The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III)

The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes collects issues 1-8 of The Sandman series written by Neil Gaiman, and illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg and Malcolm Jones III. I read the German translation by Gerlinde Althoff.
Finished on: 8.9.2022

Plot:
When the magician Roderick Burgess sets out to capture Death (and end up with immortality), something goes wrong. Instead of Death, he ends up with Dream in a cage. Ever enterprising, Burgess is sure that he can make this work for himself, too. And if he can’t, it is probably better to keep him locked up and not draw attention to the fact that he did. But Dream is one of the Eternals. Even without the magical items Burgess stripped from him, he can bide his time. And his day will come. Meanwhile though, a world without Dream shows signs of decay as a sleeping sickness ravages its people.

I’ve had the Sandman comics at home since about forever (I bought them so long ago, I still have them in German and not English). But as these things go, I never read them. Now with the TV show out, I decided it was finally time. And the start is definitely promising, albeit a little uneven.

The comic cover showing the head of Dream, posed over a tower of books.
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Re-Read: Coraline (Neil Gaiman)

Coraline is a children’s novel by Neil Gaiman. My edition comes with illustrations by Dave McKean.
Finished on: 23.11.2016
[Here’s my first “review”.] [Here’s my review of the movie adaptation.]

Plot:
Coraline Jones moves with her parents to a new house. Her parents are always busy so Coraline is left to explore things alone. One day she discovers a hidden door in her house and when she goes through, she meets her Other Mother, who is everything a child could hope for and more. But her Other Mother has buttons for her eyes. She wants Coraline to stay, but for that, Coraline will need to give up her eyes as well.

I did a small analysis of Coraline (book and movie version) for uni, so I re-read and re-watched both. And I really enjoyed reading the book again, even though I look at some things more critically now than when I read it the first time.

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The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)

All of you, who read my blog at least semi-regularly, will know that I’m a Neil Gaiman fan. So, of course, I bought his new book The Graveyard Book right away. [If you want to know more details: I got the hardcover adult edition, illustrated by Dave McKean.]

The book is about Bod, short for Nobody, Owens. His parents are killed by the man Jack and he is adopted and raised by some ghosts on a graveyard near his home. Each chapter is one short story, which could more or less stand alone, describing one event in his life. They are all set at one, two years intervals.

I liked the book, and I basically gobbled it up.

The illustrations are wonderful, but I wouldn’t expect any less from Dave McKean.

It’s a sweet story, but the story alone wouldn’t be much, I’m afraid. What makes the book good are the details. The way Bod finds his way around the graveyard, using the headstone inscriptions. The headstone inscriptions themselves. Silas [I really, really loved that character and the way he’s described]. The Jacks.

Bod stays a bit intangible, which is probably what Gaiman was going for: Bod has a ghostlike quality to him, it’s not easy to grasp him as a character. While this is a great concept, it makes it really hard to get Bod, to understand him and feel with him, which are necessary prerequisites to wanting him to succeed and to fight for him and to love him.

And I think that’s the crux of the whole book – I realise it’s a great piece of writing, but I couldn’t find an entry point that made me love it. [Which, btw, is equally true of The Jungle Book for me, so I guess he was very successful in his homage.] I know that that’s a very personal perception, therefore, my recommendation still stands.

Personally, I wish, Gaiman would go back to writing novels for adults… I like his children’s books, no doubt about it. But what made me fall in love with his work are his novels for adults. And I would like to read something in that category again.