Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Things are a touch hectic around here as I am in the middle of moving out of one place and into another, so the focus the next couple of days will be on graphic novels, as they are far quicker reads than normal novels, yet they can have just as much story telling power. Among this bunch is Bill Willingham's Fables. In this series, famed fairy tale and fable characters are living amongst the real world, in a place called Fabletown that is located right in New York City. While this may seem unoriginal or not that exciting, it is incredibly well done. Willingham is very adept at creating believable characters with realistic interactions.

Another intriguing aspect to this series is that each book appears to be a slightly different genre. Every one obviously has strong fantasy elements, but there are also other strong genre ties. In the first volume, Legends in Exile, we are treated a mystery reminiscent of Sam Spade.

Rose Red, Snow White's sister, has disappeared, and left behind is a blood-soaked apartment. The only immediate suspect is her boyfriend, Jack (of beanstalk fame), is apprehended by Bigby (formerly the Big Bad Wolf). The book has a lightning-paced plot, as you follow Bigby in his search for clues as to the whereabouts and condition of Rose Red.

The tale reaches a well done conclusion, and leaves you wanting to jump straight to the second book. I must admit, I was hesitant about this one, as I just couldn't get past the concept of fairy tale characters, thinking that this would be childish. To my utter delight and surprise, it was a wonderfully wrought story, and the beginning of what I hope is a great series. Keep an eye out for this book; it is definitely worth picking up.


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