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Peter & Max: A Fables Novel (Fables Peter & Max)

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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  3,460 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
Set in the imaginative realm of the award-winning comic book series FABLES, the book takes place long ago, in the deepest dark of The Black Forest. Two brothers — Peter Piper and his older brother Max — encounter ominous forces that change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present d ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Vertigo (first published October 13th 2009)
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Mark No, it is not necessary to read before reading the other fables graphic novels.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sarah
A quick side-story about Peter Piper and his estranged brother, Max. It's meant to be a stand-alone novel in the world of the Fables comic series. As such, it doesn't provide any information critical to understanding the series. I think it is set up well enough that a reader who hadn't read the comics would still get something out of it. Willingham is a capable writer, though at times he gets in his own way. He is stuck describing things in words rather than pictures, and a lot of his descriptio ...more
Paul Eckert
I've never read any of the Fables comics, but Willingham makes the universe very approachable to newbies. The novel is written so that even someone who has never read Fables comics can appreciate this book.

The plot in a nutshell: The characters from our fables and fairy tales have been living in our world for hundreds of years, though their communities are hidden through magic. They escaped from various different worlds to settle on Earth.

The novel is about Peter Piper and his older brother Ma
...more
Erika
Oct 30, 2009 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You don’t need to be a fan of Bill Willingham’s Fables comics to like this book--you don’t even have to know what they are to understand Peter & Max. This is a re-telling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story from a different perspective, one of those “what really happened” kind of tales. For every other character or event that might confuse the reader, Willingham explains the course of the comics in a few words and lines that, if anything, spoil crucial points of suspense that have navigated a ...more
Thomas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chad Bearden
I'd assumed that being a longtime reader of Bill Willingham's "Fables" comic book would give an added boost to my enjoyment of his new Fables-related novel, "Peter & Max". In fact, I think it lessened it.

"Fables" fans are already familiar with the clever and subtle ways in which Willingham weaves together classic fairy tale characters with more modern interpretations. On a month to month basis, I never ceased to be impressed with his story-telling virtuosity. But upon reading "Peter & Ma
...more
Amanda
Oct 20, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of fairy tale retellings. I learned how to read from fables and fairy tales when I was a child, and have retained a fascination for them since. In this book, Bill Willingham introduces a bold choice in the remaking of fairy tales. Peter & Max is his first novel novel, but as I haven't read any of his graphic novels, I
can't really offer much insight on the background of his idea. Peter & Max are the two Piper brothers, one responsible for the Pied Piper legend, the other f
...more
Emma
Apr 23, 2010 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so caught between giving this book a 3 or a 4. I ended up with four because I'm a rabid Fables fan and this took me deeper into the world I love so much, but it really deserves a 3.5--for several reasons.

Don't get me wrong, I did really, really like it--it was Bill Willingham, one of my heroes, and most of the book left me heartily entertained and happy. But at the end, all I could really muster for this book was a sort of positive sounding "Meh."

As I see it, there were three flaws in this
...more
Lincoln
Feb 26, 2010 Lincoln rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two things you should know going into this review. The first is that this novel is based on a comic series called Fables, which tells stories about characters from fairy tales living in the real world. The second is that, while you don't need to read Fables in order to enjoy this novel, if you line up ten comic fans, only one of which reads Fables, Fables is still going to be the best continuing series any of them have ever read. Hands down.

Alright, now that that's out of the way; Peter and Max
...more
Heather
Oct 07, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a similar vein to Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Bill Willingham's Peter & Max: A Fables Novel takes a well-known story and characters, and imbues them with a rich history and fleshed-out present. But unlike Wicked, which was a political allegory, Peter & Max is all fairytale -- dark, disturbing and solely for adults.

In the Fables universe, characters from fairytales, nursery rhymes and other legendary stories have all come together in our world after theirs was taken over by an invading a
...more
Karl
Aug 03, 2011 Karl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter And Max, a Fables Novel, in which Bill Willingham gives prose writing a shot and succeeds more serviceably than spectacularly. There are moments of grandeur and cleverness, especially the chapter that re-unites Bo (Little Bo Peep) and Peter (Peter Piper)and the final duel between Peter and his evil older brother Max Piper.

The world building is excellent, and this is something Willingham scores high on in the ongoing Fables comic published by DC/Vertigo.

The narrative goes back and forth fr
...more
Dxmaniac69
Jan 05, 2010 Dxmaniac69 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, my rating for this book is about 3 and a half stars. The book is good, and a very easy read. I don't know how appealing it would be to someone who isn't a Fables fan. In short, if you enjoy reworking of fairy tales, it's worth a read. It builds on the darkness of the original faeiy tale (The Pipe Piper of Hamelin) without changing it radically like Wicked does the Wizard of Oz.

For Fables fans, the question is whether or not Bill Willingham has potential as a novel writer. His writing he
...more
Laura
Peter and Max Piper are brothers. But aside from the same mother and father and musical giftedness, the two have little in common. Their story opens in the present in the recondite part of New York known as Fabletown with Peter learning of his brother's return. Peter lives in Fabletown with his paraplegic wife Bo Peep and other characters of fantasy and fairy lore such as Snow White, the Beast, and the Big Bad Wolf.

Despite Bo's protests and concern for Peter's safety, Peter resolves to find Max
...more
Mary Beth
Jan 05, 2010 Mary Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was/am a very happy reader of Willingham's Fables graphic novels, and was thrilled to learn about this book, a novel set within the same world, contemporaneous to the story in the graphic novels, but independent of them as well. It was a fantastic romp and I marvel at the creativity and respectful license that the author takes with well known fairy tale characters.

The eponymous protagonists are brothers, and are based on several familiar tales. Peter is both Peter Piper of pickled pepper fame
...more
Christopher Scott
I credit the finding of this book to my wife. I was only slightly familiar with the Fables comic. My wife, being the lovely person she is, went to the comic store to buy my valentines gift (that is love ladies and gentlemen) and the guy there told her about this book and thought I might enjoy it. As it turned out, he was right. There definitely is no need to have read any of the Fables comics to have an understanding of what is going on in this novel, as the author states. It stands alone by its ...more
James
Sep 20, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to my friend Ron, I received an advance copy of this book, which hits shelves quite soon. I must say, I was always relatively lukewarm about Fables, the comic: I read the issues when they were first published, then switched to the trades after I lost my job at the comic store, and then fell behind in those as well--I've missed out on the last several volumes now, and haven't started the spin-off (Jack of Fables?) yet.

That said, I picked up this book thinking it would help to pass the time
...more
Peter
Sep 29, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Bill Willingham's Fables comics, and was really looking forward to this first novel set in the Fables universe. It did not disappoint. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton, who was surprisingly good on Agent to the Stars. Peter & Max is a great little tale, full of funny bits, genuinely frightening moments, and a very satisfying and believable finale. Bravo.
Quandra Chaffers
Oct 27, 2009 Quandra Chaffers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ongoing readers of Fables, not new readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dot Hutchison
Peter & Max: A FABLES novel, by Bill Willingham



Yes, that's right: novel. For those familiar with the graphic novels, this comes as something as a surprise, but trust me, it's a pleasant one. This takes place in the same universe as the graphic novels, and within the same timeline. It's not necessary to have read the series to understand this book, as Willingham does quite a good job of setting up the universe in the first few pages, but a familiarity with events and characters do lead to so
...more
Shannon
A friend let me borrow a book recently, Peter & Max, by Bill Willingham. This isn't a book I would've chosen on my own, but I actually enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated. This book is a Fables Novel, meaning that is a part of the Fables comic series. You don't have to know anything about the comic books or even anything about the Fables world to enjoy this book. It is a stand alone novel.

The book opens with a bit of an explanation of the setting. The people are fairy tale character
...more
Lady K
Jan 06, 2011 Lady K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Encore une fois je vous présente un vrai coup de cœur ! Voici le genre de livre qu’on a envie de dévorer pour connaitre la fin, tout en voulant le savourer le plus longtemps possible. Paradoxal n’est-ce pas ? Il y avait bien longtemps qu’une lecture ne m’avait pas donné cette sensation. Cependant, vous excuserez ce billet un peu décousu, car j’ai eu beaucoup de mal à écrire cette chronique, je ne savais pas par où commencer, quoi dire sur ce livre qui m’a totalement subjuguée!

Le style est très p
...more
Scott Foley
Oct 31, 2011 Scott Foley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In many cases, novelists have difficulty making the jump to comic book writing just as comic book writers and screenwriters may have a rough time adapting to pure prose writing. I'm happy to report that Bill Willingham not only made the jump to prose writing well, but he exceeded my already lofty expectations.

Okay, I'd be remiss if I didn't offer full disclosure and admit that I am a huge Fables fan. That doesn't mean I automatically give Willingham a free pass, though. I've written some glowing
...more
Blake Fraina
Before reading Peter and Max, I was not familiar with the "Fables" series of graphic novels put out by Vertigo Comics (also home of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series). For those who are, my initial thoughts may seem obvious or even redundant. The basic conceit here is that all the characters we’re familiar with from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, legends and fables actually exist and have come to Earth to escape an evil dictator who’s taken over their world. Those who can pass as human live in a small ...more
Chibineko
Nov 25, 2010 Chibineko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Right off the bat, I do have to give any potential readers a bit of warning. If you haven't read Willingham's fantastic comics, you will probably be a little bit lost during some parts of this story. The book can be read apart from the rest of the Fables comics & Willingham does give a bit of background in the book's beginning, but I expect that some will be a little lost during some of the scenes that take place during Fabletown's present. (Of course they could read up on Fables via it's Wi ...more
J.S.
Mar 08, 2012 J.S. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-misc
As a kid I was a big fan of comic books, although I usually preferred the ones that were actually "comic" over what are now called "graphic novels". So maybe I'm not the typical audience for this book, but still I was intrigued by the idea. It turns out that the stories we call fairy tales and nursery rhymes are real events from another world, a world where some animals can talk, wicked witches live in forests and trolls under bridges, Bo Peep is a bratty little girl, and Peter Piper and his fam ...more
Carrie Mansfield
Mar 31, 2013 Carrie Mansfield rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Disappointing.

One of the most critical components of whether I like a show, a movie or a book is characterization. Are these people interesting, do they have a backstory, do I have a reason to like or care about them?

In the case of Peter and Max I'd say they have the backstory, but little else. Peter is ultimately a kind of generic Good Guy. Yeah, there's a section where he becomes a thief, but it's nothing special. Hell, I've seen it done a million times better in The Name of the Wind. The comp
...more
Cecelia
Nov 24, 2009 Cecelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fairy tale with teeth. 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 lef
...more
Toi Thomas
This is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of the Pipe Piper, but there’s very little cute about it (no Disney here). Peter and Max are brothers with skills and talents over any instrument, but they are masters as pipers and they’ve barely hit puberty. Their nomadic lifestyle and happy family are pretty sweet until strange creatures come into their land to enslave, I mean govern, their people. Too bad this new government isn’t the least of Peter’s worries as his jealous older brother begins t ...more
Isaac Hamlet
Mar 20, 2011 Isaac Hamlet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should begin by saying that prior to this book I had neither read nore heard of "Fable". I had no Idea that there was an author who had put a new twist on such welll know stories (Red ridding hood, Big bad wolf, snow white, little miss muppet.) It's true that there are a few things that you won't understand if you read this book. Are the Fables from sperate worlds? What makes them immortal? Are all the people from their world(s) immortal? These and a few other confusions will arise but they sh ...more
Jasper
Sep 01, 2010 Jasper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
a great *first* for Vertigo, hopefully not the last

first off let me just say that after reading this book, i'm sorely tempted to read it again right now. the writing has this magical lure that brings you right in, letting you really invest in the story and the characters.

now, you don't need to be familiar with the Fables graphic novel to enjoy Peter & Max but i think it's good to know the gist of it...
you'll be acquainted with many of the characters that fill it's pages (Snow White, Bigby th
...more
Janine
Jun 21, 2016 Janine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fantasy
I really enjoyed this book. I always like a new twist on familiar fairy tales, and this was a lot of fun, even though it was also really dark.

I should say, I have not actually read the Fables comic series at all yet, though I will definitely be finally checking those out soon. Despite that, though, I didn't feel like I was really lost at any point. I got a good sense of the fact that the world that Peter, Max, and Bo exist in is much more vast than I saw. There was a hint at the vastness of this
...more
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In the late 1970s to early 1980s he drew fantasy ink pictures for the Dungeons & Dragons Basic and Expert game rulebooks. He first gained attention for his 1980s comic book series Elementals published by Comico, which he both wrote and drew. However, for reasons unknown, the series had trouble maintaining an original schedule, and Willingham's position in the industry remained spotty for many ...more
More about Bill Willingham...

Other Books in the Series

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  • Fables, Vol. 3: Storybook Love
  • Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
  • Fables, Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons
  • Fables, Vol. 6: Homelands
  • Fables, Vol. 7: Arabian Nights [and Days] (Fables, #7)
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