Summary “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman

What we enjoyed:

  • Fairy tale was very well done, also language-wise
  • Plot-twist at the end wasn’t that surprising
  • Different perspectives, well done
  • Characters complex, messy relationships, sassy star, Tristran taking everything in stride, dynamic between them entertaining
  • Favourite scene: Fallen Star –> Swearing, ouch; slapstick moments, touch of realism in that fairy tale world
  • Gaiman is a great storyteller, story well crafted, language fits the setting, special fairy-tale magic in language, language almost feels old-fashioned, sets the tone well from the very start
  • Interesting how our world is combined with the fairy tale world –> primary vs. secondary world interesting
  • Smart story
  • Deals well with stereotypes, fairy tale fantasy subverted, very entertaining moments, climax very well done
  • Character development great
  • Fairy Tale for adults, subverted, very funny
  • Tristran a dick at first, but grew to be cooler, well done
  • No stock characters in the end; also social realist style; beings that could exist in our real world; not just a damsel in distress, a prince, a villain
  • Star also goes through very cool character development, manages to take on a very responsible role in the end; growth
  • Travelling in the end very cool
  • Romance enjoyable
  • Setting: how it is established is very well; references to Dickens is cool –> makes it really realistic; when the story starts (Tristran’s father) stock characters with a stereotypical start; fairy tale is subverted as the main asset of the story
  • Seven Brothers: poison, trickery vs. Female Witch: straightforward knife –> subverting stereotypes
  • Tristran learns that women are more than objects
  • Idea of a Wall cool: Otherworldly crossing over into Fairy, we would like to go to that market
  • Market scene also reminds us of HP 4 where there is this fair before the Quidditch match
  • Tropes are subverted, which is lit
  • Tristan and Iseult reference fun!

What we discussed:

  • Tristran’s father kind of a dick, first chapter therefore not so cool –> meant to introduce Wall & Tristran’s backstory, quite boring –> luckily the book changed ๐Ÿ˜€
  • First chapter meh, took a while to get to the actual characters, first chapter sorta random but needed for the plot twist in the end
  • Kitsch a bit too much in parts
  • Vulgar aspects felt out of place? Fairy tale illusion broken
  • Tristran as focaliser great, glad it’s not his father
  • Some of us prefer other Gaiman novels; “Sandman” has same approach: post-modernist fantasy + horror –> felt more memorable; (whole set in the ULB / German Departmental Library)
  • First chapter fun if read as satyre –> makes fun of all the fairy tale / otherworldly stories
  • Rereading the book: one gets all the clues, sees all the little details –> much more enjoyable thus
  • Tristran not very likeable at first too! He’s kinda dumb?!
  • Compare the depiction of male / female fairies in this one to older and newer depictions; gendered powered dynamics interesting to look at
  • Witches: fit into the setting, very evil, stereotypical fairy-tale, nicely fleshed out, more horror than usual (not very Disney)
  • Tristran: Victorian style makes it hard to really feel, he remained a bit bland
  • Star: interactions with Tristran hilarious, but there was room for more; has voice; insults hilarious
  • Victoria: Tristran holds on to her for far too long –> pre-conceived idea he holds on for far too long; Victoria very pragmatic; hero is an idiot, but she won’t break her promise (even though she all thinks of it as a joke) –> we readers also don’t take Tristran seriously
  • Tristran annoying on his journey, very oblivious to reality!?
  • Omissions throughout the novel weird: What is that Brotherhood? Who are the mentioned adventurers? –> added mystery to the story, but also frustrating that it wasn’t properly explored

Overall impression:

  • 4/5: nice story, good fairy tale, nice character development, not that surprising, great book, enjoyable
  • 5/10 in comparison to other Gaiman works, e.g. “American Gods” or “Sandman”, too kitchy for this person; has some great qualities, but there could be more; but “Neverwhere” was worse?!
  • 3/5 (not finished yet), other Gaiman books are better in comparison? “Neverwhere” was nice though! ๐Ÿ˜€ “Stardust” enchanting, cute, fits the season
  • 3-4/5: fairy tale aspect, bits and pieces of subversion was great, enchanting, very good read during the season, nice in pandemic times to read something happy-going, not too serious and complicated, sweet
  • 3/5: fine, fun, will not be reread in the near future
  • 4-5/5: hilarious, better on the second read, subversions excellent, nice take on fairy tales, enchanting/magical
  • others have yet to finish reading the book ๐Ÿ™‚

Other nice books we read:

  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 (2019) by P. Djรจlรญ Clark: Steampunk Cairo, great, should be longer
  • Sequels to Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale”: very enjoyable, Russian folklore, perfect winter read, makes you feel the cold
  • “His Majesty’s Dragons” by Naomi Novik: heavy focus on military tacticts, politics, fighting with dragons
  • “Dreadnought” by April Daniels: trans superhero โค
  • “The Betrayals” by Bridget Collins: dark, weird, slightly queer?, dystopian!
  • “Lies of Locke Lamora”: great audiobook (in German), fun, great story, well crafted so far, cool characters, heist story nice, cursing wild
  • “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab: used it for a term paper on anti-heroes, liked it a lot, not perfect, but some good aspects, superheroes/anti-heroes, superpowers, villains, turning things upside down
  • “Gideon the Ninth”: sequel with unrealiable narrator even better! “Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space! Decadent nobles vie to serve the deathless emperor! Skeletons” kinda summarises it nicely; Marthe loved it, but beware: it’s 80% confusion!
  • “To Kill A Kingdom”: standalone (great!); first disliked then it got better; really cool, quick read; sirens / mermaids / pirates, NICE
  • “On the Come Up” by Angie Thomas: YA
  • HG Wells “Time Machine”, “Island of Dr. M.”, “Invisble Man”, “War of the Worlds”: great and very influential sci-fi, especially “The War of the Worlds” is great, predict 20th century developments while shrewdly commenting on the Victorian age when he wrote these books!
  • Hemingway “A Farewell to Arms”: experiences during WW1, Italy; feels like a mixture of a travel narrative and a war story, wholesome!??!?! (not during the war parts)
  • “Gun Island” by Amitav Ghosh: climate change, expected more dystopia, touch of magical realism, Venice
  • Podcast about books: “Overdue” — two friends who talk books they had wanted to read for a long time; talk about all kinds of books; “Mist of Avalon”, “Beloved”; great way to experience those books that I always wanted to read but am honestly not gonna read

THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT MEETING! See you tonight at 8pm for the movie night (why not buy some Woki popcorn to get the right BSFG movie night feel?) or tomorrow for our Movie Friday with “Jingle Jangle” ๐Ÿ™‚

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