Airiz C's Reviews > The Sandman, Vol. 10: The Wake

The Sandman, Vol. 10 by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Jul 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: gaimanic-disorder, graphic-novel, fantasy, mythology, my-favorites, paranormal, philosophy, reread, surreal, science-fiction, the-sandman-catalog
Read in January, 2011

So this is where we wake up. After being lulled by the nocturnes, after trekking the steep places that only exists when we slumber, after journeying with the good and the bad and the in-betweens, after hurrying to and from the heart of the Dreaming, there will come a time when we need to open our eyes. Nightmares or good dreams—they have to end sometime..

Those were the words that came in my head some time ago, when I was about to read the last volume of this beloved series for the first time. I have the same thoughts when I reread this recently. The Wake is the solemn "epilogue" tome for The Sandman where all characters mourn the death of Morpheus, the Dream king. But it’s not just all about mortality; it’s also about constant changes in life, forgiveness, endings and new beginnings, and looking forward to the future.

The threefold account of farewells, eulogies, and reminiscing may seem a tad too long for an epilogue but it seems just right to me, after the lengthy adventures we had with the brooding Lord Shaper. So the Endless sans Destruction gather to prepare the ceremony for the late Dream. Mourners, dreamers, deities, friends, and even old nemeses come to pay respect to Morpheus; some speak of their encounters with him, some prefer to keep silent and grieve. As I said I read this before, but rereading Matthew’s speech almost made me well up again. He is such a loyal friend:

"I was told to say whatever was in my heart. And I thought I was going to say something about how he was my boss, and how he gave me a second chance, and how he trusted me. About how sometimes he treated me like he thought I was an idiot, and sometimes treated me like he was my boss, and sometimes--very occasionally--treated me like a friend. I was going to say something about how he died. And about how that was what I wanted to do too...but that isn't what's in my heart. Not really. He was the most important person in the world to me, and he's gone...but you can't kill dreams. Not really. I mean, despair may be the thing that comes after hope, but there's still hope. Right? When there's no hope, you might as well be dead. What's in my heart? A lot of sorrow. A little regret...and the memory of the coolest, strangest, most infuriating boss...friend...boss...I ever had. That's what."

All three issues are affecting in some way, and I liked how the narration is on the second person point of view. When the speaker says “Everyone’s here…you’re here,” I feel as if I’m really there. I like how it goes so far to tell the readers that it really did happen, and we just forget it in our waking hours, tantamount to normal dreams. It’s been a great series, but just like what the Kindly Ones once said in the previous tome, “For good or bad, it’s done.” All-things-shall-perish-from-under-the-sky and all that.

Daniel Hall as the new incarnation of Dream is still adjusting, and it’s understandable. He looks exactly like Morpheus, except that he’s all white—hair, skin, garments, even the wobbly speech bubble. He seems to be more compassionate than his predecessor, as seen by his treatment of his servants as well as his easy issuance of forgiveness (and perhaps love) to Lyta Hall. She was, after all, his mother once upon a time. I think a spin-off or a series zeroing in on the new Dream would be great, too. His fear in meeting the other Endless for the first time is almost endearing; his confusion about everything being strange and familiar at the same time is too…humanlike. He’ll certainly be a darling for most Sandman fans.

The art is gorgeous—soft and shady, unlike the sharp and vibrant illustrations in The Kindly Ones. I think it’s fitting for the atmosphere of the volume.

Anyway, there are also three stand-alone stories here, one about Hob Gadling (the long-living mortal friend of Morpheus this time chitchatting with the lovely Death), one about a Chinese story that have parallels with the tale of Orpheus and Morpheus (the art is superb!), and the last one about William Shakespeare again (yes, it’s a sequel of sorts to A Midsummer Night’s Dream). They are wonderful, of course, but they seem a little out of place being compiled in the same volume as the first three.

It’s hard to say goodbye to a very good series, but as I’ve said in the introduction of this review, we will eventually come to that stage.
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