Stardust by Neil Gaiman: A

From the back cover:
In the tranquil fields and meadows of long-ago England, there is a small hamlet that has stood on a jut of granite for 600 years. Just to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here, in the hamlet of Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. And here, one crisp October eve, Tristran makes his love a promise—an impetuous vow that will send him through the only breach in the wall, across the pasture… and into the most exhilarating adventure of his life.

It was about time I read this! It had only been recommended to me a dozen times.

Stardust is a fairy tale that doesn’t always do what one expects, though sometimes it does. Indeed, there are fantastic lands and a large cast of characters, including a garrulous air ship captain, a scheming poisoner, a wicked witch, a captive bird, a purveyor of miracles in a silk top hat, and little hairy man with a bag of useful objects. The story is more adult than the typical fairy tale, though, as Gaiman manages to incorporate sexuality and violence without either being gratuitous. It is obvious that certain things will happen, but not how they will happen. All of the plot threads intertwine and wrap up neatly.

I absolutely love the ending. The final images of the epilogue are wonderful, the type of conclusion that makes one love the whole that much more. Definitely recommended, especially the unabridged audio read by the author himself.

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