Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman

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Title: The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country
Author: Neil Gaiman
Series: The Sandman, Volume 3
Publisher: Vertigo
Paperback: 160 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
The third book of the Sandman collection is a series of four short comic book stories. In each of these otherwise unrelated stories, Morpheus serves only as a minor character. Here we meet the mother of Morpheus's son, find out what cats dream about, and discover the true origin behind Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream. The latter won a World Fantasy Award for best short story, the first time a comic book was given that honor.This volume includes issues 17-20 of the original series and features completely new coloring, approved by the author, of issues 17 and 18.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

I don't think that this volume is as strong as the previous two, but the stories Gaiman presents are still intriguing and present a different, strange view of the world. Mostly, I think my disengagement came from the fact that the stories in this volume don't heavily feature Morpheus, and they don't really fit into overarching story of the series. (Yes, the summary says that, but I missed that connection from the other two volumes.) Despite that, this is still an excellent read. If Gaiman can be counted on for anything, it's for presenting a surprising, twisted view of the world that will remain with you for weeks, months, even years to come.

Unlike with a lot of other graphic novels I've read, there has yet to be a story in The Sandman that I don't like. While I enjoy some more than others, there is always something that captures my interest within every story. I think this is mainly because Gaiman unflinchingly delves into the demented and twisted while also showing the beautiful side of things. My favorite story from this collection is "A Midsummer's Night Dream" which manages to be funny, entertaining, and horrifying all at the same time. Shakespeare and his troupe perform the play for the fae themselves, with disastrous results for some members of the party.

What I love about the stories from this volume is that with every one, I was put into a fantastical situation that seemed completely removed from reality, and I would think, "What an interesting idea!" And then, the further I got into the story and the more I thought about it, the more realistic it seemed. Despite the fantastical elements, Gaiman presents such clear, truthful representations of people that by the end of each story, I could imagine it all being based on true events. I love literature that can mess with my head like that and make me see the world from different perspectives. And really, Gaiman is the master at being able to mess with readers' heads.

So far, I'm enjoying The Sandman, and if you are at all a fan of dark fantasy, I think you should check this out if you haven't already.