The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1) - Neil Gaiman, Malcolm Jones III, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg I feel like four stars is a little generous, three too harsh - so more of a 3.5.

As usual with Gaiman's writing, I feel like his visionary ideas are punctuated by heavy-handed blustering to cover over the bits he's not so sure about. While I enjoyed reading this, and will look forward to picking up the next instalment, it seemed rather directionless. Even the three-part fetch quest seemed more like an excuse for the titular protagonist to trot around meeting a typically Gaimanesque cast of contempo-myth eccentrics. I can't always stomach the slightly kitsch, self-conscious use of cliche in the dialogue, and the Sandman himself is... well, difficult to empathise with. I find myself rooting for him, but I'm not really sure why.

I still feel that as a writer, Neil Gaiman is overrated, valuing style over substance. But this first collection of the Sandman series is very stylish indeed, and nothing if not entertaining. - thoughts on fantasy writing.