Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest..
The story starts in a small English town called Wall, which was named so after the great wall separating England from the magical land of Faerie. Every nine years the Faerie market comes to the other side of wall. Our adventure begins when Dunstan Thorn makes his way to the Faerie market and meets Una, a princess made captive by a witch. Although Dunstan was there to buy a glass snowdrop for the girl who is soon to be his fiancé, he can’t help but feel attracted to Una and sneaks off to see her later that night.
Dunstan marries Daisy, the girl who he bought the snowdrop for, but nine months later they are surprised by a baby being delivered to their doorstep. A note says it’s Dunstan’s son and that he is named Tristran.
Fast forward eighteen years and we meet grown up Tristran, who is a slightly strange young man with an undying love a girl named Victoria Forester, the most beautiful girl in town. Although Victoria has no intention of ever having any sort of relationship with Tristran, she promises to marry him if he succeeds in bringing her a fallen star. Tristran takes this promise seriously, although Victoria didn’t expect he would, and crosses into Faerie.
We soon learn that Tristran is no ordinary boy. Not only are his ears lightly pointy on one side, he always seems to know where he is and where he’s going. He knows where the star is and he is determined to find it. However, he is not the only one in pursuit of the star. For the king of Stormhold has decided that the son that finds ‘The Power of Stormhold’, a topaz, will become the new king. This stone is the thing that knocked the star out of the sky in the first place. So, where the star is, the stone will be, too. But that is not all for another party searches the star. The three ancient and powerful witches called the Lilim seek the fallen star to eat her heart and become young again.
Luckily, with the help of a small hairy man, Tristran is able to find the star first but it is nothing like he expected. The star is not a clump of rock; it is a young woman called Yvaine. It is now up to Tristran to bring Yvaine back to Wall, offer her to his true love, Victoria, before the sons of Stormhold and the Lilim get to her.
I have mixed feelings about this book.. The book on itself is great. The problem is that I saw the movie first and I probably liked it better than the book itself. *Gasp* ultimate book lover sin, I know. But it’s just that the details that I loved most about the film weren’t in the book. Especially the ‘what do stars do’ bit at the end. In the end of the book there is no big fight and what not and I thought it was a bit of a let down. Also: no vicious-but-not-really homosexual captain?! Eugh. That was my favourite bit!
What I did like was a bit more background on Tristran (not to be confused with Tristan as he was named in the movie). In the movie you have this little scene where his abilities to know the way is named but it is so unremarkable that if you haven’t read the book, you wouldn’t even notice it. Fact is that he is part Faerie and thus possesses special abilities.
Other than that, I think the story is great. I loved the movie when it first came out and I definitely enjoyed reading the book. This is the first book by Gaiman that I’ve read and I think I’m going to have to read more by him. The story is just so very clever, it’s like a look into a new world. Which obviously it is.. but the idea of a magical world existing parallel to ours is amazing. Also, there’s a lot of humour in there which I enjoyed.
I was a bit apprehensive about the sex scene at the very beginning of the book. It was a but like ‘uh.. okay’ but it wasn’t off-putting, I think. It is clear, though, that this book was meant for adults.
All in all, I love the story but I think that the things I love most are the little details from the movie which don’t even happen in the book. Like for instance that one of the brothers bleeds blue blood. I mean, how awesome is that? Because royalty have blue blood? Get it? It’s just such a subtle and clever little detail. I’m sorry that didn’t come from the book. Or did it? I don’t think so anyway.
I give this book a 3 out of 5 because I liked the movie better but it’s still a really great story that I definitely wouldn’t mind reading again.