I loved it. However, I didn’t love it anywhere near as much as I loved some of Gaiman’s other novels. It feels a bit like a first draft, to be honest, one that needs filling in. The sky pirates, for example, I need to read more about them. And the story of Stronghold, of Primus and Septimus especially: I’d like a bit more. Primus is interesting, but he is here and gone so quickly that I was left gasping for air (metaphorically).
And Tristran Thorn, our hero, well, I didn’t entirely fall for him.
On the other hand, the descriptions of Faerie are lovely. The star that turns out to be fairly human, the lilim, the little hairy man (gotta love him and his impatience) and a host of other characters that would probably be worth a whole novel to themselves.
One thing, though: I’ve seen Victoria Forester described as shallow in several reviews, which I think is a bit unfair. As far as I can gather, she sends Tristran on a fool’s errand in the hope that he’ll bugger off home and be ashamed of promising more than he can live up to, and so leave her alone. She seems genuinely distressed at him actually going off on a quest, and is willing to keep her promises to him when he returns, despite the fact that she is clearly in love with someone else. Tristran, on the other hand, seems to (imagine himself to) be in love with Victoria simply because she is “the prettiest girl within a 100 mile radius”. That’s what I call shallow.
Still and all, I did love it. And I think I’m going to try to get hold of the illustrated version. And I might even see the film. I’ll have to think about that one.
Our edition includes the first chapter of a possible other story featuring Wall. I wish Gaiman would hurry up and write that one, it sounds perfectly ripping.