Fallen Stars and Fallen Djinn

Stardust, by Neil Gaiman – A pretty interesting, if sometimes confusing, journey through the realm of Faerie with the half-fay Tristran Thorn. I think some of the confusion is done on purpose, to give the impression that Faerie is a complicated place where nothing is as it seems, and everything has a magical back story. The main plot was actually fairly simple, and the twist as far as Tristran’s marriage was rather predictable, but the connection to the Lords of Stormhold was a nice touch. I will say that, having read American Gods before this, I don’t know that I really have a sense of Gaiman’s writing style. There are themes that he’ll frequently address, but I’m not sure there’s anything in the actual writing that stands out. But then, since he obtained much of his fame in graphic novels, maybe that makes sense.

Castle in the Air, by Diana Wynne Jones – This is a sort of a sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle, in that it takes place on the same world and the main characters from that story make appearances, but the focus is on a carpet salesman named Abdullah from this world’s equivalent of the Middle East. In a tale with heavy Arabian Nights influence, Abdullah uses a magic carpet and an ornery genie in a bottle to save the princess of his dreams from a powerful djinn. The story was rather more straightforward than its predecessor, while still incorporating the same sorts of character and plot twists.

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13 Responses to Fallen Stars and Fallen Djinn

  1. vilajunkie says:

    I love these two books! I’m surprised you only got around to them recently. I’d say Gaiman doesn’t have a clear style because he’s written for so many genres–mostly supernatural fantasy/horror, but he’s done a lot of superhero stuff too, just with a more mature, sophisticated style and storyline than the usual superhero stuff. He wrote the English translation of “Princess Mononoke” and the screenplay for “Beowulf” (the movie version with Angelina Jolie as Grendel’s Mother) as well.

    • Nathan says:

      So he’s sort of a chameleon in his writing style? Makes sense, although that puts him in pretty stark contrast to his former collaborator Terry Pratchett.

  2. I have been wanting to reread Castle in the Air for awhile now (that’s the PROBLEM with DWJ, she writes the kind of books you have to REread, dangit, I’m not a kid anymore!) ! It was the second book by her I read, so I was very excited to realize it made me just as happy as the first, which meant that I was on the verge of naming her one of my Favorite Authors Ever, which definitely came to pass.

    On the other hand, I have never been as in love with Neil Gaiman as everyone else who likes the same kind of books as me seems to be. I don’t DISlike his books, I’m just not in LOVE with them. I do enjoy his blog an awful lot though. And seriously, the sheer AMOUNT of stuff that guy writes (including the blog)– how does he have TIME to be a dad/keep bees/walk the dog/go on tour? SERIOUSLY.

    • Nathan says:

      Which was the first Jones book you read?

      Speaking of Gaiman, he’s also engaged to Amanda Palmer, yet her blog entries imply they don’t spend a whole lot of time together. I guess that kind of relationship works with some people, though. As for his being a dad, are all his kids adults now?

      • vilajunkie says:

        No, some of his kids are pre-teens/youngish teenagers. I think only his oldest son is actually an adult now. But he’s engaged to Amanda Palmer? I guess that means he got a divorce after his last daughter was born and growing up.

      • Nathan says:

        I believe it wasn’t all that long ago that he got divorced. I read somewhere that he’s still on good terms with his ex-wife, but I couldn’t say whether that’s accurate.

  3. Howl’s Moving Castle, which is why I read Castle in the Air second! (Although, technically, The Lives of Christopher Chant was the first Jones I ever read, but I completely forgot I had until I was reading it for the first time for the second time, which is a very bizarre experience by the way).

    Gaiman’s youngest is a teenager who still lives at home– well, splits the time between dad and mom’s houses– and her name is Maddy which is why I remember her so well (in my whacked out Neil Gaiman’s Royal Entourage dream I had some months ago, she and my Maddie were doing jump rope rhymes together. My Maddie was significantly older than she actually is in real life). I do not know if she is also something beautiful like Madeleine or if in fact she is a Madison (gag) but I don’t know how a writer could do something awful like that.

    • Aw, can’t even go back and edit that. I was going to add to my first paragraph that what finally made me purposely go out and read DWJ was reading a review of House of Many Ways while I was working at the big library, and as it happened House of Many Ways was sitting right across the room from me on the new books shelf tantalizing me, so of course I had to read that whole bunch in one fell swoop to get it over with. And actually, I’m still wrong about which books I read first, because I ALSO read her “Tough Guide to Fantasyland” several years ago, at which point I SAID “What a hilarious person this writer is, I’m sure I must have read something by her before, have I?” but did I DO anything about this? Anyway, never mind.

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