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!
I saw the movie, ran out and bought it immediately!! Then bought the book and loved it too but be warned, quite, quite different. I have listened to the book a number of times and have enjoyed it as much at each reading. Solitary walks along the river with Neil Gaiman reading Stardust or The Graveyard Book - couldn't be better.
I love to read! I love reading even more now with my Audible account. I probably read two to three books a month. And, yes, I have a life!
I enjoyed the movie so much, I couldn't wait to read the book. The book was good, but not as fantastic as the movie. I was a little disappointed that everything happened relatively smoothly in the book without the epic battles as in the movie. But nevertheless, I added the book to my library because it is a good book.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
This really is a fairytale, but not a children's story. The content is definately for adults. But in the best sense of the idea, it is a story that is magical and revealing of the desires that most of us have to be more. Very enjoyable.