Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman ★★★★

Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1)Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've had this sitting on my shelf for a while, after a friend gave it to me... but flipping through it when I first received it, I was a little overwhelmed. At the time, I had read only one or two graphic novels in my life, and this just seemed dense and honestly, a bit confusing, what with the overlays and all.

So I set it aside, and I'm glad that I did, because that wasn't the right time for me to read it. I would have pushed through it, and probably would have enjoyed it, but it wouldn't have really been the same. I've read more of Gaiman's work, so I'm more familiar with his style now, and I've read more graphic novels, so I'm more familiar with the format now. And both of those things contributed quite a bit to my enjoyment of this one.

I really, really like Neil Gaiman. I don't think I've read anything of his that I didn't enjoy on some level. I particularly enjoy his stories about mythology and lore, though, and this tied into that perfectly. I thought that the blending of mythology and modernity was great. I loved the concept, and the execution was great. The artwork took a little bit to grow on me, as it's not really my style. In fact, I found myself drawn to the kind of ethereal abstract art separating the sections, which I guess are the individual comic book covers. I love that style, a subtly abstract painting that allows the viewer to see something new every time they look. Beautiful.

So, right, the content artwork isn't exactly my style - I prefer simpler lines and sketches. I like roughness and just a kind of bare hint of shape and color to suggest a form rather than detailed drawings. And it wasn't that this didn't have the qualities that I like, because it did, but I just prefer the detail to be kind of sparingly used, I guess, and that wasn't the case here. Not that it was bad, because it wasn't, but I'm a little picky. I'm not an artist myself (my stick figures end up looking like deformed Quasimodos) but I live with one and play one on TV, so I'm fully qualified to be so. ;)

But as I was saying, it took a bit to grow on me. And once it did, I was drawn into the story and I thought it was very, very well done. I loved Dream. I loved that he was flawed, but I appreciated that he knew both his strengths and his weaknesses and how to work with them. I liked how past, present and future tied in together, and how something so taken for granted can potentially wreak such havoc when out of balance.

I really liked this one, and look forward to reading the rest of the series... one day.

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  1. Nice to read your thoughts on this book. I would definitely encourage you to go on to at least the second book in this series, because in this first one, there is a lot of set-up and worldbuilding -- the story really takes off in the second one. :)

  2. I always have to put myself in a different frame of reading to approach graphic novels. That said, I think The Sandman series are the absolute best, and also my favorite of Gaiman's work. My favorite volumes, the two I've gone back and read several times, are #4 and #7.

    (By the way, I found your blog in the GoodReads poll, and you seemed to review books I'd be interested in. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.)

  3. I do really need to read more Gaiman. I've really enjoyed what I've read so far. :) Glad to hear that you really liked this one!