Death: The High Cost of Living Paperback – Jun 1 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
The High Cost of Living is a continuation of Harvey Award-winning fantasy writer Gaiman's series detailing the cosmic duties of a loose family of seven immortals. Not quite Gods, they embody realms of psychic experience: Dream, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Delirium, Destruction and Gaiman's very popular character, Death. Reaper, yes; but Death's not very grim as she goes about her business visiting the just-about-to-die and ushering them into their new existence. In this story she meets Sexton, a teenager contemplating suicide, and they end up searching New York City to find a witch's heart (the old hag hid it centuries ago, it's a witch tradition), so the old girl can hide it again. Up pops the Eremite, an evil wizard type, out to steal Death's mysterious necklace, who makes the usual threats against life and limb. Gaiman has created a character sweetly at odds with her modbid duties; dressed like a Satanic rocker, she's as pretty as a cheerleader and even more upbeat. While Gaiman brings a gritty urban contemporaneity to the fantasy genre, the story also suffers from a TV script-like sensibility--danger-defying quips, the good-hearted overweight black neighbor, melodramatic villain. Nevertheless the combination of wry mystic immortal and MTV slacker produces an engaging chemistry. Top-notch production, and although the illustration is a bit stiff, it's stylishly rendered and very nicely colored. The introduction is by pop singer Tori Amos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sexton is sitting at his computer typing out his suicide note when his mother obliviously sends him out for the afternoon because she has taken the day off to spring clean their apartment. When he literally falls into a garbage dump, he meets a cute and saucy Goth girl named Didi, not knowing that she is Death walking in flesh for a day. She takes Sexton back to her apartment to mend her torn jeans, and now the story begins its long slide downhill.
Mad Hattie confronts Death and threatens to cut off Sexton's nose if Didi (Death) does not go out to find her missing heart. So Didi and Sexton set off into the city at night, to have some fun and search for Mad Hattie's heart. And unexplained thread unravels as Didi (Death) continually is offered free goods by kind people. I didn't get it, and Gaimen never explained it. They go into a "hot" club (for free), and once inside with them, we are subjected to some extremely cheesy lyrics sung by lesbian acoustical guitarist.
Outside the club, a strange blind man and his minion do unexplained things to find Didi in the club, and when the minion lures them out, Death follows as bovinely as a cow does into the slaughtering pens. It gets worse. Once Sexton and Didi are trapped in the cellar, the story becomes even more aimless, filled with pointless conversations which all build up to a ridiculous and anticlimactic ending.
For me, Death lost her charm as Didi when she became so naively helpless and stupifyingly frivolous in her actions and speech.Read more ›
The story is simple and does not assume any previous knowledge of "Sandman". Didi, a Gothling, saves the teenaged Sexton's life when he figures out at the last second that he really doesn't want to die. Though Didi's existence is quite explainable (she has neighbors who know her, and photos of her family in her apartment), she claims to be only a few hours old -- and she says she is the incarnation of Death. Sexton, a cynical grunger, doesn't believe it at all, but he ends up hanging around anyway. Didi has a lust for life and all sensations it holds, from the good taste of food to the pleasure of "a really good party". She also has major problems in the form of a few supernatural folks looking for her, including a creepy old mage looking for her ankh necklace (thinking that she puts her power into it, like Dream did his toys), and a British bag lady who's lost her heart and thinks Didi can find it. After 24 hours, Didi dies, having changed Sexton's outlook permanently. He never knows if she is what she claimed.
It is a sweet story, with none of the superhero bombast pervading comics today. Death has a nice day out and shows a very human side of her personality. When she dies, she whispers "No. Please." She doesn't want to die.Read more ›
Enter his savior, a young gal by the name of Didi, who we (being the faithful fans of Gaiman's Sandman that I know we all are) instantly recognize as the one and only Death of the Endless, looking slightly less pale, more chipper (if that's possible) and a little younger (about 16) than usual. She's spending her one day-per-century as an orphaned
girl living alone in NYC. Sexton takes the information in stride. ("Uh... right. So. I suppose you must do a lot of drugs.")
Problems ensue, of course. Mad Hettie, who has popped up in Sandman (Preludes & Nocturnes, for the uninitiated), holds Sexton at gunpoint (well... pointy broken wine bottlepoint), demanding that Didi go off and fetch her heart for her. She's hidden it, you see, and forgotten where she left it. And a chap by the name of "The Eremite" is after Death's signature ankh she wears about her neck.
Here's what Death: The High Cost of Living isn't:
Plot-heavy. All the better for it. Both plots sort of fizzle, but in good ways.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Neil Gaiman truly is the consummate storyteller able to weave first-class storylines and memorable characters seemingly at the drop of a hat. Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Sibelius
This story follows Death after she rescues a teenage boy with a strange name. A very old homeless lady tells Death to find the heart she hid, but can't remember where it was... Read morePublished on June 30 2003 by Eryn
Death is the most lovable character of the Endless and this book just helps flesh that aspect out some more. Yet it isn't quite as good as it could've been. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2002 by Amazon Customer
It's been said so many times in so many different introductions and reviews, but it remains true: Neil Gaiman is the king of dreams. Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2002 by Ben Yates
I love a lot of Gaiman's stuff, but this is really bad. No action at all, almost no "magic", a completely unlikable supporting character, and supposedly touching ending. Read morePublished on April 27 2002 by Amazon Customer
While not an integral part of the series, "Death: The High Cost of Living" is a peripheral story that serves as a great introduction. Read morePublished on March 30 2002 by nemoistic
Literally, I just finished reading this. I was never so aware of how a person, a character, anyone could be so cheerful and yet so level headed. And to top that she's dead cool. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2001
Heh. Making the embodiment of death a slightly crazy and sweet Goth chick; the only thing that equals here is Pratchett's Death. (Who wants to see a crossover? Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2001
Much as I love this comic, I find (after reading the other posted reviews on Amazon.com, as well as letters published during the series' initial publication) that most of the... Read morePublished on March 16 2001 by john salonia