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

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  3,323 Ratings  ·  474 Reviews
When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a
family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of The Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older
brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their
Audio CD
Published December 8th 2009 by Brilliance Audio (first published October 13th 2009)
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Mark No, it is not necessary to read before reading the other fables graphic novels.
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Peter and Max is the first full prose novel in the Fables series by Bill Willingham. The graphic novels alone are fascinating works of artwork and this inspired me to want to check out this novel. Unfortunately the novel lacked the worldbuilding depth and characters which appealed to me so much in the graphic novels.

Essentially this is the story of Peter Piper and his brother, Max, who becomes the fabled Pied Piper. Aside from providing a re-interpretation of the histories and origins of those t
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
Oct 11, 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
Jan 11, 2013 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
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
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
Mary Beth
Jan 14, 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
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
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
Jan 11, 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 08, 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
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
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
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
Dec 08, 2014 rick. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
My previous experience with Bill Willingham was limited to the first trade of Fables , which along with Gregory McGuire's Wicked (or perhaps Stephen Sondheim's musical Into the Woods) paved the way for the entire sub-genre of re-imagined fairytales in books, television and movies. I remember enjoying the those first comics, but did not continue with the series. I saw all the winks and nods towards the fairytale origins, but did not connect previously with the characters in a meaningful way. T ...more
Jul 09, 2014 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fairy-tales
You do not have to have read the graphic novel series "Fables" to enjoy this retelling of the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (among other fairy tales). I enjoyed Willingham's crisp, almost jaunty writing style. It lulled me into the feeling that "Peter and Max" was going to be a merry Disney-like spin on an unsettling children's story. But then, Willingham's plot and character choices reminded me that he is more Brothers Grimm than Mickey Mouse. I was amazed at the speed in which Willingham s ...more
Dec 05, 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.
Jun 30, 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
Charlotte Jones
Feb 29, 2016 Charlotte Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Peter & Max is a standalone novel based in Bill Willingham's world of Fables, an extremely popular graphic novel series. I picked up this book on audiobook because it is narrated wonderfully by Wil Wheaton and already it has around 3160 ratings on Goodreads, I've never heard anyone talk about this.

This tells the story of Peter and Max Piper, two brothers who become the hero and villain characters in the story. I loved the way that Bill Willingham has used fairytale tropes and characters and
Blodeuedd Finland
Sep 04, 2010 Blodeuedd Finland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairytale

I actually borrowed this one before I read my first Fables graphic Novel. And after reading this book I sure want to read those graphic novels. Because the world is wonderful.

This is then a novel based on the graphic novels. It is a standalone and it is about Peter and Max. The book takes place in this world, because the Fables (all those famous fairytale stories we know and love) fled to this world to get away from the war. Here they settled in new York. Peter is happy with this wife, but then
Oct 17, 2009 Lyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter & Max is Willingham's first venture into novel format of his Eisner-winning _Fables_ set of graphic novels.

It is an outstanding piece of fiction.

One the surface, it is the story of two brothers, hunting each other across thousands of years, and several worlds.

Like the fables and fairy tales that it draws from, Peter & Max is a book that deals with extremely dark themes: insanity, patricide, rape, murder, infanticide, and, at in its darkest moments, mass murder. Paradoxically it is
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
Carrie Mansfield
Apr 07, 2013 Carrie Mansfield rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

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
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.
Isaac Hamlet
Mar 21, 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
Lady K
Jan 14, 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
Jan 03, 2010 Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bill Willingham's Fables spins off into this tale that gives a glimpse of some characters we haven't seen yet and their interactions with the rest of the characters associated with the universe of Fairy Tale refugees.
Peter Piper and his wife Bo Peep are living somewhat comfortably near the Farm when Rose Red comes to visit, informing Peter that Bigby Wolf wishes to see him. Going to visit Bigby, Peter is informed that his brother Max has returned and needs to be dealt with. What follows is a tal
Sep 18, 2014 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
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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

Fables (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile
  • Fables, Volume 2: Animal Farm
  • Fables, Volume 3: Storybook Love
  • Fables, Volume 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
  • Fables, Volume 5: The Mean Seasons
  • Fables, Volume 6: Homelands
  • Fables, Volume 7: Arabian Nights [and Days]
  • Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall
  • Fables, Volume 8: Wolves
  • Fables, Volume 9: Sons of Empire

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