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Neil Gaiman – The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 3

February 11, 2009

17. The Absolute Sandman, Volume 3 by Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, Vince Locke, Bryan Talbot, Mark Buckingham, P. Craig Russell, Michael Zulli, John Watkiss, Dick Girodano, Michael Allred, Shea Anton Pensa, Alec Stevens, Gary Amaro, Kent Williams, Tony Harris, Steve Leialoha, Daniel Vozzo, Lovern Kindzierski, Sherilyn Van Valkeburgh, Todd Klein, Dave McKean (collection 2008; individual pieces 1991-2000)

Read my review of:
Volume 1
Volume 2

Length: 616 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel; Fantasy

Started: 08 February 2009
Finished: 10 February 2009

How long has it been on my TBR pile? N/A; library book

The other Endless
are showcased, as it all starts
to move toward an end.

Summary: Volume Three of the Absolute Sandman series offers up one large story arc, “Brief Lives” (and the single-issue “Song of Orpheus”, which is essentially a prequel.) In this, Delerium is on a mission to find her brother, the only one of the Endless who has abdicated his responsibilities and gone missing. Dream agrees to accompany her, albeit for his own reasons, and neither of them quite gets what they were looking for. There’s also a smaller “arc”, World’s End, which is primarily composed of stories told by travelers who have wound up stuck at the Inn at Worlds End. There are also several single-issue stories, including the acclaimed “Ramadan”, as well as “A Parliment of Rooks”, in which we get a brief look at Dream and Death as children.

Review: I’m having somewhat of a hard time gauging my reaction to this volume. On the one hand, I found the stories – particularly “Brief Lives” – to be really interesting, since they’re the first time that I’ve really felt like each of the individual volumes is part of a whole. I still can’t see the story arc of the series entire, but I’ve glimpsed it, and there’s clearly been some character growth and some story progress since the beginning. (Plus, I like the rest of the Endless almost as much as I like Dream, and I really enjoy watching them interact as a family.) On the other hand, though, nothing in this volume was as emotionally driven or as wholly satisfying as either of the arcs from Volume 2, “Season of Mists” or “A Game of You”. Nor did any of the single-issues stories (or any of the stories within “World’s End”) really capture my imagination the way some of the earlier ones have. So while it’s fascinating watching Gaiman spin an entire new world out of bits of mythology and stories from every corner of the Earth, this volume just didn’t quite have the resonance I could have wished for. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Don’t start on Volume 3, obviously, but the series as a whole is absolutely worth reading, and I’m curious to see how the pieces all fit together in Volume 4.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Didn’t see any for the Absolute version, or even for any of its constituent parts. If I missed yours, leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.


  • Vertigo Preview
  • 1. Fear of Falling

  • Convergence
  • 40. The Parliment of Rooks

  • Sandman Special
  • 1. The Song of Orpheus

  • Brief Lives
  • 41. Chapter One
    42. Chapter Two
    43. Chapter Three
    44. Chapter Four
    45. Chapter Five
    46. Chapter Six
    47. Chapter Seven
    48. Chapter Eight
    49. Chapter Nine

  • Distant Mirrors
  • 50. Ramadan

  • World’s End
  • 51. A Tale of Two Cities
    52. Cluracan’s Tale
    53. Hob’s Leviathan
    54. The Golden Boy
    55. Cerements
    56. World’s End

    5 Comments leave one →
    1. February 11, 2009 8:23 pm

      I was looking at the Absolute books today at the bookstore, wow they are just gorgeous and I love the hardcase that each volume comes with. They had 3 lined up on a shelf and they were almost too pretty to think of reading lol :)

    2. February 12, 2009 5:01 am

      World’s End and Brief Lives are probably my favourites. Then again, I’ve been known to say this of almost all Sandman volumes except the first, depending on my mood :P Sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as volume 2…but I’m glad you did enjoy it still :)

    3. February 12, 2009 8:53 am

      Joanne – They are absolutely gorgeous, aren’t they? I haven’t seen the slipcover that comes with them (since I get mine from the library), but the books themselves are huge and beautiful, and come with their own page-marking ribbons, which I think more books need. ;)

      Nymeth – Of the ones I’ve read so far, “Brief Lives” has been my favorite “intellectually”, but it just didn’t have the emotional connection of some of the others. I also really liked the last chapter (installment) of “World’s End”, but the individual stories we a little more hit-or-miss.

    4. February 16, 2009 8:52 pm

      I do plan on reading these eventually, especially given how much I loved his Graveyard Book!

    5. February 17, 2009 10:51 am

      Ladytink – Definitely! Gaiman’s a great storyteller, and considering how a large theme of these books are the power of stories and storytellers, it’s a natural fit.

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