As soon as I finished I started over and listened to the whole story again! I've never done that before. Mr. Gaiman's writing style is beautifully descriptive and poetic, and his narration is a treat as well. I was truly delighted!
I love the sound of the author's voice. He makes you relax as you just sit back and imagine everything he says. I will definitely look for more books by him.
Strangely, it was the fact that Neil Gaiman was narrating his own work. He has a nimble and talented narrative style, and he was able to provide voices for all his characters with ease. I say "strangely" because many authors who narrate their own works really should be using a professional narrator rather than reading their own material. Gaiman is a rarity in that (at least as far as Stardust is concerned) his talent as a narrator is well matched to his talent as a writer, which is considerable.
One of Stardust's most memorable moments is actually a series of moments, when the dead brothers' ghosts are present for the murder of all their siblings. It's most amusing when, as ghosts, they launch into commentaries on their own deaths.
Neil Gaiman's narration is exceptional because it provides the listener the unique opportunity of hearing the story exactly as the writer meant it to sound.
A film was made of this book, and the adaptation was wonderful. Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Strong, and Peter O'Toole were in it, as well as Robert DeNiro, who played the most unforgettable pirate on film (including Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, which is *realllly* saying something). I can't begin to think of an adequate tag line.
If you liked the movie, you'll like the book. While the book is a bit darker than the movie, neither is made less by the other. The book adds depth to the movie, while the movie adds quite a few great visuals and a fair amount of humor that the book doesn't have. Either way, I recommend reading the book and then watching the movie. Or vice versa. It's such a fun story, it's hard to imagine one without the other.
on a quest to read Audible's entire nonfiction science section...
I listened to this with my family (12 & 14 yo + Mom & Dad) on a long road trip and it was reasonably good but, and here's a rarity, I actually liked the movie better. I won't ruin anything here, just say that the resolution is not nearly as satisfying and the book lacks much of the humor that made the movie so enjoyable. There's also a rather vivid sex scene that made for a few awkward moments--definitely not for the lower elementary set. Still, it is not promoted as a children's book so that's my responsibility.
We also listened to Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" on the trip and enjoyed that tremendously. This one paled by comparison. I can also highly recommend "Neverwhere" and "Anansi Boys" (one of the best audiobooks ever) but, again, these are not really among Gaiman's works for youth.
"Stardust" is definitely worth the listen if you're a Gaiman fanatic but not the place to start if you're new to him.
If you like fantasy, love story, and adventure, this is a terrific book. Gaiman is such an outstanding storyteller, and hearing him read this makes it even more captivating and fun.
I suspect that my enjoyment of this book was highly influenced by my enjoyment of the movie version, which I have seen many times. The characters are not quite the same; the plot is not quite the same; the setting is not quite the same. I found myself looking forward to an expounded version of the movie, looking for the wonderful details that must have been cut to make the movie. Instead, I learned that some of the details that made the movie so memorable and form an integral part of the movie's plot were only passing details in the book.
So I'm having a hard time reconciling that I was disappointed by the book and yet love the movie so, and rating the book accurately. Would I have been disappointed by the book if I hadn't seen the movie? So, I'm sticking with a non-commital three stars.
About two-thirds of the way through the book, I realized that I was loving listening to Gaiman rather than what he was saying. I do love his simple prose, but the plot just didn't grab me.
SPOILERS: The movie's ending was more satisfying to me because there was more confrontation: the evil witch queen is defeated after a hard-won struggle, Tristran (well, Tristan in the movie) gets his quiet revenge on the boy who was cruel to him by demonstrating his fencing skills, Tristan decides he doesn't want the girl he pined for after all (who, unlike Victoria in the book, purposefully led him on) and tells her so, the romantic story between Tristan and the Star is resolved. In the book, these things are resolved with a quiet maturity: the queen realizes she has no chance to get the star's heart so she admits defeat, there is no confrontation with 'the other man' in Victoria's life, Tristran allows Victoria to do what she wants to be happy, and the romance between Tristran and the star just happens rather than giving a sense of being built up to. While maturity is all well and good, it makes for a bit of a let-down in an ending.
For the most part I won't touch a book that's narrated but its author. Gaiman is the rare exception, he's just disappears into his role as narrator. Tonally he's exactly right for the book.
This is Gaiman in minor key, much smaller and less serious than something like American Gods or even Sandman. It's actually the style I like him best. Here he's creating a new fairy tale, or maybe synthesizing extant fairy tale elements into something new. It's a very simple story: in a fit of romantic pique a boy promises to retrieve a shooting star for the girl he's got a crush on. That promise takes him on a adventure he could have scarcely imagined.
Outlined like that it doesn't sound like the most original thing in the world, but it's just utterly charming. Evokative of every fairy tale you ever loved as a child, it's thrilling and triumphant, and sad and just utterly perfect. It even manages to take a few surprising turns along the way.
I've listened to this a few times and it never fails to delight me.
Like the other reviews state, this is a fairy tale for adults, and a darn good one too! I usually avoid books narrated by their authors but Gaiman is one of a few (I can count them on one hand) authors whom I enjoy listening to. This was my first title by him and I groaned when I saw that he was narrating it (I have been burned by author narrations before!) but now I cant really imagine anyone else narrating it. He just does such a great job! The story is well thought out, you get a bit of everything-romance, adventure, magic, humor, etc, and all the characters are well developed. Its a pretty short listen, but packs a good punch. Add me to the Neil Gaiman fan club!
I love Neil Gaiman's imaginative stories and love even more his unique narration. When you get both in one book - that's a double bonus not to be missed!
I love listening to Gaiman... I wish he could tuck me in and tell me bedtime stories. I enjoyed his performance and the story while not as much as The Graveyard Book which is my favorite of his so far. I couldn't imagine reading his books, however, if they are available on audible with him as the narrator!