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The Sandman: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman

The Sandman: The Doll's House (1990)

by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), Mike Dringenberg (Illustrator), Malcolm Jones III (Illustrator), Steve Parkhouse (Illustrator)1 more, Michael Zulli (Illustrator)

Other authors: Clive Barker (Introduction), Robbie Busch (Colorist), Todd Klein (Letterer)

Series: The Sandman (9-16), The Sandman TPBs (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,62089853 (4.32)1 / 240

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English (85)  Spanish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (89)
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The Sandman series is a long running graphic novel series written by Neil Gaiman featuring the immortal Dream and his struggle to rise to full power once again after a long imprisonment at the hands of humans. The Doll’s House is the second volume within the series, a dark story with memorable characters that feels more refined and bears more visible characteristics of Neil Gaiman’s work that the first volume of the series.

This volume tells the story of a family – an aging grandmother who only found her daughter, adopted by a different family long ago, upon her deathbed. Her daughter, wanting to spend these final weeks with the birth mother she never knew. And her granddaughter, Rose, who takes it upon herself to move and follow what few clues there are in her younger brothers disappearance. In the world of the immortals, Dream is still trying to regain all that crumbled during his imprisonment while new problems arise, problems that involve a young woman named Rose.

The first chapter of The Doll’s House bears the hallmarks of some of Gaiman’s finest work, the sort of prose he is quite known for. An aging father brings his son out into the wilderness to relay a tale of their people’s ancestors. It is a tale of their mythology, their history, of gods and humans. This is the sort of storytelling I normally associate with Gaiman, something which wasn’t featured as strongly or this overtly within volume one. Here, it shines, driving this volume’s arc forward.

The character most focused on in this arc is Rose, a young woman in search of her missing younger brother. Her life, and the lives of those surrounding her, are entwined with Dream in ways neither side is initially aware. Though he isn’t seen quite as often as he was in Preludes & Nocturnes, Dream still features a key role within volume two. He is deeply enrooted in the newly introduced character’s lives and the events that surround them.

When we do see Dream on the page as opposed to mentioned in discussions, memories, or in stories, he is seen more as a demi-god. It is clear Dream is an all-powerful immortal, especially seen through the eyes of the human Rose. Though fighting to regain all he has lost throughout his imprisonment, Dream is quite clearly vastly superior to a human in power. We don’t see him struggling against other immortals in this volume, which makes his abilities appear more great and terrible, and his emotions and personality rather less human.
The rest of the characters, though I do not expect many to reappear in future volumes, are all very memorable. This is a series in which side characters with barely any page time are more memorable than some main characters in other series. All are quirky individuals to say the least. Some are simply odd, their eccentricities peculiar but largely harmless. Others are completely horrific individuals, terrifying in their depravity. Despite the number of depraving characters, none of them are shown in a sympathetic light. There is little moral gray area here – those that do wrong are very obviously doing wrong.

Now, it’s apt that this review happens to coincide with Banned Books Week, something which occurred completely coincidentally. This volume in particular is a challenged book, though I do not believe it was ever outright banned. This volume, and the series overall, is dark. The darker corners of the human mind are explored, displayed across the page in all of their horror. And this is a part of the horror genre. If you do not like horror or graphic depictions (especially in such a visual format), do be warned. But, like so many other banned and challenged books, this is a book which has something to say and is not afraid to say it.

This felt much more like a coherent volume than the first one. The distracting mentions of other Marvel characters and franchises are missing. They didn’t feel as if they belonged within the first volume and are, mercifully, not included in the second volume. Though begun with a story and followed by a chapter introducing characters with questionable relevance to the previous chapter and overarching plot, The Doll’s House wrapped up very well. Plot threads were well timed, always weaving back into the story at appropriate moments, and wrapped itself up well, foreshadowing what is to come.

The Doll’s House was a great installment in a series that improves with every volume. While a wonderful volume overall, I do hope to see a little more of Dream himself in volume three. This is most definitely a series I will be continuing, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next volume.

This review and more can be found on my blog Looking Glass Reads. ( )
  kateprice88 | Jul 19, 2018 |
NOW I understand why people enjoy this series so much. Neil Gaiman found his voice in this volume, and began to weave a far better tale than before. Here are the trademarks of a Gaiman novel: mythological elements, a Lovecraftian tale. Here are the classic things one expects from him, but in a far more confident way.

His writing really suits the comic book form. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
In this second volume of Sandman comics, Dream must track down the handful of his creations which have escaped the dreaming and gone into the real world. At the same time, a new vortex has arrived in the realm of humanity who threatens the entire existence of the dreaming itself.

This collection is dark, even for Gaiman. As I'm reading about an assortment of serial killers holding a convention before bedtime, I definitely had the thought of, "Is this really a good idea for me?" But the world Gaiman spins is fascinating. And I also appreciated the single issue digression from the main story line in which a man refuses to accept Death and he and Dream meet up every 100 years for several centuries. Maybe not pre-sleep reading material but definitely enjoyable if you're into Gaiman's darker side. ( )
  MickyFine | Jan 28, 2018 |
A great story building on the last graphic novel. Probably better than the first of the series so far, but builds off of where that let go. Very fascinating, with typical Gaiman nuance and storytelling. Can't say enough good things about this series so far, and its hard to really even break it down and describe how well Gaiman does at laying out a long-arc for storytelling. ( )
  BenKline | Nov 30, 2017 |

Do I even have any thoughts about this? I mean, it was definitely an interesting read, and I wasn't bored by it. But now a few weeks after reading it, I can't really remember what it was about. Like there was this vortex in the form of a young woman, she was looking for her brother, who then got captured by a serial killer, but the serial killer turned out to be connected to Morpheus, and then there was this thing about the man who avoided Death and yeah. It just veered all over the place. I don't know if I'm actually gonna continue reading these, I don't think I will. The first two ones were entertaining, but yeah, I kind of lost interest. I don't regret reading them though, and I might get back to Sandman at some point! ( )
  redzheadz | Nov 9, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, NeilAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bachalo, ChrisIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dringenberg, MikeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones III, MalcolmIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Parkhouse, SteveIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Zulli, MichaelIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Barker, CliveIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Busch, RobbieColoristsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, ToddLetterersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"Dreams and visions are infused into men for their advantage and instruction..." -Artemidoros at Daldus, Oneirocritica Second Century A.D.
"Dreams are weird and stupid and they scare me." -Rose Walker April 1990
For Pete Atkins, Nick Vince, Anne and Kate Bobby for no particular reason (Neil Gaiman)
To GiGi, Paula and Eric (Mike Dringenberg)
To Malcolm Campbell (Malcolm Jones III)
First words
There are tales that are told many times.
We do not murder for a profit. We do not murder for governments, or for hire. We kill to kill. We are entrepreneurs in an expanding field.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Collects "The Doll's House" parts 1-8, originally published in The Sandman #9-16. Early editions also include "The Sound of Her Wings" from The Sandman #8.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0930289595, Paperback)

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision. During Morpheus's incarceration, three dreams escaped the Dreaming and are now loose in the waking world. At the same time, a young woman named Rose Walker is searching for her little brother. As their stories converge, a vortex is discovered that could destroy all dreamers, and the world itself. Features an introduction by Clive Barker. This volume includes issues 8-16 of the original series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the dream world of the Sandman, Rose Walker encounters many bizzare things in the doll's house, including a serial killer convention, long-lost relatives, and herself.

» see all 4 descriptions

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