Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman #1)
My rating: Fantasy
by Neil Gaiman
I first read the Sandman series as a teenager, and remember it being fantastic overall, so I was disappointed on picking up this first volume again ten years later. I'd forgotten that this beginning volume has a comparatively unimaginative plot, and feels very episodic (unsurprisingly, given that it was published as individual comics - and perhaps before Gaiman had the stature to completely mess with the conventions of the genre).
Dream is captured by mistake, by magicians trying to summon Death - to terrible consequences across the world. The story follows his capture, subsequent escape, and search for the magical tools which were stolen from him. Although this sets up the rest of the series, and introduces the character of Dream, I found there were too many gruesome horror elements for my tastes. Since I remembered the basic storyline, it didn't hold my interest enough to distract me from the unpleasant parts.
I did love The Sound of Her Wings (the final chapter, which introduces Death) just as much as I remember, which reassures me that I'll still enjoy re-reading the series, particularly as more of the Endless are introduced.