Monday, July 8, 2013

#CBR5 Review #31: The Sandman – The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman

The Kindly Ones is the ninth book in Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series of The Sandman. After finding the previous installment to be slightly lackluster compared to some of the others, I had been putting off reading this volume for a while. But now that I have, I can tell you that this hesitation was not warranted, despite being the largest and longest inclusion to the series. In fact, the heft that The Kindly Ones bares allows for many of the interconnecting tales within to be fleshed out in detail, thus making this volume one of the strongest in the series, in my opinion. More than anything, however, The Kindly Ones is the novel in which everything really comes to a head in the series, after simply providing us with snippets along the way up to this point; many characters return and are once again interwoven in the world of dreaming in one way or another, and we see where most everything was ultimately heading after all this time.

While many things occur throughout this novel simultaneously, the main focus of the story is on Hippolyta Hall. After Hippolyta’s son, Daniel, is kidnapped by the mischevious characters Loki and Robin Goodfellow, Hippolyta is convinced that Morpheus has claimed him, and seeks revenge on the Dream Lord; to find her son, she seeks the guidance of the witches known as the Furies (who are essentially like The Fates for all intents and purposes of explanation), as they can help her seek revenge on Morpheus due to the fact that he has familial blood on his hands. Great destruction falls upon the land of Dreaming as the Furies begin to attack, all leading to one inevitable conclusion that Destiny has foreseen.

As I mentioned before, one great strength to this novel is the fact that it is longer than many of the others, allowing for more detail and story to take place. Despite this, however, some little storylines are still left very vague and on the outskirts of everything, making me wonder if their significance is really anything substantial, and if they are necessary to include at all. Regardless, because this volume comes near the end of the series, all the events of the overarching story really start to come together, and characters from long before all begin to reappear and make sense with one another. Some of them I had forgotten, as I read many of the previous books in this series quite a while ago, and this made me confused as to how they were really related to anything in the story at first, but slowly everything started to piece together. And yet, the ending was slightly vague, leaving you wondering what is to come in the next (and final) installment to the series. However, I’m sure there will always be questions and mysteries, and little things left up to the reader to interpret for themselves.

So did I like it? Yes, I did! It was one of the more enjoyable in the series for certain, but as always, if you are already a fan of The Sandman, then I doubt The Kindly Ones will disappoint you, as it kind of took me back to some of the wonder and interests of some of the first few volumes in the series, where the enjoyment all began (yeesh, that sounded cheesy, and yet...).

[Be sure to check out more reviews on the Cannonball Read group blog]

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