by Neil Gaiman
, Neil Gaiman has proven that fairy tales are for grown-ups
too. This is a beautiful, magical story. But it is also somewhere
between PG-13 and R (for language, violence, and sexual content). I
remember The Princess Bride being billed as a hot fairy tale, but this
book lives up to the hype.
The story begins in the village of Wall, appropriately named. For just
outside the village is the only gap in the wall between the ordinary
world of Victorian England and the world of Faerie. And that gap is
guarded, day and night, except for one night and one day every nine
years when the Faerie folk set up a market and people from all over the
world go to shop there.
Among the villagers is a youngster named Tristran Thorn, who does not
know the full story of where he comes from, but who knows one thing: the
fair Victoria is the most beautiful girl in the British Isles, if not
the world. And in order to win her hand, he vows to find and bring her a
star fallen to earth. A star that fell, wouldnt you know, on the other
side of the wall, in Faerie country.
Its dangerous enough for a lad like Tristran to be abroad in the land
of Faerie. But he hardly reckons on the star taking the form of a young
woman who vows to make things as difficult as possible for the young
man. Nor does he know about the evil witch queen who wants the star for
reasons of her own...or the family of treacherous princes who are racing
to find the star in order to win a throne.
It is another tightly plotted tale of adventure and fantasy by the
author of Coraline and American Gods. Gaiman has a terrific sense of
humora two-sentence letter near the end of the book was especially
delightful. He also shows surprising compassion for some of the
unlikeliest of characters. And though I had most of the clues figured
out before the end of the story, it was still suspenseful to watch the
characters work them out. And the tale is rich in irony, particularly
surrounding the undoing of the Witch Queen.
I picked it up because I like a good, modern fairy tale. I kept reading
it even though it was more adult than I expected, and by and by it
became the sort of book that I couldnt put down. Neil Gaiman seems to
be a name to watch.
Recommended Age: 15+
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