Thursday, March 22, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] The Sandman: Dream Country Volume 3 by Neil Gaiman

Title:  The Sandman:  Dream Country Volume 3

Author: Neil Gaiman

Artists: Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, and Malcolm Jones III

Genre: Supernatural / Fantasy / Suspense

Year Published: 1990

Year Read: 2012

Series: The Sandman #3

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 14+ (Some Violence)

The more I read from Neil Gaiman’s popular “Sandman” series, the more interested I get in reading more about Dream and the other Endless characters!  In the third volume of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, “Dream Country,” we are introduced to more stories regarding Dream and his sister Death and we also get to read the World Fantasy Award-winning story, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

In this volume “Dream Country,” there are four stories that continue the adventures of Dream (or Morpheus) and his presence in the dream world:

Calliope – In this tale, a beautiful muse named Calliope is imprisoned by an author who wants to use her to get ideas for his novels.

A Dream of a Thousand Cats – In this tale, a cat relates her tragic tale about how humanity has treated her cruelly and how in her dreams, she discovers that cats were originally the rulers of the world and not mankind and how mankind later on came to power in the world.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – In this tale, Dream travels back in time to witness William Shakespeare’s famous play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” while inviting some “special” guests to the play.

Façade – In this tale, a young immortal woman who has a frightening appearance wishes to die and gets a special visit from Death herself!

Neil Gaiman clearly has a great handle on telling interesting stories set in surreal worlds.  I love how in the “Sandman” series, the worlds are surreal and dark at the same time which provides for some really intriguing stories.  My favorite stories in this volume are “Calliope” and “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” as the characters in both stories is interesting and the plots were truly fleshed out.  I will admit that when I read “Calliope,” I was actually shocked at how the author in the story was willing to keep an innocent human being (or in this case a muse) locked up just to be famous for his inspirations in his writing and this story is a bit creepy to me also because of the idea of a human being locked up against their will.  I really enjoyed “A Dream of a Thousand Cats” because it provided an interesting insight about how cats viewed humanity and how they wished that they were rulers of the world once again.  The artwork of Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, and Malcolm Jones III is brilliant and I loved the surreal and creepy qualities that each artist put into each story as it made the stories even more interesting.  I also loved seeing the different styles that each artist put into each story as it matches with the surreal quality of this volume.

Like the first two “Sandman” stories, this volume does have some disturbing moments such as in the story “Calliope” where a muse is being locked up against her will and there is some violence in this volume such as in the story “A Dream of a Thousand Cats.”  Also, the reason why I gave this book a four star rating is because even though I loved the first two stories in this volume, I felt that the last two stories in this volume “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Façade” were lacking action.  I think that fans of William Shakespeare’s works would appreciate “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but I could never understand the language that goes into William Shakespeare’s works.  Oh well, maybe I might understand his works in the future if I start reading his work for the pleasure of it.  With the last story “Façade” I felt that this story was a bit too short and I wish that it went on longer since I was interested in the main character’s problem.

Overall, “The Sandman: Dream Country” is a great volume for fans who want to read a graphic novel interpretation on William Shakespeare’s works and who love reading Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, but the last two stories might bore readers who want more action.

*Winner: World Fantasy Award for "A Midsummer Night's Dream"


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