|Neil Gaiman: Stardust|
Spike (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-80455-7
Stardust is incomparable, unique in the genre.
Wall, the town of the Tristran Thorn's birth, lies on a granite promontory in England. Wall received its name from the physical wall that separates it from a meadow and the forest beyond. In the wall itself, there exists one small opening guarded by two guards to prevent passage from Wall to the meadow -- except to those with a certain fey look about them. Every nine years a faire occupies the meadow, and the citizens of Wall can pass freely through the opening to join in the revels. Of course, the faire, meadow, and the land beyond belong to Faery.
Born of an alliance between his father and one of the Fair Folk, Tristran grows up ignorant of his heritage. When he reaches his late teens, he becomes infatuated with the beautiful Victoria Forester. He walks her home one evening. They see a falling star and Tristran makes a rash promise that takes him through the wall and sends him adventuring in Faery. His adventures force him down many strange and unusual paths, introduce him to some of the eccentric denizens of Faery and teach him things might not be exactly who or what they seem -- and that danger comes in many forms.
Ordinarily, I would write of character, plot, and setting. Not with a book like Stardust -- not that I ever encountered another books like this one. The complexity of the plot twines around the characters, making them inseparable, one and the same, until they combine with the setting and produce a marvelous synthesis, a seamless whole.
All I need to say can be said in one sentence. If you love unusual quest fantasy, great writing, distinct originality, and a sublimely satisfying read, then grab this book.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the contemporary PS, I've Taken a Lover, is available from Lionhearted Books.
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