Saturday, April 21, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] The Sandman: Worlds' End Volume 8 by Neil Gaiman


Title:  The Sandman: Worlds' End Volume 8

Author: Neil Gaiman

Artists: Michael Allred, Gary Amaro, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, Tony Harris, Steve Leialoha, Vince Locke, Shea Anton Pensa, Alec Stevens, Bryan Talbot, John Watkiss, and Michael Zulli


Genre: Supernatural / Fantasy / Adventure



Year Published: 1993



Year Read: 2012



Series: The Sandman #8



Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 15+ (Death and Graphic Violence)



Now just looking at the title of this volume “The Sandman: Worlds’ End,” you might be thinking that this might be the last volume of Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series, but it is not the final volume!  “The Sandman: Worlds’ End” is actually a series of stories woven by several characters in this volume who are stuck at an inn called Worlds’ End.  Be prepared for some engaging storytelling from the great Neil Gaiman in this classic volume!

In the eighth volume of the “Sandman” series which is called “Worlds’ End,” a young man named Brant Tucker and his friend Charlene Mooney ended up in a strange inn called “Worlds’ End” after they both get in a car crash during a snowstorm and tried to find shelter from the storm.  It turns out that the inhabitants of the strange inn are all characters from mythical tales and all the characters ended up telling their stories that are either about their actual lives or dreams they would like to have come true.  There are a total of seven stories in this volume and they are:

Worlds’ End: Sequences at the Inn – illustrated by Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham

A Tale of Two Cities – illustrated by Alec Stevens

Cluracan’s Tale – illustrated by John Watkiss

Hob’s Leviathan – illustrated by Michael Zulli and Dick Giordano

The Golden Boy – illustrated by Michael Allred

Cerements – illustrated by Shea Anton Pensa and Vince Locke

Worlds’ End – illustrated by Bryan Talbot, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, Steve Leialoha, Gary Amaro and Tony Harris

For the past few days, I have been reading most of the volumes from Neil Gaiman’s popular “Sandman” series and I have enjoyed every single one!  I have also read the other volumes in the “Sandman” series that mainly contained short stories of the Endless’ adventures in exploring other people’s dreams which included “Dream Country” and “Fables and Reflections.” Even though both “Dream Country” and “Fables and Reflections” were enjoyable reads, I felt that “Worlds’ End” was the best out of all of the short story collections in the “Sandman” series!  I loved the way that Neil Gaiman had woven each of the stories told by each character in the story into one story that involves the secrets of the inn that all the characters ended up at and how the stories that each character told reflected the dreams that everyone wished were to happen.  My favorite stories in this volume were probably “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Cerements,” and “Cluracan’s Tale.”  I loved the idea that Neil Gaiman presented in the story “A Tale of Two Cities” as the story implies that the cities can dream of what they want too and it was a bit interesting and a bit frightening hearing about what would happen if the cities wake up, although we were never told what would happen and it is that sense of mystery and yearning to know the answer that really grasped my attention in this story.  I also loved both “Cluracan’s Tale” and “Cerements” because they were really creepy stories that dealt with the dead, especially in “Cerements” as the main characters actually dig up dead bodies!  Michael Allred, Gary Amaro, Mark Buckingham, Dick Giordano, Tony Harris, Steve Leialoha, vince Locke, Shea Anton Pensa, Alec Stevens, Bryan Talbot, John Watkiss, and Michael Zulli’s artwork were true works of masterpieces as each artist contributed dramatic artwork that flows nicely with each story.  I especially loved the artwork done by Alec Stevens in the story “A Tale of Two Cities” as the artwork resembles an 80s artwork vibe as the characters look a bit blocky and there are only mainly black, white, yellow and blue colorings in the artwork, which gives the story a distinct feel.

Like the other volumes in the “Sandman” series, there is some disturbing content in this volume, especially in the story “Cerements” where there is a scene where a young man named Petrefax witnesses an air burial where birds peck at the innards of a dead man while Master Hermas, the man performing the burial, takes out the dead man’s innards and lay it out for the birds to feed on.  This scene and the other scenes that deal with death might be a bit morbid for some readers to handle, so if you do not like scenes with blood and gore, then you might want to skim over these scenes.

Overall, “The Sandman: Worlds’ End” is easily one of the best short story collections to ever come out of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series and it is definitely worth reading over and over again!




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