Rummanah Aasi
  Fairy tale retellings have always been popular. Now fractured fairy tales are hotter than ever, especially with hit TV shows such as Once Upon a Time (I still have to catch up to the last few episodes) on ABC and Grimm on NBC. The blockbuster graphic novel series, Fables by Bill Willingham, is a must read for those who can't get enough of fairy tale characters and new stories. I finally got around to reading the first volume of this series and enjoyed it. 

Description: Who killed Rose Red? In Fabletown, where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers, the question is all anyone can talk about. But only the Big Bad Wolf can actually solve the case - and, along with Rose's sister Snow White, keep the Fabletown community from coming apart at the seams.

Review: The first volume of Fables begins as a classic whodunit, but quickly unravels as a larger story about Fabletown, a place where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers. Many years ago, fables and fairy tales like Snow White and Cinderella were separate kingdoms that are spread over several magical worlds until they were invaded by the unknown entity called the Adversary and driven into hiding. Some live on a remote farm, but those who can pass as human live in New York City, hiding their extraordinary nature from the world. King Cole is the mayor of Fabletown, but the real overseer of the city is by his no-nonsense deputy, Snow White.
  The story is set into motion with Snow's rambunctious and estranged sister Rose Red goes missing, detective B. Wolf (Bigby for short) is called in to investigate the crime. Rose is assumed to be murdered as her apartment is covered with her blood. The suspects include Rose's boyfriend Jack the giant-killer; Bluebeard the pirate, with whom Rose had had an affair; and Snow's ex-husband, Prince Charming. The mystery is solved like a game of clue and nicely introduces the reader to the key characters in Fabletown, which is where I think the first volume shines. 
  Snow White is not your average Disney princess. She has gone through a rough divorce from her philandering and cadish Prince Charming who uses his swarmy charm to sleep his way out of payments. She has lots of snark and seems like the quintessential savvy city dweller. My favorite character so far is Bigby, an old school detective that reminds me of Humphrey Bogart (or at least that's I how I imagined him to be), who seems to be in control of his animal side and has paid for his famous mistakes. It was also nice to be introduced with characters that I've never heard before such as Bluebeard and Rose Red.
  The first volume is very easy to read and the story is engaging. Willingham has some great one-liners and tongue in cheek humor that made me chuckle. It was nice to see fairy tale characters spend their time fretting about our common troubles such as money and martial problems. The mystery seems like a device to delineate Willingham's world and to process a tremendous about of information without having large info dumps, which can easily take the reader out of the story. The illustrations are nice and a few things are left to the imagination, especially when it comes to Prince Charming, but it's the written script that is stronger and makes me want to continue the series.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and sexual content including crude humor. The series is marketed towards adults, however, I would feel comfortable in recommending it to older teen readers.

If you like this book try: Fables #2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham, Stardust by Neil Gaiman
7 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Ooooo I don't so much read graphic novels but I absolutely adore fairytale retellings and especially "fractured" ones where we get a combination of different fairytale characters put together in a single story. It would definitely be amusing to see them stressing over normal everyday issues like finances:) Thanks for the review Rummanah!


  2. Lauren M Says:

    Yep, I'm one of those people who totally loves the fairy-tale popularity. I hadn't heard of this graphic novel, but now I'm intrigued! Like you said, it's neat that the author mixed in everyday problems with the more fantastic problems. Great review, Rummanah! I'll have to check the library for this one. :)


  3. It's crazy how popular fairy tale retellings have been lately. Even on TV, like you said. I've never been that into them. I've read some good ones, like Jackson Pearce's books and Cinder but it's not something I'm naturally drawn to.


  4. Snow White...divorced? That makes me sad, but good to know she doesn't lose her snark. LOL


  5. I haven't heard of this one, but I think I love the sound of it. Your review gives plenty of information to let me know what it's about and that there is some humor to it. I'd love to read this one.

    Heather


  6. It reminds me of Jasper Fforde books. Hm... might have to check out this retelling. I usually get a kick out of these!


  7. Whoa, how have I never heard of this one?! I love fairytales so I'm obviously adding this to my wishlist because it has characters from a mix of fairytales. The last book I read with so many fairytale characters was Dust City, and I really enjoyed that one.


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