I have read every book in The Sandman series, and this one was a real tearjerker. Every part of Gaiman's legendary series is incredible. I don't know of any other writer who can weave plots into such complex patterns whilst never losing each thread of story, each character, each unique creation. The characters are so vivid, so otherworldly, and yet so REAL. Everything about this series truly embodies how I feel after waking from a strange but not entirely unpleasant dream. Gaiman captures the confusion and beauty of my dreamworld seemingly effortlessly.
By this book in the series there was a part of me that was deeply in love with Morpheus. There's so much depth to this character, and the series up to this point has been about his journey, his growth, his realisation of emotions that had previously been unknown to him. He has become almost too human, a contradiction to his true nature, and he needs to be reborn. The part of him that cannot change has no choice but to die, and he welcomes it with a weariness that is misleading, for if you read the series carefully you get the feeling he planned this all along.
His "replacement" is perfect, and human enough to be a fresh, vibrant rebirth, one that promises to be less foolish, selfish, and cruel as the old.
Honestly, I cried when I read this. There was one particular confession during the Wake from a character we'd only seen briefly before that left me shaken. It's the most perfect off-hand reference and it cuts you to the core.
This is pure genius. If I ever meet Mr Gaiman I'll probably be reduced into a vacantly staring fool, so awed am I by his talent.
I'm ashamed to say that the name of the artists who created this book escape me at the moment, but the artwork in this one was some of the best in the series.