Stardust is my third book by Neil Gaiman. I liked Coraline, and disliked American Gods. Stardust is by far my favorite Gaiman book yet. I do admit, from things I’d heard before, I expected this to be much more adult than it was. I agree that this feels more like an adult fairy tale than a young adult fairy tale, but I was expecting a lot more sex and gore (more like American Gods) than I got. There were a couple sex scenes near the beginning, but altogether I thought it was actually pretty tame, and I remember very little violence and gore. So that was a pleasant surprise. Indeed my only real criticism is the handful of fart jokes and the like sprinkled throughout. I don’t like that type of thing.
My favorite part about this book is that it flows so naturally. Whereas American Gods dragged on and on forever and Coraline seemed to wrap up too quickly and easily, this one felt like it had perfect pacing all the way through. It’s different from most books. It doesn’t lead up to a final battle or an epic conflict. The biggest conflict/action scene happened 2/3rds of the way through. It’s very different from the movie, which has an entirely made up ending that I was disappointed with when I saw it. With the book, everything happens very softly. A curse ends at its natural terminal point. A witch and some bad guys are thwarted by chance or their own fatal flaws. Love is discovered gradually. Family isn’t perfect. The book mimicked real life far better than most fantasy-adventure novels. There was something oddly comforting about that.