The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

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“What power would hell have if those imprisoned here would not be able to dream of heaven?”

— Neil Gaiman, The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes

    This definitely showcases the broadness of Neil Gaiman’s imagination. It’s boundless, colourful, enigmatic and complex. It’s simply impossible to reproduce, and infinitely beautiful. I do want to be that guy who raves and raves about this first volume of The Sandman, but then I wouldn’t be honest with myself. Preludes & Nocturnes introduces readers to Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, and transports us on an intimate journey alongside this mythical and mysterious being as he explores worlds like none other. The story is ignites when an occultist attempts an uncalled-for ceremony in the dishonest and mischievous intention of capturing Death, and then to bargain for eternal life. It is by accidentally capturing Death’s younger brother Dream that things go haywire and leaves Dream imprisoned for over 70 years. Being captured and stripped of his powers for countless decades, you can only imagine what his desire for revenge drives him to do as soon as he finds himself free of his predicament. Driven to recover his precious belongings that behold his powers, The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes brings fans to explore dream lands and hellish landscapes in all of its glory.

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    One of the coolest things about The Sandman series is that it is set in the DC Universe—at least the very issues or volumes—and manages to skillfully connect its storyline with other famous characters who will easily fascinate and become fan-favourites for countless readers. From John Constantine to Lucifer, there isn’t a chapter within this story that doesn’t somehow manage to explore these characters and their interaction with the Lord of Dreams in a unique fashion. I did however feel like the story would drift to various different places and sub-plots in a slightly slippery and unstable way. While it contributes to the overall theme of dreams and their intangible and nebulous traits, it does make this first volume a bit of a challenge to truly appreciate its scope. The original and ambitious narrative vision of Neil Gaiman in The Sandman isn’t something that can be smoothly ingested and appreciated at first. It can sometimes feel all over the place, yet still remain coherent and character-driven. If anything, I felt like Preludes & Nocturnes was a quick glimpse inside a galactic jar of ideas. I felt like it was only a small taste of the finer things to come. Maybe not easy food to eat, but definitely a luscious and required meal for the food enthusiast.

    My favourite part of this story is the introduction of Death. This is one character I’m going to want to see more of. Not only was it unexpected, it was also cleverly thought out. The way that character used their powers and perpetuated the death cycle and all its tragedy was just pure genius. The chemistry between both Death and Dream was also adorable. While that chapter brought a new character into the game, it also reminded readers of how this whole volume was a journey with Dream and a close look at all the troubles that he has been through. It showed us why he is the Lord of Dreams and how he feels conflicted after such an insane amount of time disconnected from the world. The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes illustrated the transformation of Dream and how his purpose in life was larger than life itself. Neil Gaiman’s lyrical writing style only helped convey this story with more perfection as it helped heighten the mythology and godliness of this story. By the end of this volume, you’ll know that Morpheus is not someone you want to mess with.

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    While Preludes & Nocturnes wasn’t a perfect volume for me, it still remains a classic in the world of comics. Neil Gaiman’s passion and love oozes through the pages of this volume and you just can’t help but see that The Sandman is a divine creation. His ideas are huge and vibrant, and only through a comic medium was he able to find the right creative team to make this story come to life. While the artwork, illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III, might take some getting used to, you’ll quickly adapt to its vibrant, twisted and supernatural style. Upon completing this volume, I can say with confidence that the design and overall artwork was just so fitting to the mythological, fairy-tale and folklore narrative blend. This is something to be experienced for yourself. It would be a mistake to drop this series after Preludes & Nocturnes as it is clear that there’s so much more that Neil Gaiman is trying to convey within this comic. I believe that you’ll need to read a couple more volumes to be able to truly understand why this series receives so much praise among fans. And that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

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Did you read The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes yet? What did you think about it?
You haven’t read it, you say?
Let’s fix that right away!
You can order your copy @Amazon Canada / Indigo Chapters right here!
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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆/

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28 thoughts on “The Sandman (Volume 1) Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

  1. Bookstooge says:

    I saw a Sandman comic when I was a young teen, at an older cousins. The artwork really turned me off then and I’ve never tried another. I kind of wish I hadn’t seen it then, as I’d be able to appreciate the artform much better now. But that’s how our lives get shaped I guess…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I love Neil Gaiman but until reading your review I didn’t know he’d written graphic novels like this as well. I’d love to pick this one up because I want to read everything Neil Gaiman has released but from the sounds of your review I’d have to have read the other DC comics that connect to this one, and at the moment I just don’t have the time for that.
    Great review Lashaan. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Oh, you really don’t need to know about any of those DC Universe characters. Knowing them before diving into The Sandman only makes things more fun cause you can go: “Hey! It’s ______ !” 😀 It’s nice to hear that you’re a fan of Gaiman. I definitely hope to read more, if not all, of his works until I end up on a bad streak of his books (which I doubt would happen with him!) Thank you for reading Beth! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    I’ve read a volume of Sandman but I’m not sure its this one… I don’t remember it being about Dream… I DO remember “the story would drift to various different places and sub-plots in a slightly slippery and unstable way” that I snatched from your review because it PERFECTLY describes almost ALL of Gaiman’s work. I think though that’s its charm… TBH (please don’t hurt me!) I don’t really like the art (gah!! I’m sorry! I said I’m sorry!) all kidding aside though I find it hard to understand what is going on in the frames and that makes me feel stupid… Still Gaiman is so creative and inventive it’s hard not to be enchanted even if you aren’t totally enjoying it! Great review Lashaan!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      I know, right? I think I have a good idea of what Gaiman’s style is now that I also finished reading American Gods. While it is unique and sometimes.. well.. slippery and all twirly, it’s really good! I totally understand about the artwork. I’m sure if I had shown the artwork to my friends, 99% of them would wonder what on Earth I was doing reading things like this hahah Yep, this first volume definitely highlights the whole confusion and weird way to tell a story. The panels have odd structures here and there, but I personally didn’t feel that lost for this one. Thank you for your kind words, Dani!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. honya says:

    Good story! And yes, I agree that the first volume is just kind of clunky, like the author hasn’t settled into his groove yet. From the last chapter where Death is introduced . . . I feel like that’s where the real story truly begins. And it just gets better from there as you proceed into the later volumes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      :O Did you complete the whole series? It’s definitely nice to hear from people who’ve read this. I had a feeling things would only get better as we get into the later volumes. I’m definitely looking forward to picking up the next volume. Oh, and I’ll definitely be looking into those spin-off titles for Death. She was way too awesome in that last chapter of volume 1 for me to forget about her! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. LizScanlon says:

    I have only read one Gaiman book and that was enough to guarantee me the knowledge that Neil has some crazy good imagination! This one sounds positively fabulous and I think I need to keep my eye out for it.. GNs are something I have done only a little of, but I want to fix it and read more of them… as long as it doesn’t have captain America in it, I;m game! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      I’ve recently read my first novel from him too! It was American Gods. Dude really has an insane imagination. It’s nice to see how he attempts to transfer it all on paper. Oh, you should try it out. You’ll see how crazy interesting it can get. Make sure you pick up a couple of volumes of this series though. The first one should not be the last! 😛 Hhaahha you and Captain America! I should totally try and find a story with the guy and review it just for you!! 😛

      Like

  6. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Wow, this sounds really good! Not perfect, but like you said, a prelude (no pun intended) to something bigger and greater 🙂
    Gaiman is said to be brilliant, yet the only thing I’ve read of his so far was Good Omens, a collab with Terry Pratchett. I did enjoy it, but I think a collab is not the best way to appreciate both of these so-called genius writers individually. Their styles are basically merged together so it’s difficult to tell which one is which.
    I think it’s alright that it takes a few more volumes and maybe a re-read to fully grasp the brilliance of The Sandman. Great things take time, after all! And I’m sure the right kind of people will have the patience to wait for it 🙂
    I’m really glad you enjoyed this overall, Lashaan! Awesome review, as per usual ^^ I’ll be sure to keep on getting my comic recs from you hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      It is! And that’s really what it was! I have that one on my TBR hahah I’ve heard Pratchett and Gaiman are really buddy-buddy. Although I haven’t yet tried Pratchett’s stuff yet, I know it’s something up there on my priority list too!

      Yeh, indeed! I find it particularly important for this series, in fact, important for comics cause it’s easy to just drop a series after one volume or to simply forget that there’s more volumes to this series and never get around to the awesomeness of a series! Hopefully people who’ll give The Sandman a shot will pick up the first couple of volumes before deciding if it’s their cup of tea or nah! 😀

      Hhahaha thank you Sophie! Glad to hear that. Especially glad to hear from you again!!!! It’s been like a YEAR since you’ve last posted anything!!! 😉

      Like

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      You could read them on a desktop computer/laptop through comixology (not sure if it’s available internationally though). But yeh, probably not so fun through a kindle hahah Do libraries in your country have books/comics in English though? Hope you do get the chance to read it somehow someday though! 😀

      Like

  7. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Yes to this review! I remember the first time I picked this volume up. I was instantly reminded of why I hold so much respect and admiration for Gaiman. I mean he is truly a creative soul and the possibilities feel limitless when you explore his work. I need to pick up further volumes of this one. A reread may be due 😉

    Like

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