After watching the movie Stardust, I was compelled to read the book on which the movie was based on. Neil Gaiman, from the extras that were on the DVD, came up with the premise of the novel one day while travelling in Ireland. He saw a wall with a hole in it, and began thinking what would be on the other side of that wall... and the land of Faerie was born.
I really like Gaiman's style of writing. The narration flows quite easily, and the worlds of Faerie and Wall are developed through his descriptions and dialogue, warmth and humour. It's an easy read, and it reads like a fairy tale. In fact, if you took out the three or so not-so-suitable-for-children references, you definitely can read this to a child, although, it is clearly an adult-fairy tale. I definitely could imagine everything in my mind while reading Gaiman's prose, even if the images rendered were from the movie, for the most part.
I won't explain the plot, but you can read it on Wikipedia if you're curious. But I have to say that looking for a fallen star (in the form of an adult woman) was certainly a very interesting and fresh premise, and that helped make this story unique. Well unique to me as my exposure to fantasy novels are almost nil. In any case, I don't think I've ever run across a premise like this in either books or film.
There are some similarities and differences between the book and the movie, but I don't know if I really could say if I preferred one over the other. I do feel that both the book and the movie can stand on its own. The movie has a Hollywood bent, and that is very apparent when compared to the book, but both have their own charms. The adventures that Tristan and Yvaine experience in the book were very different, but this allowed for a better and satisfactory plot development and the eventual blossoming of their relationship. Lilim (the witch), doesn't die at the end, but neither can she touch Yvaine's heart, because Yvaine had given it to Tristan by that point; it's no longer Lilim's (or anyone else's) to take as Tristan now owns the heart. Very clever.
I liked Tristan and Yvaine just as much in the book. There were also some characters in the book that didn't show up in the movie, but this is typical of most movie adaptations. And even though some of the character portrayal were different from the movie, I was satisfied with the different fates of the characters. I was sad in the end though, because Tristan, being mortal, does die, and Yvaine, unable to return to the sky, is left all alone. Babylon Candles aren't able to solve Yvaine's dilemma this time around, but I still liked the ending, because life isn't always fair, which makes it believable.
But still, Gaiman has made a fan of me. Two thumbs up!
A little spoof I found, for your entertainment...