Ooh, this volume is spookier than I remember. It’s a bit hard to explain the plot, which is intricately linked to other storylines, but in short, it’s about a girl called Rose, who is looking for her little brother. A number of other people are milling around: G.K. Chesterton, a woman who’s been pregnant for several years, a serial killer with teeth in his eyes, women with enormous spider collections, and that makes it interesting. Still, essentially it’s all about Rose. She has multicolored hair and numerous connections to the previous volume. She is also a vortex, which means that she can break down the walls between everybody’s dreams. In case this does not sound alarming, Neil Gaiman makes it really, really disturbing. Like, much more so than the serial killer convention. (To me – but I’m very attached to my dreams. I’d be interested to know what other people think. How disturbing do you find that scene where all of her flatmates’ dreams start melting into each other? Particularly with Barbie and Ken?)
When I first started writing this review, I was going to say that two of the issues included in this volume don’t really go well with the rest of the book, but then I realized that was nonsense. They both go very very well, “Tales in the Sand” and “Men of Good Fortune”, because they give you a really vivid sense of Dream’s mercilessness and isolation, and how both of those things can play into what’s going to happen in the rest of this volume. As well as what’s going to happen at the end of the series, which – hey – is pretty impressive.
Gilbert is such a wonderful part of The Doll’s House. I love Gilbert. I think it is so nice of Neil Gaiman to have given his fictional G.K. Chesterton the chance to really actually rescue a damsel in distress, which G.K. Chesterton seems to have greatly wanted to do. G.K. Chesterton charms me. I would say that G.K. Chesterton accounts for a higher percentage of the quotations in my commonplace book than any other author – funny how I don’t own a single thing he wrote. But he’s delightful here.
Still not the best, but Neil Gaiman is clearly finding his voice. The theme of storytelling that runs through the Sandman continues to be developed here. Neil Gaiman is always good with that theme. Hm, and so is Martine Leavitt. Creating yourself by the story you have about yourself. That’s a good theme. When it is handled well in a book, I nearly always like that book. Maybe always always. I’ll have to think more about this.