The Sandman: King of Dreams by Alisa Kwitney – review

Chronicle Books, 2003, 180 pages, 0811835928, Hardcover, $35.00

Genre: Non-fiction/Graphic Novelsandmankog

This is going to be my shortest review to date, mostly out of necessity, but also because there’s no reason for me to ramble on about it (and, believe me, you’ll be seeing my ability to ramble all too soon in my review of The Lies of Locke Lamora).

This is a great book to read for anyone who wants a primer on the graphic novel series The Sandman. It’s perfect for those who, perhaps, have been meaning to pick up The Sandman and just didn’t know where to start, or even for those needing to write up a presentation on comics and wanting to use it as an example. And before you ask, yes, I’ve met both of those requirements.

Alisa Kwitney does a lovely job of summarizing each volume of the series and bringing to light its most interesting and moving moments. Her insights are both useful and entertaining, and I truly enjoyed reading the entirety of the book.

I do feel that, toward the end, she stopped being as conversational as she had been in the first half of the book. She stuck more to summary and extrapolated less, which I was sorry to see. All the same I think she did an excellent job of bringing it all together and getting across the main ideas as well as the depth of the character Dream. Reading this book made Dream a real and exciting character for me without yet having read the series itself (though I have the first volume now and plan to read it right away).

The layout designers of the book should be commended as well. The interior is interesting to look at with full color pages, samples from The Sandman’s stories, and fun, textured backgrounds that make flipping the pages just as interesting as reading the material inside. And while the size of the book may be large, most of that is taken up by the visual elements. Completing it will take less than a day.

So, again, this is a very useful book for anyone who’s ready to jump into the universe of The Sandman and needs a map to get started. Or if you’ve already read the series, it will make for nice supplementary reading. I now look forward to reading The Sandman and determining just how much of it lives up to the expectations that I’ve formed since finishing The Sandman: King of Dreams.



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