I find it very VERY rare that I like a movie more than I like a book. In fact, the only occasion that comes to mind was “The Tenth Kingdom” – a 10 hour movie that I LOVED. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the book at all, finding it a dry play-by-play of everything that happened, without the added benefit of descriptions and imagination.
Stardust had the same problem for me – I liked the movie more than the book. I did watch the movie first, multiple times, which may have influenced my decision. I also loved the writing style and descriptions in the book. The movie and book deviate significantly on several plot points, and I have to concede that the movie is much more exciting. I do find myself rooting for dramatic professions of love, daring escapes, secretly gay Pirates, fighting with bad evil witches, and reunited love. Also, happy endings. The book got off to a fine start but then… sort of petered out. It fell flat. Not with a bang but with a whisper. Sigh. Plus Yvaine is bad-tempered but not all that plucky in the book.
The ending in the book left much to be desired, particularly in comparison. This is reportedly Faerie after all, shouldn’t MAGIC happen? Not just bad magic with the witches, but good happy ending magic? I hate endings that leave on a sad-ish note. My husband informs me that “dark” is to be expected from Neil Gaiman, which makes me far less likely to read his American Gods (which my husband highly recommends).
I’ll give the book a 3 / 5. Decent effort, but not necessarily something I’ll return to. I’m going out to buy the movie right now to dwell in better endings and excitement!