"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sandman 1-3 (Neil Gaiman)

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Neil Gaiman.  On one hand, I think he is brilliant.  I love his novels, and his short stories are simply to die for!  On the other hand, his writing is pretty dark.  Actually, it can get very dark.  And that's where I have some issues with him.  Not because he's dark (like chocolate, sometimes I like my books dark), but because he can be too dark.  And then I get uncomfortable or depressed.

I think that's sort of where I am right now with Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.  Out of 10 graphic novels, I've read 3.  And I'm seriously considering stopping here.

Perhaps, before continuing, a bit of background is in order?  The Sandman series reads almost like a dream, confusing, convoluted, and fascinating.  The plot lines sort of run all over the place, but the main focus centers around one character in particular: Lord Morpheus, or Dream.  That's him to the left.  Morpheus is one of the Endless, a group of beings who existed before the "gods" of Neil Gaiman's world, and will exist after they have faded away.  There are 7 of these (Death, Desire, Dream, Delirium, Destruction, Destiny, and Despair).

In theory, it's an interesting series.  In Book 1, Morpheus is captured by a scholar who wants to live forever, and believes the best way to achieve this is to capture Death.  But, he captures her little brother Dream instead.  During his 70 years of imprisonment, Dream is unable to control the forces of dreaming and waking, and much of the world falls into chaos.  When he escapes, all hell breaks loose in his attempt to seek revenge and set things right.   The rest of the stories seem to jump around a lot.  Sometimes they are in the present, and sometimes in the past.  Dream meets Shakespeare, serial killers, and ordinary people who have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

I'm just not as into it as I thought I would be so far.  And that's always a disappointing
feeling.  Especially since this series got such high recommendations from two of my co-workers, one of whom enjoys similar books to me.  But, I suppose you can't win them all, and after 3 books of Sandman, I think I'm ready to move on to something new.  With work and classes, especially, I find that if I'm not really into something, then it's best to just pass it on and read something else.  I have time, but I don't have the luxury of infinite time to read as much as I might want to.

(You should see the stack of books lying on my bedroom floor!  Eek!  I'm not sure when I'll have time to read any of them!)

One thing I really liked about the series was in Book 2.  I'm not sure how much I've talked about him here, but I really like the works of British Christian author GK Chesterton, and was delightfully surprised to see him featured in the second installment, Doll's House, as a physical manifestation of a piece of the Dreamlands.  He was actually pretty cool, too, coming across as very heroic, larger than life, and very human for something that is really only the stuff of dreams.  So, that was a nice little tidbit for me.  While I won't be reading much Sandman anymore (or probably NO Sandman, I think I will be picking up more Chesterton.  Just for a change of pace.

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