I was also blessed to find Neil Gaiman’s novel Stardust in the format illustrated by Charles Vess at the library recently. With the full title of Stardust, Being A Romance Within The Realms of Faerie, it contains all the magic such a setting brings and surpasses expectations in content and delivery. It blended both men’s strengths in a book that should stand among their most accessable, superb and enjoyable works.
Gaiman never fails to impress me with his expert prose and sense of inventive storytelling. In Stardust he provides his signature wit and a plot that is rather unexpected. Rather than dealing with a typical romance of faerie stories, Gaiman exposes misguided ambition and preconceptions through a journey that carried me along and kept me from putting the book down for long.
Vess’ illustrations bring the story to life in a very fitting way. His style matches Gaiman’s as well as any artist, and this is very obvious in the gentle way the images emphasize the story, rather than lead the story or try to keep up with it. They make a perfect partner to the prose at every turn, strengthening characters and clarifying scenes but never becoming unnecessary or filling in too much of what is not said in the text of the book.
Stardust is a wonderful introduction to Gaiman and Vess’ works, and a beautiful story in its own right. If you’ve been starving for wit, beauty or fine storytelling, look no further. This is worth searching your local book and comic stores for.

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