Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrators: Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Steve Parkhouse
Genre: Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Published: September 1991
Collects Issues: 9 - 16
Rating: 9 / 10
Challenges: Graphic Novels Challenge, A to Z Reading Challenge, 48 Hour Book Challenge, Dream King Challenge
Synopsis (from the back cover):
The Sandman is the most acclaimed and award-winning comics series of the 1990s for good reason: a smart and deeply brooding epic, elegantly penned by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by a rotating cast of comics' most sought-after artists, it is a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven. The saga of The Sandman encompasses a series of tales unique in graphic literature and is a story you will never forget.
In The Doll's House, Rose Walker finds more than she bargained for - long lost relatives, a serial killers' convention, and, ultimately, her true identity. The Master of Dreams attempts to unravel the mystery, unaware that the hand of another, far closer to home, is pulling the strings.
My review: Once again, I'm kicking myself for not having read this before. I mean, I call myself a Gaiman fan, and yet I've never read The Sandman series? What's wrong with me?!
This book picks up where the first one left off - Morpheus has recently regained control of his kingdom and is still looking to set things aright. Namely, finding some bad guys who disappeared while he was imprisoned. He's joined in this jaunt by his servant/pet raven, Matthew. So how does Rose Walker figure into this? Well, she's trying to find her little brother, who has inadvertently crossed paths with three of the aforementioned baddies. That's not the only reason she's so important to Morpheus, though...but I'm telling you the other reason, because that would just spoil the book for you. And it's way too good for me to do that.
I loved the minor characters in this one - Gilbert, Barbie and Ken (hee), Hal the cross-dressing landlord, the spider sisters...the people Rose meets while searching for her brother are all unique. I also really enjoyed the one-shot story, "Men of Good Fortune," about a man who simply chooses not to die. Instead, he and Morpheus agree to meet every one hundred years, just in case he changes his mind. It's quite an interesting idea: given the choice, would you want to live forever? Robert Gadling, the character in question, never ages, but he has to watch everyone he loves grow old and die. He certainly seems to think it's better than the alternative, but I'm not so sure. Another aspect of that particular issue that I liked was the way Morpheus viewed Robert, eventually thinking of him as a friend. To me, that really helped humanize Morpheus, which was nice.
All in all, an excellent book. Much easier to understand than Preludes & Nocturnes; I found "the story so far" bit at the beginning very helpful. Off to start the third book in a bit...I'm looking forward to this, as the events in The Doll's House seem to indicate that some serious intra-Endless fighting is on the horizon. I just hope Delirium pops up soon.
Cross-posted to the casual dread and The Dream King Challenge blogs.
If you've reviewed this book as well, leave a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.