Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: The Sandman Vol.4, Season of Mists

THE SANDMAN VOL. 4, SEASON OF MISTS: A tale of mythology and drama

Thousands of years ago, Dream condemned Nada to Hell because she rejected his love. In this volume, the rest of the Endless convince him that what he has done is unjust. To correct his own mistake, Dream decides to make a journey to Hell and rescue Nada. But he knows that Lucifer is someone to look out for. After all, the Lord of Hell has once sworn to destroy him because of a past event.

I said in my review of The Doll’s House, the second volume, that the whole volume appears to be a huge prologue to a bigger story. The Sandman Vol. 4, Season of Mists, is that story. And that’s what I really like about this volume. I’ve been introduced to its story before, so the emotional investment is already there.

What makes this volume even more impactful is the fact that the events in it have far more crucial consequences compared to the other volumes. Volume 1 focused on Dream’s personal affairs, volume 2, on his world, and volume 3, on different storylines. This volume, on the other hand, involves matters that could drastically change the overall scheme of things. It tackles the looming conflict between Dream and Lucifer, which will obviously have negative repercussions on their respective realms and perhaps on other realms as well. It tackles the affairs of Norse Gods, Egyptian Gods, Nippon Gods, and other significant pantheons. The issues are so critical that it makes the story incredibly gripping. I just can’t put the volume down because I badly want to know what happens next.

            Another thing I like about the story is that its twists and turns are all foreshadowed, meaning all of them are not there just for shock value. They are very logical. However, I still couldn’t say that the story is perfect. Some pages do not seem to drive it to the right direction. Some sequences are random, but the good thing is that they are not too random to appear out of place. However, I must admit that this tendency for randomness, instead of disengaging me to the story, actually puts me more to the hook. It makes me hunger more for the development of the actual plot.

As for the characters, Season of Mists has a wide variety of interesting ones. Firstly, I’ve finally been introduced to the Endless family. Each of them has very distinct personalities. Each also has intriguing histories that could be further expanded in other volumes. Secondly, the mix of mythological characters and creatures is nothing but exciting. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see the princess of Chaos threatening Dream in his own realm, or Odin bribing Dream for the sake of Midgard, or Thor seducing an Egyptian Goddess while he’s drunk? The fact that I know that these characters are from different pantheons make their interactions, which are either serious or comical, really interesting.

            In terms of writing style, this volume is so far the most lyrical of the whole series. The style is so poetic that there are instances that it gives a very formal impression -- for the better. The writing is also very consistent up to the end. The reason why I’m taking note of this is that some stories tend to start good but end bad. I think stories that end bad, no matter how good the start is, are just bad in general. This is not the case for Season of Mists. From start to finish, it is truly a rollercoaster ride and the ending makes it even more satisfying. The ending really gives the compelling story justice.

As of now, I’ve read up to volume 6 of the series, and I can say that The Sandman Vol. 4, Season of Mists, is by far the best volume. The story is amazing. The characters are interesting. The writing style is very poetic and consistent all throughout. Surely, it has lived up to the Sandman franchise. Or maybe I should say, it has exceeded my already high expectations to the series.

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