Thursday, April 5, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] The Sandman: Fables and Reflections Volume 6 by Neil Gaiman

Title:  The Sandman: Fables and Reflections Volume 6

Author: Neil Gaiman

Artists: Bryan Talbot, Stan Woch, P. Craig Russell, Shawn McManus, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson, and Kent Williams

Genre: Supernatural / Adventure / Fantasy

Year Published: 1990

Year Read: 2012

Series: The Sandman #6

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Source:  Library

Content Rating: Ages 15+ (Gory Violence)

After reading the fifth volume in Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series, “A Game of You,” I just had to read the sixth volume of the “Sandman” series called “Fables and Reflections.” In this volume, we are introduced to more miscellaneous stories that involve Morpheus and his siblings’ involvement with various characters’ dreams.

Just like the third volume of the “Sandman” series “Dream Country, “ “Fables and Reflections” is mainly a collection of different tales that detail the adventures that Morpheus and his siblings encountered when they are interfering with many people’s dreams. There are a total of nine stories in this volume and they are:

1) Fear of Falling

Morpheus helps a young man overcome his fears of possible failure in his acting career.

2) Three Septembers and a January

Morpheus and his siblings all pitch in to help an old man named Joshua Norton become emperor of the United States of America.

3) Thermidor

Morpheus helps a young woman named Lady Johanna Constantine retrieve the dismembered head of Orpheus in 17th century France.

4) The Hunt

A Grandfather tells his granddaughter an old tale that details the adventures of Vassily and his visit to claim the hand of a beautiful princess.

5) August

This tale relates about how Augustus Caesar receives a special visit from Dream and decides to play the role of a beggar.

6) Soft Places

Marco Polo, famous explorer meets up with Fiddler’s Green and Dream.

7) Orpheus

This relates the dark tale of Orpheus who loses his love after she is killed by a snake and he decides to go down to the underworld to get her back.

8) The Parliament of Rooks

Matthew the Raven, Cain and Abel and Eve all tell twisted versions of certain biblical stories to Morpheus’ baby son, Daniel.

9) Ramadan

This relates the tale of a famous king in Baghdad named Haroun Al Raschid, who wishes to give up his city to Dream.

Like the third volume of the “Sandman” series, “Dream Country,” this is basically a collection of miscellaneous tales that detail the adventures that Dream and his siblings have with dealing with other people’s dreams and is not technically apart of the major story that was presented in “Preludes and Nocturnes,” “The Doll’s House,” “Season of Mists” and “A Game of You.” Neil Gaiman never ceases to amaze me with his talented writing and brilliant retelling of classic fairy tales and myths.  I always loved the dark and surreal world of Dream and his siblings and it was great seeing them do their duties in the dream world while meddling a bit in the dreams of various people.  Probably my favorite stories in this volume were “Thermidor,” “Orpheus” and “The Parliament of Rooks” because they were all mysterious and intense at the same time. What I loved about the story “Thermidor” was how a young woman was coming up with a plan that would save France from the Tyranny it was place on and the idea about a talking decapitated head was truly creepy yet interesting at the same time! I loved “Orpheus” as it was a truly sad tale with a gruesome ending that really made me feel for Orpheus’ loss of his wife.  “The Parliament of Rooks” was a truly unusual story as it retold many biblical stories such as “Adam and Eve” and “Cain and Abel” and put a dark twist to those stories. I really enjoyed how Neil Gaiman wove various mythologies (in the story “August”) and fairy tales (in the story “The Hunt”) into the “Sandman” stories and created a dark and interesting world within these stories.  Bryan Talbot, Stan Woch, P. Craig Russell, Shawn McManus, John Watkiss, Jill Thompson, Duncan Eagleson, and Kent Williams’ artwork just truly stood out in this volume as they are truly beautiful and frightening to look at, especially of the images of the beautiful world that Orpheus lives in as we see green hillsides and gorgeous cliffs.  Since I am a huge fan of gory images, the details being made in the images where characters are beheaded and being torn to shreds was done expertly and I really cringed at the gory images of the characters being killed off in a gruesome fashion.

As with the other volumes in the “Sandman” series, this volume contains many gory scenes such as some scenes of rats being smashed and one scene where a person is beheaded and you can see blood spurt everywhere.  For readers who do not like reading gory scenes, these scenes might be a bit too uncomfortable for them to read.  Also, another problem I had with this volume is that some of the stories lack a bit of action and I often got a little bored with some of these stories and I wished that there was some kind of action going on in some of these stories that would keep me interested in the stories.

Overall, “The Sandman: Fables and Reflections” is a great volume that details the random adventures of Dream and his siblings, but it could have been a bit better if there was more action in the stories.

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