For my second audiobook review for runners, I chose Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. I wanted to explore this audiobook next because it has out for less than a year and I’ve already listened to it at least three times. It is that good! So get your headphones ready, the Sandman is an amazing ride. Filled with amazing voice acting from an all-star cast and does an amazing job in changing a story from a comic book to an amazing world painted by words. Highly recommend for the runner first switching to audiobooks for their runs.
The Sandman: Basic Plot Summary
Our story begins when a nefarious cult attempts to summon and control Death. But instead of the immortal Death they wished to capture, they pull Lord Morpheus (James McAvoy) , The Sandman, from his immortal realm of dreams. There he remains for decades, while sleep and dreams are disturbed around the world and the dream realm falls to ruin without him.
After finally breaking free, he must find his tools that will restore his power and help him rebuild the dream would. His adventures take Lord Morpheus in many directions. He comes across characters from the DC Universe, including Constantine, Doctor Destiny and other inmates of Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum. He descends into hell to speak with Lucifer himself to demand his helm returned to him after its theft.
Lord Morpheus discusses death, with Lady Death, who is absolutely amazingly voiced by Kat Dennings. He chases down escaped nightmares that create their own dreamscape within a small boy. We learn about the dreams of cats, ancient tales of Dream before our world came to be, and his commission for William Shakespeare.
Narration for The Sandman
Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is not truly an audiobook, but more of an audiodrama or old school radioplay. The differences include a full cast for dialogue along with a separate narrator. I was extremely excited to see the narrator paired with all these voice actors is Neil Gaiman himself! (If you’re familiar with his other audiobooks, he also played Ibis in the full cast American Gods.) He does an amazing job. In addition, Sandman differs from regular audiobooks in that the recording includes sound effects. This gives the story a much different, more gritty, feel than a regular audiobook.
The Sandman: The Reading Runner’s Thoughts
I want to start with a HUGE DISCLAIMER for The Sandman. I do love this audiodrama and would recommend it to any lover of Neil Gaiman. BUT, the themes of this book are very adult and can be very gruesome, especially with the included sound effects. For example, squelching and screaming do occur in chapters throughout the book. After all, this book lands squarely within the horror genre. If you’re squeamish in any way, this might not be the audiobook for you. Now with that out of the way…
One thing I very much loved about The Sandman besides its full cast is it’s the episodic feel of the book. I have no read the comics, but The Sandman is supposed to cover the first three comics in the series (Preludes & Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, and Dream Country), so there are really three overarching plots throughout the book. I absolutely loved the first overarching plot. Dream is ripped from his realm for several generations and must then regain his tools of power. Honestly, I found this story to be the best of the three and particularly loved the chapter where he ventured to Hell to retrieve his helmet.
While there is an overarching plot over the various chapters, each chapter is its own self-contained story. Including different comic book storylines, you can start each run with a new chapter and get a full short story out of a 30-minute workout. I would call The Sand a great gateway audiobook for people used to listening to short podcasts on their runs!
My Recommendation: Very adult themed but a incredibly fun, imaginative ride worth the listen.
How to Listen to The Sandman: an Audiodrama
Audible Membership: For most of my audiobooks, I’m a member of Audible. When you start the trial membership you get 2 free books, so you can try out Sandman at no cost. I’ve been using audible for about 7 years now, and it’s great to build your own library.
Amazon: Not wanting a membership? You can get it straight from Amazon.
Your Local Library: Check out the Libby app and see if your local library is a member. You can apply for a library card through the app and then listen to audiobooks right away for free. However, it does have a few restrictions. Usually, only so many copies of a book are available and you might have to go on a waitlist. Additionally, you have an allotted time to finish your book. But hey, it’s free!
If you enjoyed my audiobook review of The Sandman, please check out the rest of my blog! More audiobook reviews will be coming soon, but for now, I have running product reviews, race recaps, and running how-tos.
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