Book Review – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Stardust

Stardust is a 1998 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It’s been a part of my personal backlog of books to read by the author for a while, and in a lot of ways it was not what I’d been expecting. The story concerns the small village of Wall in England, known for the ancient wall that is its namesake that separates our world from that of the Faerie. The only way to pass through the wall is a small passage, typically guarded to keep village folk from wandering into the unknown. Tristran Thorn, however, is hopelessly in love with the captivating yet disinterested Victoria Forester, and after the two witness a falling star he pledges to fetch it for her in exchange for whatever his heart desires. Though it has landed beyond the wall, Tristran will stop at nothing to fulfill his oath and win Victoria’s heart. This is complicated, however, when he finds that the fallen star is not a celestial rock, but a beautiful young woman named Yvaine, with no interest in coming back with him.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 25, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Lords and LadiesIt’s a Christmas Wednesday! I should probably take a day off, but how often will this come around? I’m barely 15% in to Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, though I’m loving it so far. With a preface from the author declaring it so, this is the first book in the series since The Light Fantastic that you would do well to have read the previous books in the sub-series beforehand. The witches have returned home after their exploits in Witches Abroad, and already it’s hit the fan. Circumstances are still fairly mysterious for me at the moment, but it seems to have something to do with elves, or fae folk, which haven’t been a common or even present thing in the series as far as I can recall.


Recently Finished

StardustI finished reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman last week, and with all said and done I must honestly say I was a little disappointed, though with some caveats. The writing and the characters are simply lovely, with plenty of evocative elements that kept me invested in this lengthy fairy tale. There are some good lessons to be had about being over zealously romantic too. That all being said, the story is almost bereft of conflict. A number of villainous elements are introduced, each of them interesting characters in their own respect, yet except for one scene they don’t really have a significant impact on the characters for the majority of their journey. Conveniences keep the characters out of harm’s way, and that made everything a little less compelling.


Reading Next

Lords and Ladies shall be my last book for the year, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

I hope everybody has a happy Holidays, and very merry Christmas Day.

Until the New Year, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post, or what you’re reading, down below.

WWW Wednesday – December 18, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

StardustCurrently a good ways into reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Of course, this means that I came up short on my little challenge to myself from last week. Can’t say I’m too surprised, but it did motivate me, so it had its intended effect. 67% of the way through in a week’s time, with other books along the way, feels pretty good. That all being said, I’m actually surprised with how much I’m enjoying it, which is saying something since I had no misgivings about it. It’s a more whimsical, lighter read, while still brimming with Gaiman’s imagination. I’m most surprised with how naughty the book is. I don’t think it’s especially explicit, but there’s a lot more sex and risqué descriptions than what its YA-fairy-tale appearance suggested to me.


Recently Finished

Saturday night I finished reading Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. I enjoyed it as a more character-focused novel (as the title suggests), but all the same I do wish the narrative through-line had built up to something a little more climactic. I should have a review up soon.

Marley's GhostI also read through Marley’s Ghost by Harvey Kurtzman et al, which actually has a much more complicated history than I realized. Kurtzman had the idea of adapting Dickens’ story as a comic book back in the 1950s, when the idea of a “graphic novel” was inconceivable. Kurtzman’s adaptation notes were expanded into a full graphic novel for publication in 2017 by Gideon Kendall, Josh O’Neill, and Shannon Wheeler. The result is really lovely. It’s an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, so most of us already know the story, but it appears to use writing lifted right from the original book. The art is also gorgeous. It made me realize why I love this story too: not just for its messages, but also the fact that it’s a ghost story. Hadn’t quite thought of it in such terms so consciously before.


Reading Next

Lords and LadiesDespite the incoming holidays, and my usual brief interlude from reading, I am determined to read one more Discworld novel, Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, before the decade is out. The trick with this is it will really bother me if I don’t get it finished before midnight on December 31st. With the holidays keeping me busy, this may be difficult. This will likely being my last book for the year, period, as well. I’ll save cracking open another graphic novel until 2020 (maybe). Let’s see if I can pull this off, friends.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post, or what you’re reading, down below.

WWW Wednesday – December 11, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

ThrawnI had hoped I might finish Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn by now, but alas, I have just over 100 pages left in the book. This does mean I’ll be done with it very soon, though, so I’m still happy about that. I continue to be compelled by Thrawn’s story and the ways he resolves complicated situations, earning him accolades, but woven throughout this novel is also the story of Arihnda Pryce, a young woman working her way up government ranks, rather than the navy. Since she’s an established character prior to this novel I have been interested in her story, but I have to wonder where it’s all going. I can’t tell if her rise will intersect with Thrawn’s in a more meaningful way, or if her origin was just snuck into this novel because it couldn’t have carried a book on its own.


Recently Finished

Nothing for this week, I’m afraid. Hopefully the only time that will be the case this month.


Reading Next

StardustOver the past few weeks I’ve pointed out a number of books I want to read in December, so lets make this section a little more interesting this week. Not only do I want to read Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Marley’s Ghost by Harvey Kurtzman soon, but I challenge myself to have them both finished alongside Thrawn by next week. Now, I know I haven’t had a perfect track record recently, so I may be overextending myself. I do want to get a non-book related Star Wars post finished before the new movie comes out too. So I accept this may not happen. All the same, I’d just like to at least finish all that I plan to read in December, since all my other personal reading challenges are pretty much bust.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post, or what you’re reading, down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 27, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

ThrawnI’ve gotten a decent start on Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn since last week. I’m a little over 100 pages in at the moment. It really has been a nice change of pace after I was left a little frustrated by the last book I was reading. That being said, the pacing of the story has been surprisingly slow, though not in a bad way. More taking its time. Though I suspect it is all building toward something particular, for now it has been all about Thrawn’s induction into the Imperial Navy and the obstacles he deals with as an outsider. I particularly like how his perspective is written, as he is always reading the people he’s interacting with, so we get some insight into the expressions he observes in others and what he interprets about them.


Recently Finished

Emotions Explained with Buff DudesAs an additional cleanse of my reading palette I decided to properly read through Emotions Explained with Buff Dudes by Andrew Tsyaston. It is a collection of the author’s online comic strips Owlturd Comix, which you’ve likely come across yourself online at some point. Many, if not most, of the strips collected in this book I had definitely read online before already, but it’s nice to own a physical copy and show support for artists you enjoy when you can. This was mostly why’d I’d picked it up, admittedly, but I did have fun reading through properly. I’ve had it for a while, but for some reason put off reading it.


Reading Next

The Year of the FloodWith only about a month left in the year I keep mulling over what I think I can get through with the limited amount of time I have. I’ve gone over the Christmas-themed graphic novels I’d like to get to, as well as Stardust by Neil Gaiman, but I want to fit in something more if I can. Perhaps I should see if I can squeeze in The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. I’ve been meaning to continue the MaddAddam trilogy for years now, yet each time I make a list I never get around to it. I can’t guarantee I will get to it, but perhaps I will try in December.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 20, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Oof, this is going up late, isn’t it? Nothing I’m currently in the middle of, which is part of why this is going up so late. My schedule is a weird, tiresome, mess sometimes. I need a bit of a mental palette cleanser.


Recently Finished

Dreams of Terror and DeathI have finally finished Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft. Oh boy, do I have polarizing feelings about this book. I can’t quite remember the last time I struggled with a book that I still concede has enjoyable and artful qualities. Such an awkward spot to be in. The bulk of the reading over the last week was the story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” the longest in the collection. While there are many details I really liked, it also highly exemplified a problem Lovecraft has. He would foreshadow something, seed clues throughout the story that made it obvious to me, then proceeded to keep building up clues and draw out the story and “mystery,” despite the fact that I’d already figured out what was going on. Woof. I should have a review up soon. Need to get some things posted finally. So much for finishing this book in early November.


Reading Next

Marley's GhostThrawn by Timothy Zahn and Stardust by Neil Gaiman are in my near future, but Christmas is fast approaching too. I don’t usually go out of my way to crack open a holiday read, but as it turns out I’ve got a couple that I need to actually get to. The first is Hellboy: Krampusnacht, which is a short issue that has Hellboy clashing with a Satanic Santa-like figure. The other is Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, which is a graphic novel adaptation of A Christmas Carol (my go-to Christmas story, because I go against the grain ;)). I’m going to finally read those this year, I promise. The Christmas Spirit is forgiving, but it’s disappointment in you can be crushing.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 13, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Dreams of Terror and DeathI’m still in the thick of Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft, though I got over a significant hump the other day. After a long series of really short stories I got to “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath,” which as far as I’m aware is one of the better known stories in the Dream Cycle. It’s a strange, often fantastical odyssey that main character Randolph Carter takes through the dream lands of earth, with many callbacks to previous stories. I enjoyed it, but it was also quite an undertaking. This is weird to remark for a story under 100 pages, but it does drag a smidge. The ideas are really good, but I’ve heard many authors say that he’s not the best of storytellers and even though I’ve read some of his stuff before without much issue, I’m really feeling it in this book. It also had no section or chapter breaks, which is a pet peeve of mine, though I’ll not fault him for my idiosyncrasies.


Recently Finished

False KneesOver the weekend I read through False Knees: An Illustrated Guide to Animal Behavior by Joshua Barkman. There’s always a small part of me that questions buying a collection like this, since many of the strips I’ve read as web comics before getting them collected in a book. I mostly bought it to support an artist I really enjoy, but I sincerely enjoyed actually reading through this book too. I love how realistic his art style is, especially in how he also manages to evoke human emotions so strongly with these animals. It’s got me looking at another collection of web comics I bought more for support that I really ought to just sit down and read through as well.


Reading Next

StardustIt’s really getting to that point in the year where I realize I’m probably only going to finish a few more books before the new year, and I’ve got more books left on my scrappy to-read list than I think I can finish. I still intend to read Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, but I want to plan a little past that too. Looking my list over, I’m realizing a lot of the books are newer to my collection, while a few I should have gotten to years ago. With that in mind, a near-future read ought to be Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had that book for many years, and it’s the last of my Gaiman backlog.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.