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Peter & Max: A Fables Novel Hardcover – October 13, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Fables
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; First Edition edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401215734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401215736
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Understanding Willingham's new novel (the first from comics house Vertigo) doesn't require knowledge of the comic it's based upon, but it certainly helps; Fables follows a population of fairy tale characters seeking shelter in our world after their enchanted lands were conquered. Familiar figures like Snow White, Rose Red, the Beast and Belle, the Big Bad Wolf (a human PI in the mundane world) and others fill out a cast led by Peter Piper and his brother, Max. Sibling rivalry, magical flutes and, yes, pickled peppers factor in the clever, adventurous plot that sees Peter pursuing Bo Peep. Fans will find all the charm and in-jokes of the Fables universe intact; like Neil Gaiman, another acclaimed comic book author, Willingham writes without the help of thought bubbles and keeps everything clear enough that readers new to the series won't be confused for long. Though it toys with notions of mythology and its origins, this work still keeps true to the spirit of the Brothers Grimm: dark, fast-paced, moving and entertaining, with a few surprises along the way. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–The Fables, a group of folk and fairytale characters, are living as a community in New York after being chased out of their previous lands by an evil conqueror. Some of their story has been told through a series of award-winning graphic novels, but Bill Willingham has written this tale as a novel (Vertigo, 2009) that can stand alone. An author's note introduces the audiobook, providing backstory to help those new to the series. The cast of characters includes many recognizable figures: Snow White, the (former) Big Bad Wolf, Rose Red, Peter Piper and his brother Max (The Pied Piper), Bo Peep who is married to Peter, and others. Through wonderful pacing, flashbacks, and clever references to the well-known tales of these characters' former lives, listeners are transported to a world where the storybook fables become real. Wil Wheaton does a wonderful job in timing the drama, humor, and tragedy of this complex tale, only missing the mark with the slow-paced delivery of Bigby Wolf's lines. Be aware that this is not a Disney-esque vision of the world. The characters curse when appropriate, the sex life of Peter and Bo is called into question, and violence is not sugar-coated. The intense conflict between Peter and Max harkens back to the gritty fairytales of old where blood is shed, evil exists, and things are not always as they seem.Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Bill Willingham never fought a desperate and losing battle in a good cause, never contributed to society in a meaningful way, and hasn't lived a life of adventure, but he's had a few moments of near adventure. At some point in his life Bill learned how to get paid for telling scurrilous lies to good people, and he's been doing it ever since. He lives in the wild and frosty woods of Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 165 customer reviews
The setting is very interesting, a world where fairy tales are real people.
It was also a pretty quick read filled w/ enough devices to really make the story engaging to the reader.
Drew DiGGs
This is a must read for fans of Willingham's Fables series of graphic novels.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By D. Westfall on September 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a fan of Fables. Mr Willingham took one of the stupidest concepts ever and made it into a compelling world that I look forward to visiting every few months when a new graphic novel comes out. This book just proved that Willingham doesn't need the artists to make up for any weaknesses in his storytelling ability. Peter and Max follows the adventures of Peter and Max Piper, and their ultimate conflict. Bill does a wonderful job of incorporating all of the legends that reference Peter or Pipers in general, he'll pick a pepper, the pied piper will do what he was famous for etc... If you are a fan of the Fables series I cannot recommend this highly enough, if you are not this is as good a place to start as any, and might be a little less overwhelming as there aren't that many characters within this book. Also, there is less interaction between the Fables and modernity in this book, it pretty much reads as straight fantasy. Wonderful story that hooked me after about twenty pages, a great read and I highly recommend it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I haven't read comic books in over 20 years, and had never heard of the Fables comic line this novel is based upon. I also initially wondered why, with all the possible fairy tale characters out there, Willingham had chosen to focus his tale on the tongue-twistered Peter Piper. So, I was a bit skeptical when I first picked this up to read. But, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was relieved that I didn't need to have read the comic books to do so!

The story and characters, if not terribly complex, are entirely imaginative and entertaining. And, kept me turning the pages, even when I should have been sleeping. Willingham is somehow able to combine taking his characters plight seriously with a tongue-in-cheek, dry wit that pokes fun at the zany world he's created - which makes it all the more enjoyable.

While the main storyline is about Peter and his brother Max's rivalry, a whole cast of fairy tale characters make an appearance (Snow White, Red Rose, the Wicked Witch, Beauty & the Beast, Bo Peep, ....). The fun part is that now they're all living together in Fabletown in a modern New York, having joined together to escape an evil adversary.

The ending was a little predictable, but it did resolve as a fairy tale should. And, after finishing this quick-read, I felt indeed that I'd just read a good, imaginative fairy tale.

A Favorite Line: "Fable women tend to be 'the fairest in all the land', which loses much of it's cachet when you have hundreds of such beauties crowded into such a small neighborhood."

Bottom Line: A clever, fun fairy tale whether you read the comics it's based upon or not.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I started getting into the Fables world by playing the video games first, then went on to read the comic book volumes by the same author. Needless to say, they are all fantastic and quite well done - this book being no exception. If you want to avoid spoilers and stay in chronological order though, I'd say to read this book after Volume 9 of the comics for sure. It's not a huge problem, but it did take a bit out of the fun of not knowing what was going to happen. I didn't know when this took place when I first read it, and now know for sure it's after Volume 9. So just a heads up for those interested in not spoiling some plot lines of the comics. Otherwise, this was a great book, set in the same universe and quite well done. Highly recommended to fans of the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dandylioness on October 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Peter & Max is a prose novel that takes place in the universe of Willingham's Fables comic series. The series is based around the premise that characters from folklore have a physical existence; that they are, in fact, a magical race of beings from an alternate reality. When a cruel conqueror takes over their own world, the Fables seek refuge in our own, where they live unnoticed in a corner of New York City they call Fabletown. Peter & Max begins with Peter Piper (of pickled pepper fame) living peacefully with his wife Bo Peep in the countryside. One morning Peter learns that his brother Max (another Piper, whose name you may not recognize but whose reputation you certainly know) is in town. Unfortunately this is not a happy family reunion, as Max and Peter happen to be mortal enemies.

I love the Grimm fairytales, and I love creative retellings. I thought Peter & Max was a nice example of the genre and thoroughly enjoyed it. Characters that are sinister in traditional lore are sinister here as well. Characters who are traditionally innocent or heroic show surprising new sides. This is not to say that any of the characters seemed particularly complex--they were not-- but there was still something fun and clever about the way Willingham weaves them together in his story. The action felt well-paced, even as it switches back and forth between time periods. The book also gets a small thumbs up from me for the delightful line drawings peppered throughout the text. My only complaint is that Willingham's writing style seemed somewhat prosaic and uninspired to me. He tends to tell rather than show, something quickly evidenced by the six page introduction which describes the background of the Fables universe in detail.
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