Neil Gaiman’s Stardust from an RPG’s point of view – A geeky book review

CONTAINS SPOILERS!

Stardust was a good break from the more realistic feel of the novels I’ve read recently. I have to agree with Detroit Free Press, it is an adult fairy tale indeed. Who says only kids would/should enjoy fairy tales?

The story was quite fast paced and I mean fast. One moment Tristran, the protagonist, meets someone new, the next moment they become friends/enemies, the next someone’s dead. All in about 1 or 2 chapters. Neil Gaiman doesn’t dilly dally with much detail and it works. Like true fairy tale fashion it works. But not perfectly.

When playing RPGs one has to choose wisely in allocating attribute points. Speed vs strength, strength vs intelligence, intelligence vs speed. The point is, you can’t have it all. You’ll have to go and focus on one over the other if you wish to create a lasting character. With Stardust, Gaiman chose speed over strength AKA detail.

Much like how a speed focused character is lacking in the strength department, Gaiman’s book felt to me like it focused on speed and lacked in detail. The thing with fast characters is that the speed compensates for the lack of strength. The lack of detail in Stardust was compensated by the fast paced story line. BUT. Big but there. I wish Gaiman added a bit more detail in the last few chapters especially when Tristran finally got to know who exactly his mother is.

A purely speed character won’t survive in an RPG world. Yes you focus on speed but at a certain level you’ll have to start adding some points to strength to be able to equip proper armor. That one moment in Stardust left me feeling like I was playing a hell level Assassin in Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, found Natalya’s Odium but couldn’t equip the complete set because the points allocated into strength just wasn’t enough.

Page 317 had the potential for a tender mother and child reunion moment or a destructive one. Let’s be honest, not all mother and child reunion results in a happy moment. With Tristran, whether he was glad, sad, or whatever with his situation, we will never know unless we ask Neil Gaiman himself.

Tristran stared at her in honest puzzlement. “But I have no wish to be a lord of anywhere.”

For a moment I thought Tristran was in puzzlement over the revelation of his mother’s identity but it seems he’s more concerned of the lordship. I wish Gaiman added a bit more detail over their reunion but I guess he was in a rush to end the story because that’s how it felt there, rushed. Much like how I’m going to end this.

It’s an old movie but I haven’t watched it yet. It seems interesting but the trailers tells me it’s going to be way different.

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