I'm currently reading Neil Gaiman's awesome novel Stardust as part of a Read-along over at Carl's site Stainless Steel Droppings. This is my third time reading the book and I still adore it. I finally own a beautiful copy seen above. The Read-along answers below are going to have major spoilers so go grab a copy of Stardust. You could really read it in just a day or two. It's quite an addictive little book.
1. We have spent a little time with Tristran and even less time with the star. What are your initial thoughts/impressions of our two protagonists?
I sort of sped through Carl's responses (I usually read them after I write my own) and agree that this time I noticed a similarity between Tristran and Neverwhere's Richard Mayhew. Tristran is quite young and naive - searching for the star for his "true love" Victoria who really doesn't seem to care about him at all. He's quite blind to that little fact. He also seems to not notice little things like when his father allows him to go beyond the Wall and how he's from there. Did he grasp that? I don't think so. I remember when the movie came out and I was a little disappointed in the actor who was picked to play Tristran because he just seemed a little big eyed dumb - but actually it was a good cast because that is what Tristran is at first. This is a journey and a growing-up experience for Tristran...just like Richard Mayhew's journey transformed him. I always loved Star. I think it's awesome how Gaiman describes her and how she's acts. During this part of the book we really don't get much into who she is but from the moment she lands I think we can't help but like and sympathized with her.
2. There are some very interesting potential villains introduced in this first half of the book. Do any of them particularly stand out to you? If so why or why not?
3. In Chapter Three, just after the section with the brothers in Stormhold, Neil Gaiman gives us a description of Faerie that includes “each land that has been forced off the map by explorers and the brave going out and proving it wasn’t there…”. What imaginary lands do you then hope are a part of Faerie?
Hmmmm. Well since Gaiman is British and Wall has a very British feeling, I keep thinking that classic British myths and stories are there: Camelot, Robin Hood, older myths like Brownies, etc. What I thought more about while reading the story though was how in a world like Faerie that is supposed to be huge - it doesn't feel like it at all. The main characters mainly just keep running into each other, like there's really no one else there.
4. We do not get to spend a great deal of time in the market but while there we are given a number of interesting descriptions of the wares being bartered or sold. Which if any of them caught your eye, either as items you would like to possess or ones you would most certainly hope to avoid.
For some reason my imagination doesn't really run that way right now.** Although just like any other market/fair/store I am sure I'd beeline right to the book section. I feel like you could find some kind of magical book. Gaiman must like this because Neverwhere and Stardust both have pretty cool markets that play a part in the story. Although it's not surprising really because back in the day before internet, telephones, etc that was probably how you got most of your news and stories and got to meet people outside of your small community. **I think my crazy head cold thing I've got right now is really interfering with my imagination.
For being a fan of Gaiman, I really haven't read a ton of his stuff: just four novels, the first Sandman comic, and a few short stories. From the Sandman that I remember, it was pretty dark and graphic (pun not intended). I was impressed with his handle of describing the scene in Stardust: you know what happens but it's not too graphic. I prefer this way really and I think it made the quick relationship between Tristran's father and mother even more intimate and special. It made me feel like these two characters were meant to be together - a bit of Romeo/Juliet scenario.
7. And finally, which of the many side characters introduce have caught your eye and why? Or what else about the story thus far is of interest to you?
Head over to Carl's post and check out what he and other people think about the first half of the book. Cheers!