Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: Preludes and Nocturnes

The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

Pages: 280, paperback

ISBN: 9781563890116

Publisher: Vertigo

Date Released: December 7th, 1993 (first published 1989)

Genre: Adult / graphic novel / fantasy / horror/ mystery

Source: library

A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings" which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death. (Taken from Goodreads)
Buy it from: The Book Depository / Amazon

I had a love/hate relationship with this volume. It was more love than hate, but the hate parts were more of a slight annoyance, and will hardly hinder my decision to buy the entire series in the near future.

In this graphic novel, Gaiman beautifully crafts out the story and characterisation of the tormented Dream, a Sandman captured and imprisoned by a wizard for decades in a desperate attempt to call Dream's sister, Death. This particular volume basically chronicles Dream's search for his 3 tools that he lost to the hands of humanity during his imprisonment, and while not having much more plot than that, it held a lot of substance.

I found it amazing that Gaiman could have created such a story without using many words. I'm not really a fan of comics and graphic novels--I'm more of a word person than a picture person; I hate watching films, and if I end up finally watching one, it has to have subtitles, else I won't have much fun--but this totally blew me away. I just couldn't fathom the amazingness.

The artwork wasn't too great, but then again, it was done in the '80s. The art for comics has greatly improved since then. But I'd grown a sort of liking towards the artwork. It kind of fit the mood for the story.

On his quest to encounter his lost tools, Dream encounters various characters from the DC world, which perplexed me. I hadn't realised at the time that Vertigo was an imprint of DC. And you know what? The inclusion of these DC characters hindered the story for me. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a DC gal all the way, but it took the realism and originality of the Sandman world away. The only DC character that I enjoyed is one I shall not name so as to not ruin the surprise for you (plus, I've forgotten his name, heh). He had this amazing character development, and his inclusion was fairly amazing--though fairly gory.

I loved the inclusion of the last issue, "The Sound of Her Wings", which features a cameo of Dream's sister, Death. It shows this lovely brother/sister relationship, whilst being oddly philosophical.

Needless to say, I need to get my hands on the rest of the series, and so should you, fellow reader. Though, there are some fairly disturbing scenes, one of which is extremely graphic, featuring violence, sexual violence and mind control, so approach with caution.

Art: 3
Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 4
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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