A long time ago, I read Neil Gaiman’s series of Sandman graphic novels. I was introduced to them by a friend and it was against my better judgement that I started to read them. Making an early start on my career as an intellectual snob, I reckoned they weren’t going to be up to much. Boy was I wrong! I really enjoyed the stories, the characters and the clear and shining light that is Gaiman’s imagination. As a result, I had been meaning to read one of Gaiman’s novels for quite some time now.
So when looking at the genre of Urban Fantasy for The Eclectic Reader Challenge on Goodreads and I realised that I was able to choose a Gaiman, I was really pleased. I chose the one that I already had on my shelf, Stardust.
This book is quite different from what I would normally read, taking the form, as it does, of an adult fairy tale. It is a simple story but it also has depth and as with all good fairy tales it contains lessons and, of course, a happy ending.
There is a pleasantly old fashioned feel to the book. It is set in Victorian times and the folklore and mythology that is referred to seem apt for this setting. The theme of going on a quest for your heart’s desire, only to discover that it is something different from what you thought is also a tale that has been told for a long time. Yet Gaiman manages to give it a new and interesting twist.
What I really enjoyed about this novel was Gaiman’s style and the to
ne of the writing which was perfect for the telling of a fairy tale. It is like sitting down around a campfire and being told a tale that you could al
most half believe in, by that friendly fellow traveller who looks like he might have lived out the story he is telling. In fact, you leave this novel longing for a
place such as faerie to exist – how the inhabit
ants of Wall manage to exist knowing that the faerie lands are right next door is beyond me.
Having said all that, this is not a genre I am particularly fond of and while this was a fun read, I’m not sure that I would be interested in reading much more like it. I prefer my fairy tales to be darker, if truth be told and I’m not very good with happy endings either. As this is a fairy tale, the characters are quite simple and while that obviously fits with the genre, I prefer my heroes to be, at the very least, ambiguous.
4 thoughts on “Eclectic Reader Challenge – Urban Fantasy – Stardust by Neil Gaiman”
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P.S. I am glad to meet a fellow Goodreader member. I joined finding that the posted reviews on a few of the new released books where more entertaining to read than the actual book. On dublin Street by Samantha Younge was reviewed by a Rachel (BAVR) and the review had brought out the laughter I felt left a long time ago. If you get curious you can read it here http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/430679707
I have found her reviews quite helpful. She seems to have good insight into what contents a inspiring writer may want to use or avoid doing.
Sometimes against our better judgement even the basic stories told by a different kind of medium can move you. I am in my thirties and I love mange. I am even become a member to three groups involved in manga. You mentioned the graphic novel and I was compelled to suggest two worth a mention. Anatolia Story also known as Red River http://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=1481 won awards for it’s story. At first I wasn’t sure I could get through the rough imsges but the story compelled me to read on. After a while I couldn’t get enough. You can read it on line you can read it here online http://www.mangareader.net/388/red-river.html There are other places but this is a good site for the most part. The other one I want to mention is Akagami no Shirayukihime (A.K.A. Red-haired Princess Snow White) for infomation on it http://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=16482 It is my number one favorite and I read ALOT (around 4,000+ known titles thus far). I actually believe it to contain one of the top ten kissing sceens ever in manga. You can read it here http://www.mangahere.com/manga/akagami_no_shirayukihime/ I truely believe this one was made for Disney. The down side is that it is stll ongoing so you can’t quite yet place it into their Princess’ catagory just yet. It is still quite good.
The thing I love about manga is the ability to drawn the emotions on a character’s face. I have been facinated by their ability to depict emothional expressions and the mode of the scenes with accuracy. Manga and other similar modes of writing/storytelling are often scuffed at by many beliefs that they are only for younger readers. I beg to differ. Many of these artist have been trained foe many years under an artist before they venture out on their own. Some even span their life time perfecting their love for it.
As always…. Keep being inspired.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll check them out.