01 July 2011

PRELUDES & NOCTURNES by NEIL GAIMAN

I just finished my first graphic novel, Preludes and Nocturnes. It is the first volume in the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. There are several reasons why I decided to try this book. One of my groups is doing a seasonal challenge where we are asked to read books outside of our normal genres. One of the genres I chose was graphic novels, and since the last few books I have read were not that good, I thought a short one would help get me back into reading. Finally, I have a friend who LOVES graphic novels and she recommended this series as one of the best. Since I like Neil Gaiman's books, I thought I would give it a chance. 

The reason that I don't usually read graphic novels is because, for some reason, I find the "comic book" style format very hard to read. That still held true for this book, especially since the page flow was not consistent from page to page. At times the pages were configured in columns, some of them in rows, and still others in more creative formats. To me, that interferes with the flow of the story. 

Another interesting aspect of this book was the different fonts used for each character. At first that took some getting used to, just like the page formats, but in the end, I actually liked this. The separate fonts seemed to give each character their own voice. 

Negating the above, though, my difficulty with the format was more than overcome by the story. The beginning novel deals with the story of Dream and how he is trying to rebuild his life after being held captive for decades. I found the references to old comic book heroes, mythology and religion, and magic really helped the story develop. In addition, the characters were interesting, and just enough was revealed about them to leave you wanting more. One of the most fun things, too, was the inclusion of all of the Dream/Sandman themed songs from through out the years. What does it say about me that I was familiar with most of them? 

All in all, I am putting this one in the win column, and plan to continue the series and see how the story develops.