May 12, 2012

Preludes and Nocturnes

The Sandman
by Neil Gaiman

 The King of Dreaming gets caught by some muddling fools who are just clever enough to entrap him but can't get who they really want- Death. Sandman is enclosed in their glass prison for ages. While he is trapped people all over the world get stuck in their dreams or suffer otherwise because the dream world is gone rampant without his rule. When he finally gets free he wants revenge but first he has to retrieve three magical objects that were taken from him, without which he is powerless. Most of the story seems to be about his quest to get his belongings back, which includes a trip into hell.

Perhaps I shouldn't have been so eager to read it. I liked Dream Hunters so much, but Preludes and Nocturnes did not work for me. I had trouble following the storyline from the very beginning, sometimes the images would not make sense to me, or I couldn't see how they progressed the story. Characters come in and out without much introduction and I felt like I was supposed to know who they were just because they were part of a comic- the format is still relatively new to me so there were references and allusions to things that I figure I would know about if I read comics all the time but I don't, so I didn't. I made myself keep reading and I did find the bit about Sandman visiting hell to retrieve his objects and having a magical duel with a demon interesting, but after that things just mattered less and less to me and pretty soon I realized I didn't want to read anymore.  Which disappoints me, because so many people seem to rave about Sandman, and it seems like a lot of fans aren't big on reading other graphic novels at all; this is one series that is supposed to transcend the genre. But I gather from other reviews as well that it gets better with the next book, so I might give at least one more volume a try before I give up on Sandman as being not-for-me.

Abandoned ........ 240 pages, 1993

more opinions:
the Blog of Litwits
richardmbray
the Book Coop

6 comments:

Susan said...

I haven't read Sandman yet, and read your review with great interest. I did read Nightmares and Dreamscapes (I think that's the title, the one with the serial killer convention) which I enjoyed, but don't love the way I love the Fables series. It's almost too goth for my taste, if that can be said? and I don't mean gothic, I mean goth - that bleakness and denial of light and good - at least the one I read, was a very dark graphic novel.

bermudaonion said...

Sorry it didn't work for you. Gaiman is hit or miss for me.

Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting said...

Gaiman is hit and miss for me, too. I adored the recent The Graveyard Book, but really struggled with American Gods. Still, one has to admire an author who's willing to try something different each time.

Jenny said...

Oh yeah, Preludes and Nocturnes is no good. Can I make a suggestion? Read the first three (but not the fourth) stories in Dream Country, the third volume, before you decide what to do about reading the rest of Sandman. The Doll's House is good, but it might not convince you to go on with the series, which is very well worth going on with. Dream Country has three stories that are separate from the Sandman overarching storylines (mostly) but are really lovely and cool. They'll also remind you that Sandman isn't one unified storyline going on and on, but rather a collection of stories which relate differently to a central plot. If you don't know this about Sandman, some of the stories in The Doll's House can be frustrating.

Jeane said...

Susan- I think I'm going to try the Fables series, next.

Bermudaonion- I'm getting that sense, too. I've only read a handful of his works so far and some I like, some I just don't.

Stehpanie- He certainly has a wide imagination!

Jenny- Thanks for the suggestion. I actually just got halfway thru Doll's House and lost interest again. But then (because I had three volumes on hold from library at once) I thumbed thru Dream Country and read the ones about the cats, which made me grin, and the Midsummer NIght's Dream looked interesting too. So I might give it a further try.

Biblibio said...

I started with a few scattered stories from the series (handpicked by someone who had already read all the books), and I think that that's honestly the best way to get into the story. Fables and Reflections is a better short-story collection than Dream Country and does a better job of letting you in on the story in a smooth way. I'd recommend sticking with the series, if only because books seven through nine are actually stupendous and as an a overall series, the Sandman has wonderful and unique storytelling style. World's End is my favorite (justified here: http://biblibio.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-one-must-always-reread-sandman.html) - if this sounds worthwhile, do what you can to get to it (unlike others, it should not be read out of order).