24 May 2019

PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL.

PETER & MAX: A FABLES NOVEL by BILL WILLINGHAM (With illustrations by STEVE LEIALOHA).


In the deepest dark of the Black Forest, two brothers will come undone ...

When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of the Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern-day Fabletown.
- Back Cover Blurb

For most of his long years, Peter Piper wanted nothing more than to live a life of peace and safety in some cozy cottage, married to his childhood sweetheart, who grew into the only woman he could ever love.
- First Sentence; Chapter One: Fables ... In which Rose Red takes an early morning drive and finds our hero's story at the end of it

And nothing is more immediately and unmistakably identifiable as magical than a talking duck, with a penchant for discussing the collected works of Jane Austen, or a moo-cow who can leap over the moon. 
- Memorable Moment; Page 27

SOURCE ... A charity shop buy.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... Having escaped from various different worlds to settle here on earth, their communities hidden by magic, lurk some folklore/fairy tale characters. 

Superb world building but more importantly for me as someone who loves well written characters a tremendous cast who whilst familiar are not necessarily as you and I know them (Bo Peep for instance is far from the mild shepherdess I previously thought her).

So far so good.

The story (a sort of 'what really happened' re-telling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin) sprawling, epic and inventive, the sibling rivalry at the heart of it something I'm sure most of us with brothers/sisters will relate to, Peter & Max: A Fable Novel certainly captured my imagination BUT ...

Not a fan of comics as a child and I admit to never having read a graphic novel (hardly the target audience for this, an actual novel albeit one based upon the long running Fables comic book series, am I?) but I would have thought that what works well in art form does not necessarily work well in text, that writing for a graphic novel is very different from writing the prose required of a novel.

At times bogged down (or so it seemed to me) in a quagmire of exposition (some of it arguably necessary to newcomers of this world), I felt that the earlier chapters certainly bordered on the tedious; that the author, unused to showing instead of telling (after all isn't that the job of the illustrator of graphic books?), painted so vivid a picture that they stopped the narrative cold.

Disappointed that the writing didn't live up to the idea; that it read as if a children's book with the addition of profanities, sex and violence so that older readers might enjoy it, concerned that the format did not do justice to the universe created by the author ... or could it simply be, a more mature (female) reader, I simply didn't truly appreciate it????

7 comments:

Brian Joseph said...

Usually I am OK with lots of descriptions and not a lot of story development. However, I can see how on this type of story that such a style could get in the way of things.

I also am not a big fan of graphic novels or comic books.

Kelly said...

I do like the cover, but I'm not sure the premise is one I'd really enjoy. Every time I read the words "Peter Piper", my mind finishes with "picked a peck of pickled peppers..." I read comics as a child, but preferred things like Richie Rich, Nancy, Caspar, and Beetle Bailey to fairy tales or super heroes.

I will say that's an interesting Memorable Moment. I'd never thought to see some of those words put together in a sensible paragraph!

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
From what you shared in your
heartfelt review both about
the book and your objections,
I am not certain, if I would
enjoy it.
Raven

Suko said...

I enjoyed reading the Memorable Moment. Thanks for another well-written, honest review.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Too bad the writing didn't live up to the promise. I love retellings but I may end up feeling the same way you did. Brilly review.

Melliane said...

Oh it's a bit too bad that it wasn't more for you, it looked good!

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