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A Game of You

(The Sandman #5)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  51,673 ratings  ·  1,523 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 1992)
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Average rating 4.43  · 
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Bill Kerwin

I have read the first five volumes of The Sandman, and so far this is only my third favorite (after A Doll's House and Seasons of Mist). Its development is somewhat muddy, its narrative too crowded with characters, and it is somewhat removed from the central myth of Sandman and the theological and cosmic questions which surround him, themes I find the most compelling part of this series.

I admit, though, that this preference may be merely a matter of taste. What A Game of You lacks in abstract m
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 that
Sean Barrs
The spell has been broken, the dream has ended. Well, at least, for now.

I was really surprised at how weak the writing was in this volume; it felt more like a spin-off than part of the actual series. Dream was barely present; he was more of a side character, only appearing briefly in the series that was named after him. Whatever was Neil Gaiman thinking when he decided to centre the story on Barbie?

Yes, Barbie. If felt so off centre and removed from The Sandman myth: the very thing that makes t
Re-Read 5/1/20:

*shiver* Such goodness may deserve a more verbose review, but fortunately, I already wrote one. :) And I don't really have much new to say. :)

Original Review:

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
Johann (jobis89)
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Impressed once again! I have so much love for this series. Full review to come...
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I really like how Gaiman explores child imagined fantasy worlds like Narnia or Oz. Yet at the same time this is also very much about identity and how we view ourselves, especially those of queer and trans orientations. I really enjoy how Gaiman weaves in elements of past storylines as this reaches back to minor characters from A Doll's House and the demented issue where Dr. Destiny tortures the patrons of a diner in Preludes & Nocturnes. These little Easter eggs really add to my enjoyment of the ...more
Jul 13, 2009 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
Sean Gibson
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sandman continues to confound and confusticate, though that’s good thing in this instance. This volume took a sharp left turn from the last one, with a minor character taking center stage and Dream playing only a small supporting role. It’s a little bit like watching a Ghostbusters spinoff where Louis Tully gets lead billing and Peter Venkman shows up to crack a few jokes toward the end before high-fiving Slimer in a closing freeze frame (which, incidentally, is a spinoff I’d watch the crap out ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
In this fifth Sandman volume we meet some characters from previous ones. Barbie chief amongst them. She no longer dreams and as it turns out, that really will drive you mad - of sorts. We therefore get a magical dreamland, some colourful house-mates of different sexualities and *clears throat* ages and, of course, the Lord of Dreams.

Not sure if this volume actually does anything for the overall story - I'll only be able to judge that later - but it was quite some fun. From small-minded small-tow
Jun 08, 2007 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
Fadi Antwan
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do these have to be so heartbreaking?
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 20, 2013 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
Zachary F.

I'll just launch right into it. A Game of You centers on a quintet of (mostly) mortal women sharing an apartment building in New York, two of whom are lesbians, one of whom is trans, one of whom is cishet, and the last of whom is an ageless witch. The cishet woman, Barbie, is the protagonist, or at least the person most of the action centers on; the trans woman, Wanda, is arguably the emotional core. For those not already in the loop, I'll also remind you that our author is a cishet man, and fur
Anthony Chavez
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Selkie ✦ Queen
In the next ten months of reading all of its volumes or so, I didn't really think it was possible for me to fall in love with The Sandman. I knew I was already a fan since The Doll's House, but my appreciation and affection for Gaiman's work were not as intense or as consuming as I initially thought they would become sooner of later (and that happened later on once I got my hands on Gaiman's collaborative volume with Jill Thompson, but I digress).

I enjoyed what the previous volume Season of Mist
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
Oct 12, 2014 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
Sandman, Vol 5: A Game of You: Challenges our childhood fantasies

After the excellent Vol 4: Season of Mists, the Sandman once again retreats to the shadows in this unified story arc. Instead it focuses on Barbie, the vapid-seeming blonde who was married to Ken and lived in the same house as Rose Walker in Vol 2: The Doll’s House. She has since split with Ken and moved to NY. She lives in a building with several unusual characters: Wanda, a pre-operative transsexual woman; a mysterious and timid-
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
After reading issues 29-31 and not enjoying them at all, I expected this volume to be not so good. However, I liked reading Barbie’s story even if Dream didn’t appear much in this volume. Yes, it wasn’t nearly as good as Season of Mists but well, I doubt any upcoming volume will be.

A Game of You was fun and intriguing. I found the flawed characters interesting and they quickly grew on me. It was also nice to read about Barbie, a character we’ve met before, and discover more about her.

That being
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: series
I got it! I think...
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, fantasy
Volume 5 of the Sandman series was called "A Game of You". It tells the story of Barbie, whom we first saw back in vol 2 "The Doll's House", and her dreams. Her dreams have created an entire world, but this world has been taken over by a malevolent creature known as the "Cuckoo".

Interestingly each of the individual issues is named after a song. From "Lullaby of Broadway", "Bad Moon Rising", "Beginning to See the Light", "Over the Sea to Sky" and "I Woke Up and One of Us Was Crying".

The central c
ֆɦɛʟʟʏ ȶɦɛ քǟȶʀօռ ֆǟɨռȶ օʄ ƈʊʀʍʊɖɢɛօռʟʏ ƈʀօռɛֆ
"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
Zoe's Human
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lt
Neil Gaiman is such a gifted storyteller. Again, this collection contains an single and complete story arc, but now the world is large enough to start tying together bits and pieces from other parts of The Sandman storyline.
James DeSantis
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sandman gets better and better as we return to Barbie, a character from Book 2.

This time Barbie is trying to live her life the way she wants. With her best friend she travels the streets of New York being free. However, the Cuckoo wants revenge and sends its creatures to try and get Barbie back into dream land. In doing so Barbie and her whole building of neighbors have to step into the dream world again to survive.

This is basically a rescue mission but with a lot of interesting twist and turns.
Kyle Berk
I don’t know what it is about Sandman, it’s a title that makes me slow down to really appreciate it because it is some of the finest work in comics. And yes I know this has been said before and will be said after but it’s appropriate.

Vol 5 A Game of you stars Barbie and her friends. An old magic user, a lesbian couple, a murder of crows, and my personal favorite Wanda.

It concerns Barbie’s dream overtaken by the cuckoo and what happens as a result. This is where Morpheus comes in. While this volu
Nov 22, 2015 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!
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.
Dec 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe."

A Game of You is most people's least favorite volume of The Sandman, while Gaiman has often cited it as his favorite. Barbie, a minor character from The Doll's House —one of the residents a
Dawn C
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing from start to finish. Perfect pacing, excellent story, interesting topics, and no time wasted. Amazing exposition and all; best story arc so far.
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Other books in the series

The Sandman (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1)
  • The Doll's House (The Sandman, #2)
  • Dream Country (The Sandman, #3)
  • Season of Mists (The Sandman, #4)
  • Fables & Reflections (The Sandman, #6)
  • Brief Lives (The Sandman, #7)
  • Worlds' End (The Sandman, #8)
  • The Kindly Ones (The Sandman, #9)
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