The town of Wall stands at the edge of Faerie, and no one ventures past the wall of the city, except during a festival that happens only occasionally. Tristran Thorn is different, though. He's in love with a village girl named Victoria Forester. One night they see a falling star and he vows to bring it to her. Tristran steps through the gap in the wall and into an adventure complete with ghosts, unicorns, witches and, oh yes, a fallen star.
I read this immediately after Orson Scott Card's "Enchantment," so I got my dose of fairy tale fare. Luckily I enjoyed both of them greatly.
Gaiman's "Stardust" is a rousing tale of adventure that takes everything I liked about his first solo novel, "Neverwhere," and improves on it.
This story features likeable characters and an interesting enough story, but what really makes it special is the way it captures the fairy tale atmosphere. The characters and settings are exaggerated and over-the-top just like the classic fairy tales, but at the same time Gaiman manages to avoid being cliched and silly.
After reading "Neverwhere," I was convinced Gaiman was going to do big things in the fantasy genre. "Stardust" only reinforces that belief. Whether you're a fan of Gaiman's comic work, or whether you've never heard his name, this is a book you shouldn't miss.