Like the volume before it, Fables & Reflections has little bearing on the larger, over-arching story of the series. It’s presented as a series of short stories which involve the characters we’ve come to know and recognize, yet in a regrettably limited capacity. As a result, it hardly felt like I was reading another entry in The Sandman.
Rather, it felt like Gaiman taking an assortment of familiar figures and stories, giving them a slight, hardly noticeable tweak, throwing in a character or two from the series, and calling it a day. For example, “The Song of Orpheus” is, for the most part, a standard retelling of that particular myth. One I’d already seen realized in more impressive fashion by CMU’s Scotch ‘n’ Soda theatre group.
Gaiman loves to take the old and make it new, but here it’s more blatant, and far less successful, than usual. So if you’re reading the series, nothing of worth would be lost by skipping this and moving onto the next volume. I wish that’s what I had done. Though, I’ve yet to read it myself, so it could just as well continue where the last two left off, disappointing me. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.