This book is comprised of seven vignettes, each featuring one of the Endless, Gaiman’s archetypal beings that are beyond even mere gods. As such, you should only approach this book if you have a good understanding of the Sandman mythology.
There is a great scene in this book where Gaiman elaborates on the essence of the Endless, and how they differ from gods and goddesses.
Killalla: Look, you seem nice enough. Will you answer some questions for me? Just give me some straight answers?
Killalla: Why was everyone afraid of his older sister? The pretty one? They wouldn’t talk to her or anything.
Sto-oa: Because in the end, each sun, each world, every galaxy, will collapse and end, either into flame, or into darkness. And when that happens, she will be there, for each of us. Now do you understand?
Killalla: Not really.
Sto-oa: She is Death.
Killalla: Oh. You mean . . . she’s the Goddess of Death, or the incarnation, or . . .
Sto-oa: No. She is Death. Just as that one is Desire. Or your lover is Dream.
Killalla: Of course he is Dream. I met him in the Kingdom of Dreams, and he followed me back. He’s the king there . . .
Sto-oa: No, Killalla. He is not the king. He is Dream. Just as I am Sto-oa.
So what is important and revealing in this passage is the differentiation between the gods and the Endless. Gods and goddesses have to be gods of something. But not the Endless. The Endless represent the seven aspects of existence, which every sentient being must face at some point in his or her existence. Our dreams, desires, despair, delight/delusion, destruction, destiny, and death are not dependent upon any supernal entity. They exist in spite of divine beings. In fact, even divine beings must face each of the seven.
Now his path takes him into his dwelling, a place of corridors and halls.
The paintings in Destiny’s hall show his brothers and sisters as they might wish to be seen (although the wish and the thing are so close in the realm of the Endless that you cannot get a thin-bladed knife between them).
You will spend time in the realm of each of his siblings – you will dream, despair, desire, destroy, delight and otherwise, and, eventually, die – but you were his from the very first page, and only he will read how your story comes out, a long time from now.
I feel like I have personally visited with all the Endless. I know, I am still alive, but I came close to death a couple times and feel like I have met the sister that most fear. I’m not quite sure what Destiny still has in his book regarding my story, but obviously, it is not finished yet, since I am still here.