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Fairest, Volume 2: The Hidden Kingdom

(Fairest (Collected Editions) #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,359 ratings  ·  234 reviews
In a stand-alone tale, Beast must hunt a beauty, but what is her relation to his past? And then, in a 6-part epic, Rapunzel lives one of the most regimented lives in Fabletown, forced to maintain her rapidly growing hair lest her storybook origins be revealed. But when word of her long-lost children surface, she races across the sea to find them--and a former lover.

Paperback, Trade, 160 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Vertigo
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,359 ratings  ·  234 reviews

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I find these volumes in the Fables world to be some great storytelling. This story has been developing for long story now and it's still so good and so interesting. The story keeps adding new characters and developments that make sense and aren't so ridiculous. Thinking about fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes, there are infinite amounts of stories and characters out there and it really makes for a rich world. It somehow feels so natural and normal in the story telling. The team behind this ...more
Rapunzel reveals her backstory of her travels into the Hidden Kingdom and how she created friendships but also enemies. When news reaches her that her children may still be alive she travels to Asia with some allies to find them.

Artwork was very good on average.

William Thomas
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

News of "Fairest" had me excited. I thought that having a new perspective on the Fables from different writers was going to be exactly what their world needed. Then the first issues hit and it was Willingham on the writing chores. Damnit. A few issues later and a different arc and aha! We got it. Lauren Beukes.

This is what I'd hoped this series would become, would be. An edgy, surreal and bold take on the histories of the women of Fabletown.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, tales
Now this was much better than the previous volume of "Fairest". Still a lot of male characters around that seem to only be there to assert a male presence (I'm not saying that this spin-off should be all-female, just that being "about the women of Fables" should not translate into "about the women of Fables as seen/told by the men". Which is exactly what the "bonus" issue does, mind you.

Other problem I had : I was really happy that Rapunzel (view spoiler), I
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Once again, Bill Willingham and company have created a fresh spin on a fairy tale. And he takes Rapunzel to a very adult and at times disturbing journey to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Rapunzel has been looking for her children for many, many years. Even though she was forced to forget them, she never really does. That was a poignant note in this story. An interesting touch was that Rapunzel's hair grows continually, and she experiences very rapid growth spurts of her hair under strong emotion.
Sep 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic
Rapunzel fights dirt. In a boxing ring, my money is on her.

Once again, the series changed the Disney image I had of a princess. This time Rapunzel isn't only a survivor, but an entrepreneur who sells hair extensions for a living. But behind that peaceful exterior, Rapunzel suffers. Her newborn babies were stolen from her and she cannot miss an opportunity to find them, even if it means risky her life.

The action was fast-paced, introducing a change of scenery as we traveled with her to Japan.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
That was a creepy mess.
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
This 2nd installment of 'Fairest', a spin-off from 'Fables', gives us some history on Rapunzel. She of the hair has more of a past - and more skeletons in her closet - than you might expect.

I like the concept of this series - to give us some backstory of the ladies fair that we don't get in the main series because they aren't really part of the larger arc, per se, though there's a part of me which wonders why the ladies story can't be fit into the wider world and why they need to be shunted to
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: american-indies
As expected, this doesn't nearly enough reach the quality of the main series. Altough Fairest #1-7 on the first tpb was a decent Briar Rose story, on the second one "The Hidden Kingdom" the lack of talent narrative is evident and Willingham's style of story-telling is missed. And I was so hyped for the moment Japanese myths and legends would be implemented in the universe, although not in so poor a manner. Seems like a waste Japan was used so offhandedly when it could produce at least 2-3 main ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, fantasy
The Hidden Kingdom was quite good. I am always a fan of any story, fantasy or sci-fi, that can create an interesting world. The story of a second group of Fables who fled to Tokyo and set up their own version of Fabletown was different.

The Rapunzel aspect of the story was certainly different. The cast of characters, heavily influenced by Japanese lore, and their relationships are told in a past and present narrative. Without being spoilery, Rapunzel finds out that her twin children are alive.
Ed Erwin
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, fantasy
The art gets 5 stars. The story, though, just isn't my cuppa' tea.

Donated to me by a friend. Since I haven't read other parts of "Fairest" or "Fables", I'm sure I missed some stuff. Also I didn't understand many of the references to things from Japanese culture.
Ari Eris
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh-ho, look what jumped up into my hands just a week after finishing Fairest, Vol. 1: Wide Awake! I'm unexpectedly up-to-date with the graphic novels, $15 short on my rent, and very excited about how much I enjoyed Fairest, Vol. 2: Hidden Kingdom.

The heroine of this volume is Rapunzel, or - if you're an aficionado of Japanese rather than European folktales - Okiku, the doomed servant of the Banchou Sarayashiki (The Dish Mansion of Banchou). Lauren Beukes, who wrote this installment, did a clever
Wing Kee
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fun setting, highly entertaining and surprising take on a character that is hindered a bit by bad pacing at the tail end (intended spelling) of the tale.

Rapunzel has always been one of those background characters in fables that I wished had more story time, well my prayers are answered and this tale is all Rapunzel. It is both interesting and at the same time frustrating due to the setting, pacing and the story:

World: It's Japan, Rapunzel went to Japan? Apparently so, and for the most part the
The story was good and the art by Inaki Miranda was great. Miranda got the familiar characters like Frau Tottenkinder exactly right, something no other guest artist has done. And the other art is fantastic, it's a real pleasure to see all of the detailed and gorgeous panels. The little story at the end was fine, it wouldn't have mattered to me if it wasn't there, but it was kind of cute with a dark twist at the end. I'm seriously not into the covers though. I am not now or will ever be a fan of ...more
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read interview of Lauren Beukes and got immediately interested in her work. Started reading one of her shortstories and was completely sold after few pages (she reminds me of William Gibson in a very good way). Since I heard she also writes comicbooks I just had to pick up "Fairest". So Lauren Beukes (writer of vol.2) was the reason I started from vol.1 which was quite a disappointment.

Good thing that vol.2 "The Hidden Kingdom" is very much better storywise than vol.1 "Wide Awake".

Story is
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
I thought this volume was a lot stronger than Fairest, Vol 1: Wide Awake but it was still lacking something. I liked the characters and their motivations but I was expecting more. I think part of the problem is that each story/character is contained to ONE graphic novel and there isn't as much time to expand upon a story line as I would like so it feels rushed and compact rather than explained fully. I will be continuing with the series though because I love love love it.

Books and Ladders |
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: completed-series
This was a good story and good art in the tradition of the Fables series (where it spins off from), but I found it somewhat incomprehensible at points. Perhaps it was the tie-ins to Japanese folklore (of which I am ignorant) or asides to build plot, or rapid shifts into and out of flashbacks, but I was lost at several points, and I know this tale could have been so much better with a little more inclusiveness for the audience (a skill at which Mr. Willingham excels, without talking down).
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's almost a truism of Vertigo books, by this point, that the first collection of stories is the series finding its feet, and volume 2 is where things really take off. That's definitely the case with Fairest - Lauren Beukes takes over from Willingham, and treats us to a story of Japanese mythology, and of Rapunzel's past catching up with her. I'm not an expert on the mythology of Japan, so there were times I was running to Wikipedia, but that was only for the in-depth stuff - the basics of the ...more
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This started as a disappointing three stars for me. All the sly asides to Japanese culture and manga just didn't fit with my conception of Rapunzel. And yes, I read the story. I realize that they came up with an explanation of how she ended up in the Hidden Kingdom of Japanese Fables. I just didn't see a reason for it beyond wanting to introduce some Japanese folk tales to the Fables universe, and maybe wanting to give the book an edge.

But in the second half of the story the plot takes a turn
Nov 08, 2015 rated it liked it
"Fairest" is a spin-off series from "Fables", and each volume follows one of the principal female characters from that series. The creators delight in combining diverse characters from different tales. So in volume 1 it was Briar Rose, AKA Sleeping Beauty and her encounters with Ali Baba and the Snow Queen.

Volume 2 follows Rapunzel and her adventures in both feudal and present day Japan(!). So there are a host of Japanese characters that I was not familiar with, along with some of our favorites
The London Bookworm
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
After the brilliance of the first volume this one left me feeling a bit, off. I was expecting quite a lot and I guess I thought it would continue with the same characters which in part it did. It was still good and interesting and I loved the move to Japan but I just wasn't as interested in the story, too many flash backs I think. I preferred the grittiness of the first, however I still enjoyed it enough to read the next one.
Momo Lambkin
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best cross-over fairy tales that I have read, both in terms of depth of story and visual story-telling. Out of the entire Fables series so far, this is a well crafted issue that can stand on its own without you having read the other ones. I especially love the incorporation of Japanese fables without hitting you over the head and over explaining things. Highly recommended.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this volume better than the previous one simply because it was significantly less sexist and the plot actually stayed on Rapunzel the entire time with a really cool plot that was definitely dark. I am actually invested in this storyline I think.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was the best FABLES tale in AGES!!!!!!! I loved the trip to Japan, the Tokyo illustrations, the Japanese demons, all of it. Rapunzel was amazing! SO GOOD.
Nov 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Japanese setting makes for a less interesting story to me. Far to many characters and tropes I am unfamiliar with.
'kris Pung
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This one was much darker then the other Fables stuff I've read but I really enjoyed "The Ring" like feel to it and who knew Rapunzel was AC/DC.
3 stars - Review to come

I enjoyed the story of The Hidden Kingdom a lot more than I did the previous volume, Wide Awake, but it still gets three stars from me because I’ve become a much harder marker since then. It avoided a lot of the things I complained about in Wide AwakeThe Hidden Kingdom is written by a woman (Bill Willingham is credited as ‘consultant’) and Rapunzel is very much the lead character, she has her own agency, and her presentation isn’t filtered to us (too much) through the
J.M. Hushour
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Fairest" is a dumping ground for random, sporadic characters (well, the female ones, anyway) that "Fables" forgot about. This one focuses on Rapunzel who cuts her hair every three hours and subsists on the profits she makes selling it to wig-makers or something like that, and it's actually a refreshingly cool story, way better than later "Fables" story arcs. Turns out Rapunzel's kids were stolen as infants and she'd very much, centuries later, like them back. Turns out that before the Adversary ...more
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Though the plot wasn't bland it at times felt like someone else's story that the authors tried to forcefully adapt into the Fables world. Some of the bigger, primary questions were never answered. At least not answered resolutely. The introduction of Japanese Fables was interesting (it took us 10 years to tap that well?), however I don't feel like there was much of an introduction. The Arabian Fables got an excellently crafted introductory story arc in Fables, Vol. 7: Arabian Nights. The ...more
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Lauren Beukes is an award-winning, best-selling novelist who also writes screenplays, TV shows, comics and journalism. Her books have been translated into 26 languages and have been optioned for film and TV.

Her awards include the Arthur C Clarke Award, the prestigious University of Johannesburg prize, the August Derleth Prize, the Strand Critics Choice Award and the RT Thriller of the Year. She’s

Other books in the series

Fairest (Collected Editions) (6 books)
  • Fairest, Volume 1: Wide Awake
  • Fairest, Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja
  • Fairest, Volume 4: Of Men and Mice
  • Fairest, Volume 5: The Clamour for Glamour
  • Fairest: In All the Land