Saturday, February 7, 2009


by Neil Gaiman
Tristran Thorn believes himself hopelessly in love with Victoria, the most beautiful girl in the village of Wall. He's young and innocent. She's full of herself and a tease. "I'll travel to China and bring you back your weight in gold," he says to her, if she'll only give him a kiss.

She smiles demurely while watching the stars in the night sky, one of which was falling in a bright streak over the horizon. "Bring me back that star and I'll let you."

And thus begins Neil Gaiman's adult fantasy adventure about a boy who travels into the land of Faerie. A place Tristran somehow feels akin to, but doesn't know why. All in search of that requested token, the star, to buy Victoria's affections. Or so he thinks. What he finds there, on the horizon, is something else entirely.

What did I find while reading this book? An entertaining, swash-buckling adventure, with many Grimm brothers, sort of fairy tale undertones. Gaiman's writing is simple and fun, and even though I felt its second half was too rushed, I grinned more than once while reading it.

I saw the movie first and loved it. I assumed the book to also be teen fare. It is not. This is an adult fairy tale. There's sex. There's some pretty gruesome violence. Some of which was a bit jarring. I wasn't expecting it, like I wouldn't expect a whimsical version of Cinderella to include a scene with her and the prince "doing it" and her evil stepmother lying in a "pool of her own blood". But with that being said, how many of the original fairy tales were like their purified Disney versions? Ah, very few.

I'm glad I read it, but I'll probably stick with the movie version. In my opinion, it's just a little better. And Robert DeNiro dancing in a dress with a faux mole on his cheek? That's just the gravy on the creamy mashed potatoes. Priceless. 3 Stars


Bryce and Mandy said...

I haven't read the book but I did see the movie just this past weekend. It was better than I thought it would be. Pretty funny. I especially liked the ghost princes.

Lula O said...

Those ghosts were funny. They're thankfully in the book too. Other parts weren't in the book though, like the part on the ship. That was barely glossed over in the book, nothing like in the movie, and I was disappointed about that.