The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

Title:  The Sandman Vol 1:  Preludes & Nocturnes

Author:  Neil Gaiman

Illustrators:  Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Malcolm Jones III

Paperback:  240 pages

Published:  1991

ISBN:  9781563890116

page 73 page76

K, the trouble with doing graphic novel reviews is that it’s hard for me to quote or to give you a good feel of the book.  This is the first book in Gaiman’s Sandman series, book three receiving the most praise.  This book begins with a small cabal trying to capture Death, but getting Dream instead.  During his 70 or so years of captivity, his belongings are stolen and scattered throughout the universe.  When a guard falls asleep during his watch, Dream takes this opportunity to escape.  Bent on getting revenge, he has to collect his three main tools:  His dream dust, his mask and his ruby in which he has stored his power.  In the above panels, Dream enlists the sight of the Hecate to learn where these items can be found.

Traveling to different planes, he spends time with Cain and Abel, travels to Hell to challenge a demon in a game of wits for his helmet, finds his sand in the possession of a woman who’s been using it to escape her own reality, and finally finds his ruby in a storage shed.  But just as he reaches to collect it, he’s overcome by the ruby, which has been changed in the hands of Dr. D. 

John Dee, aka Dr. D, has been demented and twisted mentally under the stone’s power, and can no longer sleep.  He’s spent the last several years locked up in Arkham Asylum, and manages to escape.  He makes his way to the place he left Dream’s Ruby, and laughs at the immortal laying on the floor as he steps over him to pick up the stone.  Dee uses the ruby’s power in vile and perverse ways to make people violate and dismember one another before finally killing each other or themselves.  Dream has to somehow get the ruby out of Dee’s hands before things get worse.

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I started reading this book last year and was enjoying it, taking it a little bit at a time to make it last.  But somewhere along the way, I set it aside and forgot to pick it back up until the end of the year, when I started trying to finish up books I’d started in 2009.  It is possible that this break in momentum broke the spell of the book, but I lost interest in it after picking it back up.  When I read “24 Hours”, the chapter in which Dee takes control of the diner and manipulates the people in it in all kinds of weird, gross, and perverse ways… gory panels, indeed, I lost my stomach for the book.  It was a bit too Palahniuk for me, and reminded me of Haunted

The graphics in the book are fantastic.  Dream looks a LOT like Gaiman, and when we meet Death, it’s a surprise.  It is definitely different from my usual read, but I think I’ll just stick to manga and fiction for now.  I still love Gaiman’s work, but I don’t think this is for me.  I give The Sandman:  Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

** As I was looking for images from the book to post in this review, I discovered Fyrefly had also read and reviewed it.  Check it out!

Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren

TITLE: Bedlam, Bath and Beyond
AUTHOR: J. D. Warren
PUBLISH DATE: January 2008
PUBLISHER:Love Spell (div of Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.)
ISBN: 9780505526984

“You know none of this is real, don’t you?” murmured the uniformed fellow at our front door, his voice so urgent that I blinked at him, startle. “I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but this is not your life.”

The words left me feeling like an unsuspecting gnat meeting the windshield of a speeding vehicle. All I could do was gape at him.

“You’ve got to wake up,” he added, handling me my half-percent milk. His whispering became more intense. “You’ve got to remember who you are,” he concluded, before walking away with a nod and a tip of his cap.

Trust me. Four out of five doctors would not recommend it as a way to start off your week.

Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J. D. Warren, page 1

First off, I must say Bedlam, Bath and Beyond is one of the most enjoyable, fun and sexy books I’ve read in a long time (ignoring the fact I’ve not read a lot of books in the past couple months 😉 ). Reminiscent of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, with a fantasy aspect, Bedlam had me laughing out loud at times, and feeling… erm, rather warm at other times.

The story begins with Corydonais, the tall, attractive milkman, commanding Samantha to wake up and remember who she is, and telling her the world she inhabits is NOT reality. As soon as she does this and finds the exit, she returns to the real world to find what had felt like the last two or three weeks actually lasted almost three years, that fairies are real and co-inhabit our world (and that they find the term “fairy” offensive, Peri is preferred), and that she’s being chased by blood-thirsty, vicious boars through the streets of Las Vegas.

With the help of Cor and the Storm Ravens, Samantha discovers why she had been taken, and that a young girl’s life is in danger of Hell (yes, also real and once recipient of Peri offerings) as the tiend, or gift, from an outlawed sect, The Order of the Crows, who would love to see humanity wiped off the Earth.

Along the way, Samantha learns that real love can be found and that not every man will abandon her like her father did. She’s also disgusted by the girlish flirtation of her mother with Cor’s bodyguard, Landemann. Throw into the mix Nikki, Cor’s a 200+ year-old teenage sister, with a Krispy-Kreme fetish, Doreen, Samantha’s mother’s friend, who continually word-vomits about her bunions, plantar warts, and various other nauseating illnesses and medical procedures whether people want to hear or not (most often, NOT), and an ending that frames the book perfectly (Samantha must do the same for Cor that he did for her, remind him of who he is and help him find the exit). What you end up with is brilliant, pleasurable escape from your own “real world”.

I give Bedlam, Bath and Beyond 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend anyone over eighteen (it does have some sexual content) who is looking for a bit of fun and light reading to take a romp with the fairies 😀 .

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