read all of his works like NOW, do let me know what I should read next.
Movie Adaptation: As I sat reading the book, a friend told me about its movie adaptation too and I got it before I started to read the book (as usual). If you have read the book and watching the movie in comparison with the book, its a big heart-break (as usual) but if you watch it as an individual attempt, its damn good and a visual treat. On top of that they have roped in Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer and host of other stars, even the current Super-Man plays a character. I saw the movie with my kiddo (11 years) and even she loved it, as it came highly recommended and I actually wanted to give faces to the characters as I imagined. Mostly it worked but the movie feels like a very fast forward version of the story and they have made quite big changes in the story too, I wonder why they feel their audience is not so smart to make out the story on their own and end up explaining everything through a voice over, time constraint may be. But I am glad that the even the voice over was done by Gandalf (LOTR) / Magneto (X-Men) that put a wide smile on my face. But the climax takes the cake, they have done it very well almost at par with the book or even better visually at least. The setting of the village, The Wall, The Market, Journey and the Beautiful Star, were something that I will never be able to forget. A must watch if you loved the book but be ready for the liberties that they take to make a movie out of a book.