Daryl's Reviews > Peter & Max

Peter & Max by Bill Willingham
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Jun 06, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, comics-related
Read in May, 2012

I'm a big fan of Willingham's Fables series, so this book was right up my alley. This novel tells the story of the Piper brothers, Peter and Max, one of whom (though not the one I first suspected) becomes the legendary Pied Piper of Hamelin. (Although if I'd remembered more of that story correctly, the choice of brother would've been obvious to me. A minor point.) The novel is told in alternating chapters between the present, in which the Fables characters are living secretly within the mundane (or mundy) world, and the past, wherein the characters are involved in the stories that become the fables, legends, and fairy tales of our times. The conceit of the Fables living in the here and now of the "real" world is one of the major joys of the comic book series. If I had any quibble with the book, it would be that it dwells too much (more as the novel progresses) in the past, and too little in the present. However, as is, the book was hugely enjoyable. I was pleased to see Willingham's writing style and sense of storytelling translated easily from the comics page to the prose novel. I was also delighted with Steve Leialoha's spot illustrations throughout the book. It reminded me of a book from many decades past when such illustrations were relatively common within the pages of novels. Sadly, one doesn't see much of that these days. I think anyone familiar with the Fables comics series would already have picked up and probably read this novel. But I would recommend it to non-comics, non-Fables readers as well. The story stands on its own and is easily accessible to anyone with a passing interest in fantasy literature.
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