Author: Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Duration: 6 hrs, 38 mins
Publisher: Harper Audio
Source: Digital Copy for review from Publisher
Description from Goodreads:
Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria Forester - even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone barrier, Tristran learns, lies Faerie . . . and the most exhilarating adventure of the young man's life.
From number-one New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman comes a tale of the dark and miraculous - a quest for true love and the utterly impossible.
Fairy tales were passed down through generations as part of an oral tradition, captured on paper eventually by enterprising souls like the Brothers Grimm. As such, Gaiman's fairly tale comes alive on audio. The format just seems so utterly appropriate for the story. I've also listened to the audiobook of The Graveyard Book, narrated by Neil Gaiman, and this one feels much more intimate, more like he's telling you personally a story. There's just something about this book read aloud.
The strength of Gaiman's writing lies in his world building and his writing, both of which I think are phenomenal. Neil Gaiman, much as I admire him, is not among my very favorite authors because I do not think he does quite so well with characterization, which is my favorite aspect of books. This is most definitely the case in Stardust, but, in audiobook format, this did not bother me or particularly diminish my enjoyment of the story the way it did when I read it myself. This format also really allowed me to appreciate the beauty of Gaiman's prose.
I'm not precisely certain how the Gift edition differs from the other Stardust audio, but it may be the inclusion of a few extras, like an interview with Neil Gaiman. In this interview, Gaiman made some clever observations on audiobooks and how different a reading experience they are. He observed that they can really make a person listen to every single word of the text, rather than skimming through description-heavy passages in favor of action scenes and dialog. This is so true, and precisely why I could develop a slightly stronger appreciation for his writing talent.
So far as the story of Stardust goes, I really enjoy parts of it, like the concept and the wall separating faerie from the human world. Other things are less well done, and, to be entirely truthful, I largely prefer the changes the film made to the plot. The characters come alive on film in a way they don't, and the romance is believable where it really isn't here. I also feel the ending is rather anticlimactic and rushed in the book.
What it really comes down to, though, is that having Neil Gaiman read you a story is a beautiful thing. He has a lovely voice, and he does a great job narrating his stories. If you've struggled with Gaiman in the past or been hesitant to try his books, I would highly recommend the audio versions as perhaps a bit more accessible.