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The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You (The Sandman #5)

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  35,851 Ratings  ·  794 Reviews
Take an apartment house, mix in a drag queen, a lesbian couple, some talking animals, a talking severed head, a confused heroine, and the deadly Cuckoo. Stir vigorously with a hurricane and Morpheus himself and you get this fifth installment of the Sandman series. This story stars Barbie, who first makes an appearance in The Doll's House, who here finds herself a princess ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 10th 1999 by Vertigo (first published 1993)
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Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanBatman by Frank Miller
Required Reading Graphic Novels
58th out of 805 books — 1,464 voters
Fables, Vol. 1 by Bill WillinghamThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanSaga, Volume 1 by Brian K. VaughanMaus, I by Art SpiegelmanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Great non-super hero Graphic Novels
20th out of 580 books — 218 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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We’re back in the game!!!

Creative Team:

Writer: Neil Gaiman

Illustrators: Shawn McManus, Colleen Doran, Bryan Talbot, George Pratt & Stan Woch

Covers: Dave McKean

Letterer: Todd Klein


I am truly GLAD that my struggles in Season of Mists (the fourth volume) were left there and Neil Gaiman played with my mind a game, a wonderful game of words and images, a game where ironically you are given the rules of it until the end, but
I love Barbie. I love Wanda. I love Thessaly.

Truly, this was one hell of a tightly-woven story including inner-worlds, cuckoo birds, ancient witches, pulling down the moon, and death.

There's no way in hell that I could really boil it down to essentials. As a whole it seriously rocks and hits me in the feels. Sexual identity and childhood and babies is only a part of it. Being wise and forgiving is only a part of it.

Hell, I see that holy-bitch at Wanda's funeral and I see her just acting in her n
Jul 17, 2012 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Game of You, the 5th volume in the Sandman series, is my favorite so far. One thing I've noticed Gaiman is very good at is picking up little threads he dropped in previous stories and building on them (this was one of my favorite things about Buffy; there's nothing more rewarding for a viewer/reader than a story that doesn't forget its past). The most notable one that gets picked up in this volume is the main character, Barbie, who was a minor character in The Doll's House. In that volume, we ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013

The Sandman series goes from strength to strength, capable of reinventing itself with each new collection. Morpheus is mostly absent at the start of A Game of You , but that's all right, as the new characters prove interesting enough without his presence. The story takes place partly in a New York tenement, peopled with oddball characters that for some reason reminded me of Will Eisner, and partly in a fantasy realm that is lost in a far corner of Morpheus' Dreamcountry. Connecting the two is
Anthony Chavez
Dec 16, 2011 Anthony Chavez rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 29, 2015 Cherie rated it liked it
Shelves: series, graphic-novel
I got it! I think...
"It's like, that people... well, that everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody, all of the people in the whole world -- no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe."

This volume is pretty much a self-contained story, with no flashing to different time periods with different characters or inserting separate stories in-between another
Jun 08, 2007 Imogen rated it it was ok
This came into my bookstore and I hadn't read it in a couple years, plus it's the one with the transwoman in it, and I was feeling emotionally vulnerable. So bring it on!

So... yeah. So when I was a little kid I read this and it was like, I was a baby transsexual and all I knew about it was that I'd better not talk about it or admit it to myself or to anybody else. So this book touched me in kind of a weird place and I was SUPER stoked that it treated a transwoman as a human being and, y'know, i
Jan 14, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These just keep getting better and better. I'm really glad I've stuck with these. I was unsure at first but now I'm absolutely loving them. This was one is probably the most straightforward one but man is it dark. It also is one story with the same characters for the whole volume. I really liked that. Bring on the next one!
Jan 13, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gr-specfic-brs, 2016
So excellent! Being one continuous story line, this one was completely engrossing from start to finish. The Sandman series just keeps getting better and better as we see characters we were introduced to in previous stories pop up again later.
Mar 26, 2012 Ronyell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sandman Fans!!
6 stars!

Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series just keeps getting better and better every time I read them and the fifth volume “A Game of You” definitely does not disappoint me! This time, Dream (Morpheus) is dealing with a world that may look cute on the outside but on the inside, a sinister force is at work here and it is up to Dream to save the day!

In this volume, “A Game of You,” a young woman named Barbie (think of Ken and Barbie, the dolls that every little girl used to play with) who starts su
Feb 09, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing
Η ιστορία έχει ως κεντρική ηρωίδα τη Barbie, ένα νέο κορίτσι που ζει σε μια πολυκατοικία με τους γείτονες να είναι φίλοι της αλλά ταυτόχρονα πολυ ιδιαίτερες προσωπικότητες. Ειδικά για όσους αισθάνονται στο περιθώριο!
David Schaafsma
This is a great volume focused less on Dream/Morpheus himself than on dream worlds populated by Narnia-like and stuffed animal characters from Barbie's youth, "morphed" into somewhat scarier beings, this being Gaiman, and the dreams of her friends Wanda, a drag Queen, a lesbian couple, a witch named Thessaly, a "street" person who hates dogs, and a scary monster named Cuckoo… and there's a couple gruesome moments in it that just may stay with you… but what also may stay with you is the endorseme ...more
Mark Russell
Feb 26, 2009 Mark Russell rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
It's difficult to review the Sandman books without discussing details that will rob the reader of important surprises, but this is essentially yet another story in which the corporeal world is drawn into a war being waged on the ethereal plain. It centers on a woman (who had a bit role in A Doll's House) who is a princess in the psychic realm, and must return there in order to save a kingdom her earthly self doesn't really know anything about. As always with Gaiman, it's full of great twists and ...more
I was nervous at first because this is another volume that does not involve Dream that much and focuses more on another set of characters. They're not completely from out of the blue, but still. I was also nervous about the dedication at the beginning to Jonathan Carroll and Tori Amos - two people I adore! What if this novel sucks? What will that mean?

It didn't suck. Thankfully. I picked it up today just to flip through because I had other things I needed to do and I figured I'd get back to the
Caro Márquez
Not enough Morpheus in this one, nuh-uh, but the story still quite gripping.
Dec 27, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it
This is one of the Sandman novels I actually found the most simplistic to read even though I think it was the most disturbing. Here the focus is on Barbie and her dream world and her friends who are wanting to help save her. Its gruesome, very gruesome and had me squirming in parts and its so dark and weird it shows Gaimans surreal extreme imagination off at its best. I put this book down shocked at the level of crazy high fantasy I had read!. On with the next!
This one was quite scary. That you can loose yourself if you just listen to one word of Her. And it was sad cause it didn't have HEA ending. It's a pity we didn't get to hear the story of a lady-that-didn't love dogs. And it was funny to see that Sandman was such a lady's man. There it was another of his sweethearts :)
There's always long pauses between volumes. I think I'll reread them all one day to get a clearer picture of what's happened cause they are all clearly connected and one story lead
May 02, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
In this set of stories we are re introduced to Barbie. She first appeared in The Dolls house, with Ken of course, and she dreamt of being a princess in a fairytale land. Now she is living in an apartment with a a variety of characters and friends, but no longer dreams. Martin Tenbones, a person from her previous dream to pass on a amulet. Wearing this she enters the land where she must face someone called The Cuckoo. As she dreams, the others in the apartments suffer nightmares. But one of her f ...more
Oct 12, 2014 Chloe rated it it was ok
Example #832 as to why cis people should never ever attempt to write about trans women. Ever. Every single negative stereotype is included here, from the age-old trope of "the surgery" and depictions of trans women as frivolous and overemotional to the extreme and wrapping up with the "trans woman as tragic warning" trope that means we can only ever be killed and even then denied the very identity we died to achieve. And so much misgendering. So much. From the common "oh, Wanda's really a man" t ...more
Airiz C
In A Game of You, Gaiman goes back to pick up an ostensibly minor thread in The Doll’s House and zeroes in on it: Barbie’s story. Morpheus again lurks in the periphery of the tales in this volume yet plays a significant role in the end. A Game of You tackles several themes that reappear frequently across the whole Sandman series, but mostly the spotlight is on the power of dreams, finding your own identity, how sometimes oneself is one’s source of suffering, friendship, and sexuality.

Jul 12, 2011 Tyson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2011
Easily the best volume of The Sandman through the first five. The story is the least forced of all of them. The earlier volumes seem to have too much crammed in them, and sometimes the story is awkward and unnatural. Gaiman is trying to play with deep ideas, but sometimes he doesn't let the idea speak for itself. In this volume I think he finally does manage to do that.

The theme is one of inner worlds, those inner fantasies, monologues, realities we all create and carry with us. Morpheus, as the
Jun 06, 2012 Sunil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2006, 2012
Thoughts on a Re-Read Six Years Later

A Game of You has a lot of things going for it: an all-female cast including lesbians and a transwoman, a strong sense of foreboding courtesy of the Cuckoo, a colorful storybook Land, and themes of identity, a personal favorite of mine. It also has some things not going for it: an ancillary role for Dream, no apparent plot progression in Dream's ongoing arc, some terrible art at times, and a very heavy-handed approach to the themes of identity, especially wit
Feb 05, 2008 Maria added it
Estos libros tienen tanto éxito en la biblioteca que tengo que conformarme con el que queda en el estante, si es que queda alguno, y leerlos desordenados. En los primeros me molestaba que se cambiara de dibujante en cada capítulo, ahora ya le he cogido el punto, e incluso le intuyo un sentido.
Este me ha tocado bastante más que los otros dos (2, 4). Copio (y tal vez sea un spoiler, si os importan ésas cosas):
"Los niños y las niñas son distintos, ¿sabes? Los niños fantasean con ser más rápidos, li
Apr 26, 2008 Siria rated it really liked it
Hmm. I am divided on this one. I didn't like it as much as I did Season of Mists, for all that this is in many ways a more intelligent and incisive book. It's dark and it's often gruesome (Hazel's dream about her baby attacking Foxglove's was possibly one of the more disturbing things I've ever seen), and the dual storyline meant that the reader is often left questioning which one is reality and which fantasy, if such a concept can ever be attached to a work by Gaiman at all. Wanda was fabulous, ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Marc rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Marc by: Rob Galinsky
I was highly moved by a sentiment expressed toward the end of this graphic novel: "Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean EVERYBODY. All of the people in the world--no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe."

This quotation struck me as both wonderful and tragic: yes, we all have these magnificent worlds within us, but we'll
Sep 10, 2008 Kara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
I loved this one. As Barbie goes into her dream world and faces the little girl left dreaming inside her I can only wonder what dreams of my own that started long ago are waiting to be faced. This one was interesting in that a larger lesson seems to be coming out of it, a lesson of loss, a lost innocence, a lost friend, a lost dream. What is also unique about A Game of You, is that facing something internal, whatever it may be, often seems like a journey. Losing any part of life as we know it al ...more
Absolutely my favorite so far.

"In the pale light of the moon I play the game of you.

Whoever I am.

Whoever you are.

All sense of where I am, of who I am and where I'm going, has been swallowed by the dark. And I walk through the stars and sky."

Taps heavily into the paradoxical conundrum of the differences between reality and dreaming.

"Is this real? Or is it just my imagination?

If you tell me what the difference is, I might be able to tell you."

And it speaks volumes about identity. Self-worth, not l
May 28, 2015 Shantanu rated it really liked it
Mind is reasonably fucked.
May 13, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, comics
Attempts depth, fails.
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Other Books in the Series

The Sandman (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Sandman: Overture
  • The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll's House (The Sandman, #2)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 3: Dream Country (The Sandman, #3)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists (The Sandman, #4)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections (The Sandman, #6)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives  (The Sandman, #7)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 8: Worlds' End (The Sandman, #8)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones (The Sandman, #9)
  • The Sandman, Vol. 10: The Wake (The Sandman, #10)

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“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” 5224 likes
“And if there's a moral there, I don't know what it is, save maybe that we should take our goodbyes whenever we can.” 119 likes
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