The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones (The Sandman, #9)
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The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones (The Sandman #9)

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4.59 of 5 stars 4.59  ·  rating details  ·  23,952 ratings  ·  508 reviews
THE SANDMAN is the most acclaimed and award-winning comics series of the 1990s for good reason; a smart and deeply brooding epic, elegantly penned by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by a rotating cast of comics' most sought-after artists, it is a rich blend of modern myth and dark fantasy in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven. Th...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Vertigo (first published July 1995)
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Algernon

The most ambitious of all Sandman albums, the highpoint of the series, the convergence of all the random plot threads and part time characters into a spectacular denouement. The tragic nature of the story doesn't come as a surprise: the seeds were planted right from the start, with Morpheus imprisoned in a country manor in England in Preludes and Nocturnes and reflecting on his past mistakes and ways to redeem them. Every subsequent volume added to the morbid and apparently inevitable conflict...more
Brooke
I've rated both this and The Sandman Vol. 7 Brief Lives 5 stars, but I think I liked Brief Lives better, for the sole reason that it contained more scenes with Delerium. Here, Delerium is searching for someone again, this time her talking dog Barnabas, and the scene where they're reunited was charming as all get out.

Practically every other character we've met along the way shows up in the Kindly Ones, and it was just more proof that Gaiman is the master of making everything he writes have a purp...more
Teresa
Just about all the disparate plot lines and characters come together in this volume, even several that originally appeared to be random. In only this aspect (speaking of "aspect," the facet of a gemstone is my favorite image in this book), I was reminded of how while reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I was so amazed at how everything came together that I reread all the HP books just to see how Rowling did it.

As this is volume 9, it seems appropriate that there are three sets of three...more
Ronyell
6 stars!!!

Now, you are probably looking at the title of the ninth volume of Neil Gaiman’s fantastic “Sandman” series, which is called “The Kindly Ones” and you are probably thinking to yourself about how this volume will be all sunshine and roses. Definitely not! Do not let the innocent title of this volume fool you! The ninth volume “The Kindly Ones” is probably the darkest volume out of all the “Sandman” series since “A Game of You” and yet this is probably the best volume out of the entire “...more
Nicolo Yu
This is the penultimate arc in Neil Gaiman’s original Sandman run. The seeds for Dream’s ultimate fate has been foreshadowed in previous storylines, with its seeds reaching fruition here. The actual machinations for his demise are contained in this story as we see characters with a vendetta against Morpheus working towards his downfall. This is the longest arc in the title, with the appropriately thickest trade paperback, taking over a year to complete it. I thought that this was a bargain when...more
Paul Nelson
The Kindly Ones is quite simply the best graphic novel I have read, the bar is raised for a series that was already at the top limit of the vault. A true masterpiece that deserves 6 out of 5 stars, I read it twice which I have only ever done with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and that in itself says a great deal.
The thirteen episodes of this volume feature many characters that we have met in the series so far and significantly add to the excitement that builds almost page by page.

Lyta Hall leave...more
Kat
Basic Plot: Dream killed his son Orpheus, and now must deal with the wrath of the Kindly Ones...

This was one long, strange edition of the Sandman series. This was, oddly, not a bad thing. I was reading it in dribs and drabs, which is really not the way I generally recommend someone to read a Neil Gaiman graphic novel, so I think I didn't appreciate it the way I should have. The book probably deserved a full five stars, but my pace of reading it didn't help my enjoyment. The plot seemed to move a...more
Sunil
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Airiz C
After the eeriest and perhaps the biggest portent of a character’s demise in World’s End, Gaiman pulls all the finished literary embroideries that were the previous story arcs and knits them together into this penultimate volume and apex of The Sandman series, The Kindly Ones.

ABUNDANT SPOILER-ISHNESS! The volume is pretty rich with subplots, but the main premise is this: Lyta Hall’s three-year-old baby, Daniel, is missing. With all the peculiar appearances and statements of the Dream King about...more
Ryan
While reading Songs of Love and Death, a fantasy and science fiction anthology compiled by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, I was surprised to find that Neil Gaiman's "The Thing About Cassandra" was my "stand out" story. I was surprised because after reading American Gods, I became convinced that Gaiman's best work was behind him. After all, he wrote the Sandman comics.

For those not in the know (shame on you!), Sandman is the Dream Lord. Among other things, he is also the patron of stories...more
Greenland
This volume is where Morpheus' story itself ends, and it is a poorly constructed mess. I can't help but think that the blame for that begins with Gaiman's decision to hew rigidly to genre tropes and constructs. Gaiman mentions in the afterword of this edition that Morpheus' final story is constructed in the manner of a Greek tragedy, and there's a unhealthy dose of Fantasy climax (everyone and everything must play a part!) stirred in, as well.

Unfortunately, what results from this plot construct...more
Andreas
My favorite Sandman novel is The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives and I hoped that "The Kindly Ones" plays in the same league. Unfortunately it doesn't and I have some difficulties to exactly point out what is lacking. On the one hand there is a overboarding creativity that I greatly enjoyed. The playful way in which Gaiman juggles his fantastic characters makes me look up all the references to understand more of his world.

On the other hand the pacing wasn't right. The begin feels too constructed a...more
Jamie Monahan
The Kindly Ones. The second last installment of the Sandman series. And I have to admit, I've mixed feelings about this one.

It all starts when Lyta, a minor character from earlier in the books, finds her son has been abducted and blames Morpheus. She goes nuts and invokes the titular Kindly Ones, or the Furies of Greek legend. Bad news, right? It all goes to hell for Morpheus and the Dreaming as the Furies, in their aim to destroy the King of Dreams, are going after as many minor dream character...more
Ryan Rebel
Amazing.

Not much more to say. The tragic epic that is Sandman is concluded emotionally and satisfyingly. This series may start out seeming disjointed and without focus, but it all comes together in the end, in a big way. Bigger than I ever thought the series might go.

This book is like a who's who in the Sandman universe. Characters from all of the previous books return, just as beautifully, entertainingly, and poignantly realized as they were before. The difference is that this time, there is a...more
Elizabeth
Favorite Quotes:

"It's never what they want, and if we give them what they think they want, they like it less than ever."
- The Fates, in Sandman #57: "The Kindly Ones: 1"


"There's a downstairs in everybody. That's where we live."
- The Fates, in Sandman #58: "The Kindly Ones: 2"


"I didn't say it was my fault. I said it was my responsibility. I know the difference."
- Rose Walker, in Sandman #60: "The Kindly Ones: 4"


"It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the em...more
Lizzie
Well I just started reading this. Here is something about that. I won't even save it til I write the proper review, because, god.

F to this volume's introduction. F F F F F F it. There is the most giant spoiler in this introduction, and I didn't even read it. I'm so annoyed. It's just sitting there in a conspicuous spot on the page, and I think that's on purpose. I saw it as I flipped past and my jaw dropped, so then I stared at it, and ugh. This guy. It is just the most flippant and obnoxious wa...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is the account of what happens when the Kindly Ones enter the Dreaming. There is some great stuff in here, and some surprises. I loved learning more about the characters living in the dreaming, particularly Matthew the Raven. I always love Delirium, but she really made me laugh in this particular volume. The randomness is a welcome respite sometimes from what is going on otherwise.

"Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the...more
H.
While this Sandman volume contained an arching storyline, which in Gaiman's hands is far more compelling as he builds suspense and weaves various subplots together, there were two elements that condemned it to pleasantness and no more. The first thing that assaults the eyes upon the first turn of page is not the Corinthian (ha ha) but art that has taken a sharp southerly turn to shitty. The characters, many of whom have popped up before, become glorified stick figures. One is hard pressed to tel...more
Mary Overton
'The Kindly Ones' is the longest, most complicated volume of Sandman's saga, as well as the story's climax. Gaiman knits together his characters and 'yarns' to create an inevitable destiny for Morpheus. He who is Endless must incorporate ending into his story. He who is changeless must integrate change into his being. He who is shadow must face the shadow's shadow. He who is Dream must awaken. Early on, he explains why he creates nightmares: 'Imagine that you woke in the night and rose, and seem...more
Nikki
The Kindly Ones is the heaviest of all the volumes, and the hardest to get through, because there's a lot packed into it and it's quite emotionally hard-hitting.

As a story, it's pretty amazing. A lot of threads come together in this book and you can finally see where everything was going all along -- so many characters are revisited and their stories tie firmly into the whole. I especially liked the reappearance of the Corinthian, and Nuala's story, which I was anticipating but still got me righ...more
Tahmeed
This is my lowest rating of the entire Sandman series thus far, and the main and only reason for this is that I absolutely hated the artwork in this volume. It was childish and very cartoon-ish and it prevented me from enjoying the story.

The story itself was quite good, well great in fact, although I feel that its length could have been curtailed somewhat. Rose Walker's story-line in particular felt forced, especially since it distracted from the main arc of the Kindly Ones hunting down dream....more
Eileen
The Kindly Ones is the climax of the Sandman series and is truly an epic tale. For me, it's the best one out of the series. I also really liked the artwork in this particular story arc; it's very different from the usual comic book style and it really appealed to me visually. Even though the previous volumes prepared readers for Dream's death, I was still incredibly saddened by the loss of Morpheus. Yes, technically, Dream of the Endless does not die; he has existed since the beginning of time a...more
Paul
Ah, Sandman, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

1. I bought the original graphic novels as they came out, such brilliant artwork, The Dreaming such a nice setting for a set of stories.
2. I bought the hardcovers, what lovely books, to add to my shelves, worthy of a display in my living room... but the nephews and nieces better not touch! ;-)
3. I bought the Absolute version... OK, now I'm just going overboard!

This is not the first book I've ever bought multiple versions of, I can think of...more
John
I recall being at the edge of my seat when I read this volume in college, but in rereading it now the whole thing falls a little flat for me. I think this is mainly because, to my tastes, much of the story line seems a little drawn out and over-wrought, and could have benefitted from some greater economy. But it is this ten-volume story’s climax, and there are a lot of loose ends to be tie up (or not). However, it is a convincing climax to the story arc that got such a slow start a few volumes b...more
Paul Forbes
“The Kindly Ones” is the penultimate and biggest Sandman graphic novel and one of the best. The graphics are so striking that while reading it on the tube this evening a young woman plopped herself down in the seat next to me and asked without embarassment “What are you reading?” So I gave her a brief rundown of the Sandman series while other passengers stared at us wondering if we knew each other. Or maybe they just liked the sound of the Sandman stories. Anyway, it's a must read for fans of th...more
Kayleigh
I was reluctant to finish this one, mostly because I had a pretty good idea of how it would end, and that said ending would depress the hell out of me. I was only half right. The ending was heart-wrenching (obviously--as Frank McConnel points out in the introduction, this is a tragedy, after all), but also beautiful and hopeful. Probably the most layered of all the Sandman books so far.

And on a completely random note, I love Delirium. I think she ties with Death as my favorite of the Endless.
Hamish
Starting at about two thirds of the way through this volume, probably around the time The Corinthian confronts Loki, I got hit with this sense of almost unbearable dread that carried through most of the rest of the book. Any work of art that can have such a visceral impact is pretty impressive. Fear is easy to instill, but dread is subtly different and much harder to pull off.

The Kindly Ones is the biggest arc in the series and for the most part it's very satisfying. There are a lot of great cha...more
Katrina Atienza
The apex of the Sandman series, I think. The art here - angular, imporessionistic and jagged - is amazing and really comes together with the writing. It's even more evident because there are a lot of callbabacks to the earlier Sandmans, particularly Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll's House and Season of Mists. I dutifully scanned them to refresh my memory and was jarred by how sophisticated the art became.

The Kindly Ones reads quite well too, although as someone who's been reading Gaiman for...more
Helen
It begins with an ending, and ends with a beginning. I typically do not like comics because they try to be static and rehash story lines, given their serial nature. Within the continuity of Sandman Gaiman uses the serial nature to stretch a story and juice its suspense to its utmost. more importantly to introduce unexpected cycles and structures to storytelling.

I am of two minds. The end in many ways was clear, as I keep saying in these reviews, it is the story that reigns paramount. Still yet,...more
Neville Ridley-smith
At least I think it's worth 4 stars. As the foreword says, this is 'Literature'. And I'm pretty sure it is... because I'm not sure I understood half of it. There's probably all sorts of stuff that went straight over my head. The fact that it took me 4 and a half days to read it is worth noting. There's a heck of a lot going on - various story threads all happening at once. Which is kind of hard work. In a lot of cases I didn't quite see that they really had any bearing on each other and just mad...more
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