Razor sharp, bloody, carnivorous teeth. Wolf’s teeth. The Big Bad Wolf, in fact. Oh yes, he makes an appearance. And his name is Bigsby in Bill Willingham’s universe – the FABLES universe. It’s a compelling and fascinating place.
Let me backtrack a bit. FABLES started as a graphic novel series (comics!). Peter & Max is a novel, with occasional, ancillary illustrations. You don’t need to know the comics to get the story. I didn’t, at any rate. But the story left me wanting more, and interested enough to pick up the first FABLES volume from the library. Now…what is so wonderful about Peter & Max?
At about the halfway point of Peter & Max, I came up for air. I told my sister, “This is the most bloodthirsty story ever!” To which she replied, “Yeah, but you can’t put it down.” And I think an unexpected juxtaposition is what made me fall in love with the story: the fanciful, fairy tale themes and familiar characters, mixed with the dark, horrible and bizarre. It makes the story twisty, recognizable, surprising, melancholy and hopeful all at once. If that makes any sense. Also, the illustrations are amazingly detailed and wonderful. I didn't necessarily enjoy every little bit of the reading experience, but I DID think to myself afterward that it was one of the best books I've read this year.
This story stars Peter Piper and his incorrigible brother Max in a tale about jealousy, betrayal and revenge. Set in two distinct time periods, prepare to travel back to medieval times and learn the tragic back-story of the Piper family, a medieval-era family of traveling minstrels. Then, jump into the present to follow a tale of espionage as Peter Piper slowly hunts down his evil brother for a heinous crime, pitting Peter's talents as a master thief against Max's dark magical powers.
The course of true love never did run smooth. And neither does any good fairy tale worth its salt. Peter & Max is an account of Peter Piper’s “story” with many travails and miscarriages of justice and goodness along the road. Fairy tales traditionally end “well,” but will this one follow the pattern? Read it and find out – but beware blood and villains along the way!
Recommended for fans of: Neil Gaiman, fantasy and fairy tales all grown-up, a dollop of horror with your slice of dreamland, and the strange and wonderful expertly told. Warning: not for the faint of heart. This would make a really awesome gift for…almost anyone. But especially those who maybe long ago dreamed of growing up to be Prince Charming or the plucky princess. And then got over it and went out adventuring instead…
If you’d like to win your own copy of Peter & Max, this is your chance! I’ll give away one (1) book to a lucky entrant.
Leave a comment on this post answering the question, “When someone says a book is ‘dark,’ what do you automatically think of?”
Please include your email address or another method of contact. Giveaway is open internationally – I’ll order through The Book Depository. Comments will close on December 28 at 11:59pm PST, and I will notify the randomly selected winner via email.