SPOILER WARNING: Don’t read this if you don’t want to know how The Kindly Ones ends. Then again, I imagine if you read this far in the series nothing that I am going to say one way or another is going to stop you reading The Wake.
The Kindly Ones ended on a bang. Dream died. How do you write another book after that? Well, this iteration of Dream died, but Dream is of the Endless, so he can’t really die. But, the Dream who takes the dead Dream’s place is a different person, and The Wake is a chance for the Endless to bury their brother, and for Dream’s family and friends to mourn. The transition from Dream that was, to Dream that is, is particularly hard on Matthew, Dream’s crow, who would have followed Dream into death, but was denied the chance. It is also a chance for all of the disparate plot lines, and characters of the “Sandman” series to come to some kind of conclusion. The Wake doesn’t have the wrenching emotional impact of The Kindly Ones, but it is an excellent end to an excellent series, which allows you to come down off of the breathless tension of The Kindly Ones.