Hugo pre-read: Fables (volumes 2 to 4)

Um, I’m still stuck on the Avengers squee. So have some Fables reviews that I wrote over the last couple of weeks. Having to read most of the Fables back catalogue in order to read the Hugo nominated volume is definitely not a chore!

Fables Vol. 2: Animal Farm – Bill Willingham
Revolution is fomenting on the Farm and at the same time, Snow White decides that Rose Red’s punishment for her scam in the first volume is that she will have to accompany Snow on her annual Farm inspection. The Farm is where all the fairy tales that cannot easily blend into the city live and they are fed up. The prominent involvement of the pigs – and their communist leanings – echoed the George Orwell book but this is definitely a Fables story. I enjoyed the glimpses that I got of the different non-human societies and it was fun to play spot the fairy tale as I read. The deeper ideas were handled well, there was some great humour, and the final resolution was satisfying and fun.

Fables Vol 3: Storybook Love – Bill Willingham
This volume collects a couple of stand-alone stories along with the Storybook Love arc. It was the main arc that I enjoyed most and I think that is because it focused heavily on Bigby and Snow, two characters that I’ve quickly grown to love. Bluebeard has finally had enough of their interference and with one character from Animal Farm still on the run, puts together a plan to quietly get rid of Bigby and Snow. As with any cunning plan it backfires somewhat and Prince Charming, oddly enough, also becomes involved in protecting Snow. Charming is rapidly growing into a character that you love to loathe: he’s selfish, vain and greedy. At the same time it’s easy to see how he fooled beautiful princesses into marrying him! One of the things that I’m enjoying about this series is the way that our expectations for fairy tale characters are turned upside down regularly It’s fun installment in a series that gets better as it goes on.

Fables Vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers – Bill Willingham
War comes to the Fables in this book and the reader gets some more hints about the Adversary and how he/it operates. There are a couple of seemingly disconnected stories at the beginning of the volume and they pay off midway through. This was a more serious story than the previous one and it left a lot of questions unanswered. I found the final two or three ‘chapters’ completely compelling and I couldn’t put it down as I worried for the characters I’ve become attached to. Willingham is not afraid to kill his characters when necessary for a story.

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