Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Review: The Sandman Vol.2, The Doll's House

THE SANDMAN VOL. 2, THE DOLL’S HOUSE: A huge prologue of a larger story

The second volume of the Sandman continues the undertakings of Dream, the lord of, you guessed it, dreams. The story begins with a rather peculiar prologue about a people that are obliterated by a giant fireball from the sun. The reason for this catastrophe, as narrated by a tribesman, is the love affair between Queen Nada and the Lord of Dreams. Despite being labelled as a prologue in the book, this portion does not relate to the happenings in the entire volume. The book jumps into an entirely different story that focuses on Rose Walker, who, as it turns out, is a dream vortex. Thus, the major conflict of the volume has been introduced.

What makes this major conflict interesting is that it explores Neil Gaiman’s fictional world further. It introduces the reader to new characters and places that prove to be significant in the overall story of The Sandman. Aside from this major conflict, there are also minor conflicts in the volume. They tell the complications of rogue dreams and how they affect the world and its people. What I like about these minor conflicts is that they are not insignificant. They are interwoven with the major conflict, meaning that they are not just random ordeals to make the story longer. In addition, their resolutions are made rather well. There are enough tensions, which give the impression that they are not solved prematurely. To top it all off, there are subtle hints in them that suggest that these plot points are still important further in the overall story of The Sandman, especially the chapters that suggest Desire’s cunning and Robert Gadling’s longing for immortality.

            This suggestion of future storylines is what makes The Sandman Vol.2, the Doll’s House, a very interesting read. It has enough unsolved mysteries and established storylines that will surely make the reader grab the next volumes. From here, the reader will realize that the opening portion of the book, the tale of Queen Nada and the Lord of Dreams, is an introduction to an even bigger story that is expected to unfold in the next volumes. As a matter of fact, the whole volume itself, The Doll’s House, appears to be a huge prologue.

This is enough proof that Neil Gaiman has created a huge storyline that he has planned out intricately ahead of time. If he has the ability to create a whole volume that introduces new characters and new conflicts that will be significant in the grand scheme of things, the readers will discover, without a doubt, that this series is destined to get only better.

As for the book’s prose, it is not surprising that it lives up to its predecessor -- Preludes and Nocturnes. It continues to utilize the lyrical writing style that made the previous volume captivating. However, it is not formal enough to pass as too poetic and boring. Again, I can only make unprofessional judgment on the art, for that is not my specialty. Let me just say that I find some of the pencilling too dirty and too sketch-like for my taste. I think it is plagued with too many lines.

Overall, I enjoyed the first volume more than this. But it doesn’t mean that this volume is not good. I just honestly think that the first volume is too hard to surpass.

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