7 Books like The Sandman

August 28, 2022

The Sandman hype is real these days – and with good reason. While some of us are not on board with all the casting choices, we can quickly agree that the TV show is pretty darn epic. The overall atmosphere emanates a wonderfully dark mix of Steven king, 90’s grunge and Neil Gaiman (obviously, being the creator). Whether you’ve read the original DC comics or just enjoyed the Netflix adaptation, you might be craving more Sandman vibes while we anxiously await a new season.

If that’s the case, you might find inspiration in this list of 7 books like The Sandman.

Books like The Sandman

Gallant book cover

Gallant

by V.E. Schwab

Orphan Olivia Prior’s only valued possession is her mother’s journal, which talks of love and shadows – and insanity. When Olivia is suddenly invited to the Prior estate, she jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her heritage. However, no one is expecting her upon arrival, weird things take place during the nights and Olivia is drawn to the ruined wall in the garden. Who is the shadow on the other side, calling her home?

Gallant is full of nightmares and shadows creeping in and out between worlds. It’s a book that I can very well imagine Neil Gaiman loving and one that should get its own adaptation ASAP.

Similarities: parallel worlds, dark creatures, nightmares, on a mission

House of Hollow book cover

House of Hollow

by Krystal Sutherland

When Iris Hollow and her two sisters went missing as children, it became a sensation. The kids returned weeks later with no memory of the event but in more beautiful versions of themselves. Now, as young adults, they attract attention wherever they go with their ethereal beauty and gift for persuasion. When Grey, the oldest, goes missing again, Iris follows her sister’s dark breadcrumbs – revealing new desires and old wounds.

The entire story has an eerie vibe since reality melts together with otherworldly events and the girls’ own imagination. Although you can’t put your finger on it, something’s not quite right. The Hollow sisters just don’t belong in our world.

Similarities: wobbly reality, dark mystery, hidden world, paranormal

down among the sticks and bones book cover

Down Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire

Sometimes children discover hidden doorways into strange worlds but they always return, making them wayward children. This is the story of Jack and Jill, twins, who walked down a strange staircase into a world filled with mad scientists, creatures of the night and death. The twist? They found a home for themselves in the darkness and never wanted to leave.

This is the second instalment in the Wayward Children series which are short explorations of each child’s encounter with a hidden world. The books are short but filled with magic, character development, good representation and quirky characters.

Similarities: creatures of the night, eerie vibes, whimsical, flowery writing

book cover of Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic might seem like a strange addition to a list of books like the Sandman but hear me out. When her family becomes concerned, the glamorous Noemí Taboada visits her sister and her new husband in their strange home, High Place. The house is grand and build with old money from a mining empire but the walls contain dark secrets. Noemí is both terrified and fascinated when the house begins to poison her mind and invade her dreams – turning them into nightmares.

This story is definitely as dark and twisted as the fluid reality of The Sandman. The difference lies in the more classic take on a gothic house of horror.

Similarities: nightmares, sinister characters, mystery, trust nothing

Graphic novels like The Sandman

Blackbird book cover

Blackbird

by Sam Humphries

Nina Rodriguez knows that cabals run the show in a hidden magical world somewhere in L.A. When her sister is kidnapped by a magical creature, Nina is distraught – she wanted it to came for her. When Nina sets out to find answers, she discovers just how ruthless the cabals can be and just how strong her own heart is.

This graphic novel has stunning art work and while the color scheme is a lot brighter than The Sandman, it’s still a dark tale of family secrets, an unusual upbringing and hidden magic.

Similarities: hidden magical world, “factions”, feisty characters

Monstress book cover

Monstress

by Marjorie M. Liu

Monstress is set in an alternative 1900’s Asia and introduces some very intriguing (and cruel) characters. A teenage girl consumed by trauma discovers a psychic link with a monster. This connection makes them a powerful duo – and one that is hunted by both humans and the supernatural.

Despite its incredibly beautiful art work, this popular steam-punk graphic novel is not for everyone. It’s very dark and you should definitely check up on trigger warnings if you’re a sensitive reader.

Similarities: dark vibes, horror and violence, fierce characters

Daytripper book cover

Daytripper

by Gabriel Bá

Dream, reality and nightmare all blend together when Brás de Oliva Domingos explores his life and what could have been. His everyday life is simple as he writes obituaries about other people’s milestones and he wishes for a grander existence. Throughout the story, he is shown the people and the events that have/could have shaped him. When does life truly begin? First step? First friend? First love? First child?

This graphic novel is not as dark or epic as The Sandman but explores good and bad moments revisited in a dreamlike state of mind. It is both deep and relatable.

Similarities: dreamlike space, fluid reality, deep questions

That’s a wrap on 7 books like The Sandman for you to enjoy while the Morpheus high is still going strong.

I personally love dark, slightly twisted books with morally grey (or coal black) characters and this list is nothing but darkness, weirdness and eerie vibes.

Any other book you think should be on this list? I (and everyone else) would appreciate more recommendations that are dark, wicked, weird or a downright nightmare.

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