Title: The Dream Hunters [The Sandman 11]
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Rating: 4 Star
Sandman fans should feel lucky that master fantasy writer Neil Gaiman discovered the mythical world of Japanese fables while researching his translation of Hayao Miyazaki’s film Princess Mononoke. The product of Gaiman’s immersion in Japanese art, culture, and history, Sandman: Dream Hunters is a classic Japanese tale (adapted from “The Fox, the Monk, and the Mikado of All Night’s Dreaming”) that he has subtly morphed into his Sandman universe.
Like most fables, the story begins with a wager between two jealous animals, a fox and a badger: which of them can drive a young monk from his solitary temple? The winner will make the temple into a new fox or badger home. But as the fox adopts the form of a woman to woo the monk from his hermitage, she falls in love with him. Meanwhile, in far away Kyoto, the wealthy Master of Yin-Yang, the onmyoji, is plagued by his fears and seeks tranquility in his command of sorcery. He learns of the monk and his inner peace; he dispatches demons to plague the monk in his dreams and eventually kill him to bring his peace to the onmyoji. The fox overhears the demons on their way to the monk and begins her struggle to save the man whom at first she so envied.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
This is a beautiful example of why I love and adore graphic novels.
Well done graphic novels are just stunning. Not only do you get well written story that captivates you, you also get stunning art to go along with it, and this pleases the artist in the greatly.
I am a little ashamed to admit that this is my first Neil Gaiman experience and I am not disappointed in it. We are told a story of a fox that falls in love with a monk and her struggles to keep him alive when others become jealous of his peace and plot his death. It was a simple story but very very beautiful. I found the story very enchanting but then I also found it a little slow and simple at times which is why it only reached the 4 star rating.
I liked all the characters, they serve their purpose they were given in the story. However, it is was only these purposes they served and they didn’t really go beyond that and lacked some depth. They were beautiful, but they were not complicated.
The art in this book was just simply wonderful. Yes, sometimes it was ugly and not really the kind of thing I would normally be attracted too, but that suited the story very much. The style was a mixture of watercolour style and drawing. The effect really added to the mystery of the story.
If I had one serious complaint with the story it would be that the story was too short and in fear of spoiling it my review seems to reflect that. That is the danger with graphic novels I suppose. If you have only a few pages and those pages mainly consist of art then you don’t have large amounts to talk about. Either way though, I strongly suggest this novel to everyone who likes old stories.
Till Next Time…