{Bookworm Reviews} Neil Gaiman’s “Stardust”

Image by Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Stardust is a novel by Neil Gaiman about a boy who fell in love with a star…literally.

But be not mistaken, this is not a romance novel. It is rather filled with adventure, lightning pirates, witches, scheming princes, slaved princesses and knowing trees. The story opens in a city not far from London called Wall around 1865 – named after you guessed it, a giant, spiraling wall. This wall separates our world from the magical world of Faerie, home to mythic creatures and things as well as the Kingdom of Stormhold.

Believe me, as it sounds, it is a quintessential fantasy novel. There is, however, one major failing – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – the movie was better.

*gasp* There I said it. *runs and hides from the literary police*

The main reason I prefer the film to the book?

The book is anti-climatic: there are no big battles, no major sword fights or demise of witches by starlight. Rather, the book builds up and ends with some simple conversations and deaths by poison; not very exciting.

This saddened me because I saw Stardust the film, before I read the book, and I was so excited to gain a better perspective of the film through the book. I feel, to a certain extent, with the exception of a few explanations here and there, I was grossly let down.

I got the same understanding of the history of Princess Una, Victoria the plain beauty of Wall, the seven royal brothers of Stormhold, the Star and Trist(r)an’s history in the book, as I did in the film.

The distinctive differences I appreciate from the film versus the book are as follows:-

  • Dunstan Thorn – I love the fact that in the movie Trist(r)an’s parents are reunited, he is an only child and doesn’t have a crappy stepmother or annoying sister.

  • The Witch Sisters – okay, so maybe it’s because Michelle Pfeiffer is amazing, or maybe because there is some magic and lots of action when they are on the screen, but I do love the witches in the movie. They are featured very little in the book and are part of the anti-climatic ending being anti-climatic. In the film, the witch sisters create the climax; they are true villains and really push the other characters, unlike the book.
  • The Pirates and Captain Shakespeare – pretty much exclusive to the film, Captain Shakespeare has scenes riddled with swashbuckling drama and the clashing of metal to the music of a glorious piano or Orpheus in Hades. I love it. The book has a couple scenes with the lightening catchers but not much.

However, I will say I was pleased with the character of Septimus as much in the book as in the film. He’s devious, quick, intelligent and incorrigibly dashing. Given much more face time in the film as opposed to the novel , he’s a fabulous addition to the character list.

I definitely recommended seeing the film above the book. However, if you are like me, and like to get the “full effect” – or if you are curious on a rainy afternoon with nothing to do, grab the book and read it. You shall be entertained.

Stardust the book – 3 of 5 stars
the film – 4 of 5 stars


Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.