It may be a bit surprising, but Neil Gaiman's A Game of You is my favorite Sandman story arc thus far. The author's hybrid of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and C. S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia was quite a treat!
I have become accustomed to the fact that the plotlines had almost nothing to do with The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: The Doll's House (Canada, USA, Europe), The Sandman: Dream Country (Canada, USA, Europe), and The Sandman: Season of Mists (Canada, USA, Europe), other than the fact that we were introduced to Barbie in second omnibus. But as this juncture in the series, I reckon that Gaiman likely had carte blanche to do whatever the hell he desired. And in a way, this is what keeps The Sandman so fresh and different. By the same token, the lack of continuity is probably the reason why so many people were never able to get into the series. I know it's why I never could get into it the first time around. To be honest, if I was purchasing and reading an issue a month, I would have lost patience long ago. That's what's so neat about these trade paperback omnibuses.
Illustrated by Shawn McManus, Colleen Doran, Bryan Talbot, George Pratt, Stan Woch, and Dick Giordano, the A Game of You features the very best artwork of the series so far. True, it's not as though the bar had been set too high, but such great storytelling deserved better visual impact. In my humble opinion, of course. . . As always, the Dave McKean covers are awesome.
This sequence is comprised of six chapters. As was the case with Season of Mists, this story arc is structurally sound, with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. As a self-contained tale, it has a tighter focus on both characters and events, which makes for a wonderful reading experience.
To all of you SFF fans looking for something to put on your Christmas present list, The Sandman trade paperbacks would make perfect gift ideas!