The movie Stardust came out three years ago. I was hesitant at first, being a natural born skeptic towards fantasy. Sure, I’d read all the Harry Potter books multiple times. I had also forced myself through Lord of the Rings, though I prefer the movies (shame on me). I might even have read a few more fantasy books and certainly watched several other fantasy movies, and it is safe to say that I enjoyed both. But I was nevertheless convinced that fantasy wasn’t my thing. So Neil Gaiman shouldn’t be either.
Since I loved the movie so much, I was definitely hesitant to read the book. I almost always love the book better than the movie whenever I get the chance to compare, and I didn’t want what I assumed would be an awesome book to ruin what was soon becoming my favourite “feel good” movie. Thus I avoided the book for a long time, even though several of my friends read it and loved it.
I had come to the conclusion, however, that I might not be as opposed to fantasy literature as I had led myself to believe. Thus I asked a good friend of mine (who is an avid fantasy fan) to recommend a book within the genre. Her suggestion was Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Now, American Gods may not be your typical fantasy novel, but it sure is a very good novel. After having read it, I was convinced that I wanted to read more of Gaiman’s books, and so I read The Graveyard Book (which I loved), and Fragile Things (which was okay, but I have never been fond of short stories). I still avoided Stardust. The book, that is. The movie I’ve seen a number of times.
Then, a few weeks ago I was in the market for a nice and friendly read. I went to a bookshop and the book that stood out from all the rest I looked at, was, indeed Stardust. I decided to give it a chance after all, hoping that I wasn’t ruining one of my favourite movies. As it turns out, I wasn’t.
Neil Gaiman did not write the script for Stardust the movie, but he was involved in the process. The movie still has Gaiman’s fingerprints all over it, but there were made certain changes both in plot, structure and characters. Being so familiar with the adaption I had a hard time not comparing the book with the movie when reading. Usually it goes the other way around. You watch a movie after having read the book, and you flinch at every detail the movie makers changed. This time I flinched whenever there were details in the original book that mismatched with the movie adaption.
One thing that threw me off was the ending. I knew that the book had a different conclusion than the movie, but it was different different. That's all. I'm not going to say what made it different, or why this made me unhappy (I'm going to allow you the courtesy of watching the movie and read the book yourself, and then figure out which ending you preferred. See how nice I am?).