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Neil Gaiman & Yoshitaka Amano – Sandman: The Dream Hunters

March 23, 2009

31. The Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano (1999)
The Sandman, Book 11 (although can be read at any point)

Length: 128 pages

Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, sort-of-graphic-novel-y.

Started: 21 March 2009
Finished: 21 March 2009

How long has it been on my TBR pile? N/A
Verdict? N/A

A fox, a monk, and
gorgeous pictures of Dream make
this tale come to life.

Bah. Not one of my better haikus – which seems even worse, given that it’s for a book based on a Japanese legend.

Summary: The Dream Hunters is a lavishly told and gorgeously illustrated take of the Japanese folk tale “The Fox, The Monk, and The Mikado of All Night’s Dreaming”, set in the Sandman universe. In it, a fox falls in love with a monk who lives alone in a remote temple, and she is willing to sacrifice her life to save his – even if it means invoking the Dream King’s help. The tale is told in prose, not in typical graphic-novel format, but Yoshitaka Amano’s ethereal illustrations adorn every facing page.

Review: A beautiful little book that should be enjoyed by Sandman fans and non-Sandman fans alike. While a fair bit of this does take place in the Dreaming, and several familiar faces other than Morpheus make an appearance, it would certainly be understandable and enjoyable without having read the ten volumes that make up the “main” Sandman canon. It’s a lovely tale, and I loved how Gaiman retained the Japanese folk-tale feeling while still working it into the Sandman universe – particularly when Cain and Abel showed up. The artwork similarly treads the border between the two worlds, giving us a vision of the Dream King who is simultaneously recognizable yet new, and who acts a reminder of the universality of the emotions if not the experiences of the tale. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: An excellent introduction to Japanese folklore, the Sandman universe, or Gaiman’s storytelling in general. It’s a fast read, and so lovely that it shouldn’t be missed.

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

Other Reviews: Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, Things Mean A Lot
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: A monk lived in solitude beside a temple on the side of a mountain.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2009 6:00 am

    I just love Amano’s art and I know I should read the Sandman at some point soon! This is definitely a prod in the right direction, thanks!

  2. March 23, 2009 8:26 am

    I read my first Gaiman book recently and really want to read more. This looks like a good one to add to my wish list.

  3. March 23, 2009 12:50 pm

    Meghan – Oh, you should definitely pick up this book! It’s a gentle introduction into the Sandman Universe without necessarily committing yourself to reading all of the giant compilations.

    bermudaonion – He’s an excellent storyteller, and that’s really on display here. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. March 23, 2009 3:56 pm

    Such a beautiful book. I actually tend to think that this is the ideal introduction to Sandman. It works perfectly as a standalone, but it also gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the Sandman universe. I’m glad you loved it too!

  5. March 24, 2009 4:29 pm

    Nymeth – It’s definitely a gentler way of dipping a toe into the Sandman waters than Preludes & Nocturnes, some of which is pretty heavy nightmare fodder.

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