This book blew my mind. If I had to pick a favorite in the series, this would be it hands down, no contest. It is the culmination of all the plot threads that Gaiman has spun in the previous eight volumes. This is when all the events of Dream’s life, all the choices that he has made come back to haunt him.
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t read the previous volumes and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read further. I can’t talk about this story without spoiling earlier stories. Sorry.
The mythological characters that Gaiman populates his books with may seem to be capricious, but they all must obey the rules of their own mythologies. The Kindly Ones, also known as the Hecateae, or the Fates of Greek mythology, cannot harm Dream because he is king in his own realm. But, once Dream spilled the blood of his family when he killed his son, a door was opened for the Kindly Ones to kill Dream. Lyra Hall blames Dream for killing her son, and she seeks the aid of the Kindly Ones to enact her vengeance against Dream. Thessaly, for reasons of her own, helps Lyra Hall gain her wish. In the end, the consequences of Dream’s actions leave him only one path to travel, and he cannot escape the inevitable end.
The Sandman, vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
By Neil Gaiman
Art by Marc Hempel, Richard Case, D’Israeli, Teddy Kristiansen, Gyln Dillon, Charles Vess, Dean Ormston, Kevin Nowlan
DC Comics (Vertigo) 1996