Reviewed by Marcus Hammond

As adults, most of us have heard of a Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The themes that inspire such magical tales, whether it is the innocence and chivalry of Snow White or the dark magic of Hansel and Gretel, create a sense of wonder in the reader (or listener in many cases). Many of these tales are considered classics and are often retold or reread. In this world of classic, magical tales Neil Gaiman created Stardust in 1997.

Fifteen years after it’s original publication, Stardust has been re-released in a special hardcover cloth gift edition that includes new artwork and a short story titled “Wall: A Prologue”.

Tristan Thorn is a young boy, who is madly and deeply in love with a young girl from his village. On a clear night in the village of Wall, the two teenagers watch a star fall from the sky, far beyond the protective wall that provides the village with its namesake. In a moment of intense desire Tristan promises to bring his love the star in return for her love. The only problem Tristan seems to face is the location of the star. The village elders have specifically barred its citizens from entering Faerie for their own protection, so Tristan seemingly is at a loss at how to obtain the fallen star. His father, Dunstan, knows, however, that Tristan is a product of an intensely passionate tryst he once had with a denizen of Faerie. Understanding that Tristan’s quest is one guided by fate, Dunstan helps his son enter the forbidden land of Faerie.

As Tristan embarks on his quest other forces align to track down the rare fallen star. An evil witch and her sisters desire the star because after falling it takes the form of a young woman whose heart holds the key to eternal youth. On another path, a power hungry man seeks the star because she holds the key to his ascension as king of one of the Faerie kingdoms. Tristan not only must face the dangers these two villains create in their attempts to sate their greed, but also the many wild creatures that make up the land of Faerie.

Gaiman’s fairy tale is at times violent and twisted, but ultimately shines as it develops into a heartwarming tale of true love. Fairy tales might be for children, but Neil Gaiman proves it’s fun to be reminded of the excitement and warmth a good fairy tale can create.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

After obtaining a Masters in Liberal Arts and Literature Marcus has dedicated most of his time to teaching English Composition for a community college in the Midwest. In his down time, he spends time avidly reading an eclectic selection of books and doing freelance writing whenever he gets the chance. He lives in Kansas with his wife.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.