Saturday, October 19, 2013

Book Review: The Sandman Vol.5, A Game of You

THE SANDMAN VOL. 5, A GAME OF YOU: The writing style and atmosphere are very different compared to other volumes -- for the better

A Game of You follows Barbie, a young New Yorker who has ceased dreaming. One day, she encounters a peculiar dog in the street, and she suddenly remembers that this dog is from a long-forgotten dream of hers. Baffled, she soon finds herself in the Dreaming, to continue the long-forgotten dream. However, there are dangers lurking in the corners of both the imagined landscape and the real world, and they are much closer than she has anticipated.

In general, what I really like about the Sandman is its ability to expand the little details that the author has presented in the previous volumes. One of the most prominent examples of this is how the entire storyline of Season of Mists, the fourth volume, has been established in The Doll’s House, the second volume. A Game of You is the same case. Its storyline is based on a seemingly random detail presented in The Doll’s House. But other than this similarity, A Game of You is actually very different compared to its predecessors.

            A Game of You is written in a voice that is both fun and comical, as opposed to the lyrical voice of its forerunners. But this fun voice is not utilized as a desperate attempt to be different. It is the necessary voice required by the atmosphere of the storyline. The atmosphere is inherently magical by nature, and a fun writing voice gives it a more childish and innocent impression. This impression is another thing that makes this volume different to other volumes, for the others are more mature and dark in terms of atmosphere.

However, this does not mean that A Game of You is not mature and dark. The storyline clearly shows that. Yes, the story is very magical. It has plot elements that are very fantastical and somewhat childish in their outermost layers. But if you dig to them deeper, you’ll realize that they present truths and ironies. These make A Game of You mature and dark as well, though the general impression could be too fantastical.

            The characters are also very distinct. The New Yorkers, Barbie’s friends, have something going on inside them. They are not just cardboards whose only role is to increase character count. One of them, Thessaly, is also established as someone who has an intriguing history. I dare to say that her story will be expanded in the next volumes. The fantastic creatures of the dream are also not to be ignored. They are also very interesting and inspired in their own ways, and they have boosted the magical atmosphere of the storyline. A personal favourite among them are the Tweeners. There are also characters in the dream that the readers don’t get to see, like the Hieromancer. The fact that the readers don’t get to see them is in itself proof that the author has established the story in a grander scale, and he just chose not to spoil everything to the readers to leave some for their imaginations.

The storytelling is also fun. It jumps between the main story -- the story of Barbie in the Dreaming -- and the story of Barbie’s New Yorker friends. Each story just has enough plot elements to make it interesting. In fact, each story is interesting enough that when the jump to the other story occurs, it just feels like a cliff-hanger. The feeling just becomes more and more intense as the stories interweave.

Yes, A Game of You is very different compared to other volumes. But in a sense, it is the same as the others. It continues the trend of having subtlety between the lines; the only difference is that this volume is the most subtle of them all. The plot elements of A Game of You are just very metaphorical and allegorical. Also like the others, it is very mature -- despite the childish outer layers. Surely, A Game of You is but a game. But it is one with a deep meaning. It hides truths and ironies about lost friends, about childhood memories, and, most of all, about dreams.

Related posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment