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Approximately 300 years ago, one of the Endless vanished. None of the others have seen him since, nor do they know where he went.

But it was pretty inevitable that one day, somebody would go looking for him. "The Sandman Vol. 7: Brief Lives" finally reveals what happened to the long-lost lord of Destruction, but it's as the capstone to a bittersweet saga of everyday people, immortals, fallen gods and the most dysfunctional family in the universe.

After having a small meltdown in a gay bar, Delirium decides that she wants to find her older brother Destruction. She tries to enlist Dream to help her, and he decides to accompany his acid-tripping little sister on her quest. He's already decided that her quest is hopeless, but he has nothing better to do after his latest romance failed.

But as Dream and Delirium make their way through the world, they come into contact with several people -- both mortal and supernatural, from bellgirls to goddesses. Soon Dream realizes that they are spreading mayhem to anyone who tries to help them, and that finding his brother will exact a terrible cost from him.

At first, "Sandman Vol. 7: Brief Lives" felt kind of like a lighter, quirky chapter in the Sandman saga -- it's basically Morpheus and Delirium going on a little road trip to find Destruction. It's kind of cute at first, especially since any story with Delirium is sure to be fun. Three words: tiny chocolate people.

But Gaiman's story grows darker and more bittersweet as the the story winds on, especially since he unearths the stories of immortals adrift in a mortal world (think the goddess Ishtar dancing at a strip club). It's a gritty, grimy world full of little flickers of haunting beauty, and ringed with magical realms.

Morpheus has changed drastically over the course of the Sandman series, growing from a cold arrogant creature to a more compassionate one. He's still arrogant, but he recognizes it himself here -- and in a twist worthy of Greek tragedy, he is forced into actions that will resonate through the rest of the series.

We also see more of Delirium, who has always seemed like a quirkily pathetic figure in a psychedelic sherbet-flavored wonderland. But here we see not only her deep love for her family, but a hint that she's more powerful and perceptive than we've seen. And the people who are struck with misfortune aren't just random redshirts -- Gaiman lovely paints out their hopes, pasts and current lives.

While it seems rather lightweight at first, "The Sandman Vol. 7: Brief Lives" winds itself into a darkly bittersweet masterpiece -- and the springboard for the Sandman series' ending.
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on 20 March 2013
Excellent volume in an excellent series. Delirium is perhaps the best character in the series and this book features her heavily. Very witty and charming, and as with all the others, masterful in its story weaving.
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on 21 October 2013
I loved Delirium being the central character. This story shows clearly how Dream has changed over the last 300 years, even though he doesn't appear aware of this.. The man who used to be Destruction is my favourite character, and, I think, embodies the best a man can be.
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on 30 July 2014
Finishing off my sandman collection- epic! This is my favourite.
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on 20 December 2014
great books
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on 26 June 2012
Dear Amazon,
Do you honestly think I would be happy to buy volumes one to six of "The Sandman", only to discover that Volume 7 is unavailable for the Ipad? Sort it out please! Altogether the entire collection comes in at around a hundred pounds. I know of no person who would want to spend a hundred quid on something with a missing piece! Unless this issue is amended I will have wasted over £60 on half a collection! Very shoddy!
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