2015 TBR Challenge Review: The Sandman

The Sandman, Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman, (The Sandman #1)

Published January 1st 1991

Paperback, 240 pages

Source: Chicago Public Library



In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.
This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings,” which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death.

I have made it pretty clear I think that I’m basically in love with everything that Neil Gaiman writes.  If I had one book I could read forever it would be American Gods.  So I was kind of ashamed that I’d never tried his graphic novel series The Sandman – thanks to the Roof Beam Reader TBR Challenge I can say I’ve crossed the first in the series off my list!   Of course now the next book is on my TBR but that’s ok because it’s Neil Gaiman.  

So the Sandman, Morpheus, is captured by some creepy dudes who are trying to actually capture Death.  When he finally escapes – 70 years later – there are lots of scary dreams happening.  Morpheus needs to find his objects of power to reestablish his power as the King of his land and must deal with humans, demons and total madmen to do so.  

There are some worlds that Neil Gaiman has created that I would live in – The Sandman’s is not one of them.  I do not want those dreams thank you very much.  The dreams in the Sandman won’t just leave you scared when you wake up – you might not wake up at all.  I expected darkness, I don’t think I expected the level of violence that would be in these stories or maybe it just hit me differently because it really is right there to see the blood not in my imagination?  Either way – ick.   

Morpheus was a far more sympathetic character than I expected though.  I was really sad he had so much work to do to recover from his kidnapping.  I was sad for the people that were having such horrific dreams because he was out of balance.  And Death – I kind of loved her as strange as that sounds.  I hope she’s present in the next book!

I haven’t read a lot of graphic novels but as I read this I was just blown away by the amount of work that had to have gone in – writer, artist, colorists.  How do they all collaborate I wonder?  Definitely something I’ll be reading about when I have the next 4 books in the TBR challenge read!  My favorite thing about this book – I finished and handed it to my husband who immediately started reading it too. Gaiman books for everyone!

Review: The Sculptor

The Sculptor, Scott McCloud


Published February 3rd 2015 by First Second

Hardcover, 496 pages

Source: ARC from Publisher



David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding  what  to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier!

This is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world’s greatest city. It’s about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life…and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into great fiction with a breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable new work.

I have to say to start this was my very first graphic novel.  I admit, I judged what the plot would be based on the cover and I was very wrong – and I am so glad about that. Wow!  Scott McCloud conveys every possible emotion in this book and even more amazing to me it’s all drawn in black and white.  Despair, passion, hope, love- it’s all there!   I cannot draw beyond a stick person so I’m in awe of the story McCloud was able to tell here.  The size seemed intimidating but I flew through the Sculptor in about 3 sittings because I could not wait to see what happened when David’s 200 days were over.

When we meet David he is not a happy person.  He is impulsive and has a history of making poor choices – as evidenced by the deal he makes with Death.  He gets 200 days of life during which he can create anything he wants, but that’s it.  The ways David choses to spend that time are both funny and still sad and I loved watching all of it play out across his face.  I didn’t quite like David in the beginning.  He’s feeling really sorry for himself and he had a few too many rules for his life-but I loved the growth that happened in these pages and my heart hurt a bit to finish this book.

Maybe the dialogue was a bit melodramatic at times, but in the context of the story and David’s time running out I can totally forgive that.   I expected to be entertained by The Sculptor, I did not expect to be moved in the end.  I found the ending so beautiful and hopeful despite my sadness that it was over.

If you want to know more Holly tells me that Scott McCloud was just on the Nerdette podcast so check that out if you’re a podcast person! (I’m still on episode 2 of Serial which will take me 18 months to finish personally)

Thank you First Second for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion!

If this sends me down the graphic novel rabbit hole any recommendations of what to try next?