Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall—named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining. —Harper Perennial, 1997
Stardust is a Gaiman fairy tale full of witches, oaths, and puns. Like most classic fairy tales, the characters aren’t developed past their motivations for wanting the fallen star. There is a witch who wants it to make her and her sisters young again and three princes who want it to secure their place as king. Tristran, the main protagonist, wants the star to make a vapid girl love him, making it hard to root for him to be the first to get it.
Tristran’s lack of surprise and intrigue about living in a town that borders a magical kingdom, assumedly due to his youthful naivete or just years of living so close to magic, hampers the awe and amazement of the sights and creatures he comes across when he crosses into that magical kingdom.
Tristran’s actions show he is a kind, well-meaning boy, but the story’s lack of dialogue, self-reflection, and danger doesn’t adequately show his growth into the mature man that returns to the town of Wall from his light-hearted adventure. –Borrow it.
The visual montages, dialogue, and humor of the 2007 movie adaptation of the same name, starring Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, and Michelle Phieffer does a great job of giving the characters more dimension and showing Tristran’s growth into a man.