A Book Review of “The Sandman” with Spoilers
**DISCLAIMER** THIS REVIEW DOES HAVE SPOILERS – For a spoiler-free review see my video review by clicking here.
In this review, we will discuss several parts of the story that I found interesting. I will not go too in-depth with every detail, mainly because this may have spoilers but I don’t want to completely spoil it. “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman and Dirk Maggs, takes place when Morpheus (The Sandman) is captured by a group that was trying to capture death. When he is captured they steal three of his magical items and lock him away for fifty years. In those fifty years, several things fell apart and humanity suffered for it.
The first of the magical items was a stone that held a large portion of the Sandman’s powers. A lunatic locked up in Arkham Asylum is the one who ended up with the stone. He escapes the asylum and faces off with Morpheus ultimately destroying the stone and releasing the power within it. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Morpheus went after this item first because it was in the possession of a simple human and he perceived it to be the easier of the three items to obtain. This proved to not be the case. I especially like the overlap of the stories because Arkham is from Batman and they even make mention of the Joker in the book. It was fantastic! It was like digging deeper into the DC world.
The second artifact that he goes for is his dream sand. This ended up in the hands of a former lover to one of the Justice League members. Turns out this was the easiest of the bunch to collect since the member of the Justice League he found was more than willing to help him find and retrieve the sand. Unfortunately for the girl, that sand acted like a drug and her addiction to it was not reversible. At the behest of the Justice League member, Morpheus eases the girls suffering until she passes.
Lastly was his crown and he has to go to hell to collect it. He goes in knowing there is a possibility he may not come out again. Upon discovering that Lucifer is no longer the sole ruler of the underworld he has to get the permission of all three rules to hunt down his item. He eventually faces off against a demon in a game of wits and wins. With all of his items restored to his possession, he turns his attention to rebuilding the dream world.
The remainder of the book takes you through different parts of his life. When in hell he sees a woman he loves. That story is explained later in the book. It shows his relationship with his sister Death. I found that particular relationship to be very unique and the description of Death to be both humanizing and kind. A lot of times death is seen as the Grim Reaper cloaked in black coming to steal your soul away. In the book Death is a loving and kind sister who loves and worries about her brother. She is generous and caring to those she collects and helps them find their peace as she steers them to the beyond. This was a beautifully painted image that has you looking at death differently.
There is one incident when Death and Morpheus are sitting together in an old tavern and they are listening to a young man boast about how he would never die, he would just decide it and he would live forever. Intrigued Morpheus decides to take him up on and Death gives him her approval. The man in turn lives for centuries. He meets up with Morpheus once every 100 years in the same tavern to check in and see if he is ready to die, they eventually become friends. One thing the man says that was so profound, and this is not a direct quote but, he makes the comment that even though times have changed, nothing ever really changes, people never really change. He mentions after all the centuries that he had been alive, he was still no smarter than he was when that adventure first started. This caught my attention because in the world we live in today, are we really any smarter or better than the elders who came before us? Something to ponder.
The book ended on a sad note because Morpheus puts on a show for his magical friends. Most people have read books or seen shows about magical creatures such as fairies and elves. At the end of this book, it makes you believe that the world has changed enough that there is no longer a place for magical creatures in the human realm, that the show he puts on for them is the last time they will step foot here. It was sad because with the magical creatures leaving it was almost as if magic itself was leaving. It left me with the feeling that if magic in the world was gone, then all that is left in life are dreams.
To keep this review from lagging on, I will end it here. This was a beautifully written story. I listened to it on audiobook, it was a full production with multiple reader and sound effects. It was a unique experience and I highly recommend it. I left out just enough that when you do read it, you will still have a grand adventure.