When I was at the old place for our magic game yesterday, I looked through my old bookcases and picked this up. This is only the second time I’m reading this, which is strange for a Sandman volume.
The stories in this volume are enchanting and heartbreaking, although definitely not the best Sandman stories. I love them for the insight they give on the Endless – how Death was before she “cheered up”, when Delight was not yet Delirium, the moment Desire went from being Dream’s “favorite sibling” to being the one who’d break Dream’s heart over and over again. What Destruction is really like. (For a Gaiman/Sandman fan, I strangely have only read the original series up to the 6th volume – which means I am probably missing out on a lot, but I’ll catch up one of these days.)
The first three stories – Death and Venice, What I Tasted of Desire, and The Heart of a Star are my favorites. Fifteen Portraits of Despair, the fourth story, was a bit hard to read. I agree with Gaiman in the introduction – it’s a good thing that they didn’t go with 25 portraits. I can’t even say how the stories made me feel, because every word I could think of comes nowhere to even remotely describing it. And then the next two stories, Going Inside and On the Peninsula. They were like… eh, okay. Just so-so. There was this one short story about Delirium that I read once, that was supposed to go into the Book of Dreams collection but never did, that still remains as my favorite Delirium story. It wasn’t by Gaiman, but it was wonderful. Reading the Delirium story here just makes me wish that the other one got published. And the last chapter, about Destiny, wasn’t really a story at all, was it? Just an outro of some sort. A decent ending to the volume, but still. The first three stories were the best.
~ originally posted on blogspot