Are you ready to get the moon and the stars for your lady? Don’t tell her that, as your lot might be like Tristan Thorn’s. Then again, do tell her that and hope that your lot might be exactly like Tristan Thorn’s.
For “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman is a story which gives the term “star-crossed lover” quite a new meaning.
Tristan Thorn of the village of Wall is unaware of a big secret: he was born beyond the “wall” (which gives the village its name), in the realm of Faerie. Growing up to be a normal young man, he faces the nightmare of every lovelorn man. His “love of the life” challenges him to live up to his words, and get a fallen star they have seen together for her. Tristan goes beyond the wall and enters the realm of Faerie for the promise and his love.
Of course, things in Faerie are not like the normal world, and the star is a beautiful woman called Yvaine. Unfortunately, Tristan is not alone in his quest. The star’s fall is caused by a topaz called “Power of Stormhold”, which marks the mastery of Stormhold. Hence three living sons of recently-deceased lord of Stormhold are searching for it. And a witch queen called Lilim wants to carve the living heart out of the star to regain her youth. So now Tristan has to race against time, magic, evil and desire of power to earn his love of life.
Tristan is a young man set to do everything to earn his love, and it shows. But it is what he does not know which saves his life more than once (one of his parents is from beyond the wall, and he inherits some surprising powers). He gets aid from some interesting quarters, though the star he is to bring back is not exactly a happy companion. And although he is fated to get his “Heart’s Desire” because of a boon his father got, you never know what that is exactly, do you?
Yvaine, the star is having a really bad time. She is hit by a topaz which makes her fall to earth, and which she has to carry till someone asks for it. She has broken her leg in the fall, and the first person she meets binds her to himself with a magic chain. Her life doesn’t get any better as she is hunted by a witch queen who wants her heart. All in all, you know why she spends most of her time being really grouchy.
The witch queen Lilim is, in short, evil through and through. Being a witch queen, she is not exactly beholden to think about people in her path, and she smashes her way through the book with aplomb.
The potential lords of Stormhold are not so much different in their quest of power. Initially seven sons of the Lord (named in order one to seven), there are now only three due to their “internal differences of opinion”. And of course, the youngest one is not ready to allow anybody else to trample his rights, be it the Lordship or the right to kill his brothers.
Overall, “Stardust” is quite an interesting tale set in an interesting realm, with talking trees, intriguing inhabitants, flying ships, evil witches. Not to mention likeable characters including a lovesick hero and a star who is desperately not having the time of her life, and hateable characters like Lilim and Dishwater Sal. The book (and especially the graphic novel) is a bit of PG-18, as for starters we get to see how Tristan was conceived at the start, and later the action is not exactly G. But all that is quite light-hearted, as jokes and humour is abundant throughout.
This seems to be the season of books-to-movies. First there was “Bridge to Terabithia” released in February, then “300” in March, not to forget “Order of the Phoenix” last month. And now there is “Stardust” coming this week, and so is “The Last Legion” next week.
“Stardust” is a graphic novel, later converted into a novel, and now converted into a film. I liked it in first two formats, while the trailers show that I will the third too. What else can you expect with Michelle Pfeiffer playing the evil (but very sexy to start with) witch queen (not to mention Robert de Nero playing a captain of a ship)?
Quote of The Day:
And you’re a clodpoll, and a ninny, a numbskull, a lackwit and a coxcomb!