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Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 7)

The secret mission Bigby carried out in the last volume has had a devastating effect on the Adversary’s regime in the Homelands. The enchanted forest, from which Geppetto was carving the wooden soldiers, has been destroyed. A council is called to decide how to strike back against Fabletown. It could end in all-out war. Meanwhile, back in New York, Mayor Charming has a lot on his plate. Poor Flycatcher has turned back into a frog, but they can’t figure out why. Not that they have time anyway, as they’re entertaining an emissary from the Homelands – the villainous Hansel. Charming and Beast are watching his every move. Up in Wolf Valley, near the Farm, Snow and Bigby’s cubs are growing up big and strong. They’re learning to control their powers, but as they turn five, are they ready to keep a big secret?

As always, the world of the Fables is widening with every volume. The tensions between Fabletown and the Homelands are coming to a head, and I’m very anxious to see how everything turns out! It’s also really been fun to watch the cubs grow up – they’re so adorable! The art tends to go really cartoony when the cubs are involved, and a little more realistic when serious stuff is going down, which is a great visual touch. Bonus stories in this volume include a few short comics about different Fables we haven’t seen before, and a whole issue dedicated to answering fan questions, which was really fun! Looking forward to the next volume, as per us ❤

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Michael Allred, and Aaron Alexovich. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 7). 2013.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 6)

Bigby’s left Fabletown, and he doesn’t want to be found. Mowgli has been sent by Mayor Charming to track him down. It proves difficult, but Mowgli has an edge on anyone else who might be looking: he can communicate with wolves. When the jungle boy finally catches up, will he impress upon Bigby how badly he’s needed back in Fabletown, or will the big bad wolf bite his head off? Bigby is torn. There is an important mission waiting for him upon his return to Fabletown, but there is also the dilemma of Snow White and their children… will she want to see him again?

Though Fabletown was interesting enough the last few volumes without him, I did miss having Bigby around and I’m glad he’s back. Don’t want to give too much away, but if you ship Bigby and Snow as much as I do, this volume will make you very happy ;D There is also a short story at the end about Cinderella, which was really fun. She does espionage for Fabletown and it was fun to see her work! The art is beautiful as always, and the covers are phenomenal. It’s been a while since my review of the last book, but as much as I love this series I’m really making an effort to go slow. I don’t wanna rush!!!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Steve Leialoha, Jim Fern, and Shawn McManus. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book 6). 2012.

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite “Unlikeable” Protagonists

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week the prompt is about “unlikeable” protagonists. So I’m going to share the ones I pulled for!

Negan from The Walking Dead

I love this villain! He is complex, and shows brief moments of compassion and insight, but then rips your heart out with his brutality. I hated the Governor and his over the top inhumanity, while Negan is more believable. I am snatching up the book about his past when it comes out in October.

Amy Dunne from Gone Girl

Amy is twisted. She and Nick are so outrageously dysfunctional, and what she did and all the planning that must have gone into it were awesome. The twists at the end were unexpected, and while I had a bit of sympathy for Nick, he kind of deserves it. I’ve thought about what their future holds, and the child they will raise.

Gertrude from I Hate Fairyland

Gert is a foul-mouthed violent sociopath that you will think of fondly. Skottie Young’s distinctive style will make you laugh and root for a girl who will shank you if you look at her sideways.

Jack from the Fables series

Jack the Giant Killer, Little Jack Horner, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, and Jack O’Lantern…these are all names that Jack of Fables is known by. Here’s another name- a$$hole, but yet you’ll be rooting for him to escape Fabletown.

Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender

I loved watching Avatar with my kids when it was on Nickelodeon. Zuko was the classic  misunderstood anti-hero who just needed someone to love and understand him in order for him to change. I enjoyed his redemption at the end, and how he and Aang were able to end the terrible reign of the evil Fire Lord together.

Rooting for the underdog can be fun, for often these characters are more complex than the typical (and sometimes boring) hero. Who would you pick?

-Nancy

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 5

Oh boy. This volume was just jam-packed full of goodies >:D

Want to know what Jack’s been up to since he’s disappeared from Fabletown? The answer is here! We also journey back to the Homelands and follow a mysterious man in a blue cloak as he tries to uncover various aspects of the Adversary’s tyranny… and is on a personal quest, as well. And none other than Mowgli and the Arabian fables turn up at the front gate of the Woodlands, causing some hilarious miscommunications and interactions.

There are so many new layers to this story every time I pick up a new book, and it’s so exciting! The world of the Fables expands and deepens with each volume. True characters are revealed in this volume, some heartbreaking and some triumphant. The addition of the Arabian Fables may be my favorite so far!

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, David Hahn, and Lan Medina. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 5. 2012.

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 4

This volume felt quite a bit thicker than the last few! XD There was lots of good stuff jam-packed in here~

First, we get a look at Bigby’s involvement in World War II. The Dog Company is sent on a special mission: Operation Chambermaid, that was so secret it was never put on record. They are dropped somewhere in Germany, where meet their contact, Bigby Wolf, who guides them to their target: a castle where the Germans are performing secret experiments to create monsters.

Back in the present day, Snow gives birth to not just one, but six healthy babies. Unfortunately, due to their hybrid human/wolf appearance, Snow will have to move to the Farm to raise them – and Bigby isn’t allowed there. The first election Fabletown has had for centuries has been decided – Prince Charming is the new mayor, and he has a lot of promises to keep. Snow and Bigby hand off their jobs to Beauty and Beast, but after that… Snow goes to the Farm, Bigby runs off, and Fabletown gets a lot more interesting under their new management.

What follows is the 1001 Nights of Snowfall arc, in which Snow White arrives at the Sultan’s palace in a far corner of the Mundy world as an emissary. The Sultan will not see her, though when he finally does, he explains why. He marries a different girl each night, only to kill her the next morning. As soon as Snow stepped into his chamber, she became his next bride – and victim. The only way she will live to see the dawn is to distract him, and she chooses to tell him a story from the Homelands. And another, and another, every night, until he changes his mind and lets her go.

The 1001 Nights was my favorite arc by far. I’m a sucker for Middle Eastern folklore and fairy tales. It is also written in equal parts like a book and graphic novel. The parts where Snow and the Sultan meet are written like a book, with illustrations throughout, and Snow’s stories are told in graphic novel format. The stories vary in subject matter and in artist, and again, the art is beautifully suited for each story. There’s a lot in this volume for all kinds of readers and that will delight fans.

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Steve Leialoha, Tony Akins, and Jimmy Palmiotti. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 4. 2012.

Jack of Fables: The (Nearly) Great Escape

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Willingham, Bill, Matthew Sturges, Tony Akins & Andrew Pepoy. Jack of Fables. 2007.

Jack the Giant Killer, Little Jack Horner, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, and Jack O’Lantern…these are all names that Jack of Fables is known by.  As his shirt on the front cover says, ensemble books are for losers, so he now fronts his own story upon his escape from Fabletown. Kathleen has had only good things to say about the Fables books (Books: One, Two, Three, Four), so paired with me taking a class on YA Fairy Tale Fantasy and Popular Media at Dominican, this book was right up my alley (heads up: be prepared to see several fairy tale graphic novels reviewed in the next month or so). I have to read three books a week for this class, so if I can find a graphic novel adaptation, I will use it for both the class and this blog! 😉

For lack of a better term, Jack is a complete a$$hole. He thinks of himself as a charming trickster, and while he can hoodwink some, I found his bad-boy persona grating. Never a fan of playboys both in real life and in books I found Jack self centered, arrogant and insufferable. But, this book was fun for it’s sly mixing and matching of fairy tale characters.

Although I have not read the previous Fables books, this story is able to bring readers up to speed as to Jack’s banishment from Fabletown and what he did in the meantime before this book starts. His time in the real world is brought to a close and he is apprehended by a secret society and sent to the Golden Boughs Retirement Community, where fable characters are kept until they pass out of memory in the human world.

We meet a host of little known nursery rhyme  and lesser known fairy tale characters, including my favorite, Sam. I won’t reveal who he is (once I figured it out my mind was blown) or who else populates this book, for my biggest pleasure was figuring out who was who. Jack desperately wants to escape and enlists the help of one other crossover fable from the previous book, Goldilocks. Her story, and her relationship with Jack, is dysfunctional, but the two of them manage to put together a plan of escape.

The (nearly) great escape scenes were great and set up story lines for the future. While no fan of Jack, I will want to eventually read the continuing series. The artwork was great, and I cared for many of the supporting cast, so I want to see how these fables fare in the Mundy (mundane) world!

-Nancy

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 3

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Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Tony Akins, and Jimmy Palmiotti. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 3. 2011.

Spring is finally arriving in New York. However, a storm is coming for Fabletown – one no one is sure they’ll survive. A spy has been uncovered by a covert agent of Bigby’s. They have been smuggling information about Fabletown’s defenses and provisions back to the Homelands, to the Adversary himself. This operation has been completely hush-hush, but it would have been forgotten anyway, with the miraculous return of a Fable from the Homelands. No one has ever escaped the Homelands since the Exodus. Around the same time, strangers in black suits and sunglasses have shown up, gathering weapons… could they be related? Could the last refuge of the Fables become their burial ground after all these years?

The first issue especially refers back to TWAU and ties up some loose ends the game left. This volume was particularly riveting: first we get some spy work, then a miraculous return laced with mistrust, and an epic battle. There is a beautiful two-page spread of the battleground. The artists did a fantastic job with both the battle shots, and with the dynamic panel layouts to keep the action moving. I’m as enthralled as ever.

– Kathleen

Also read: Book One & Book Two

Best Reads of 2016

So many good reads this year- some brand new series, or some that were new to us! This also marks a year that we have been blogging- as we created this blog for a school project we were working on in November 2015 and truly started adding content in December and early January. It has been quite a fun journey, and a lesson in time management to meet our (self-imposed) deadlines of posting! We’ve made friends with other bloggers, and found our tribe at WordPress!

We are connecting our best books of the year with a meme we are trying for the first time- Hype or Like Friday that we discovered on Goodreads. This meme was created by Jillian, Larkin and Britt who are book bloggers that want to share their opinions about overly hyped books.

locke-and-key-series

Nancy: My reading highlight was the Locke & Key series, written by Joe Hill and beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. Such an epic story- it had complex characters, moral dilemmas, a malevolent evil and an atmospheric setting that sucks you in.

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Kathleen: My favorite thing that I started reading this year was Fables (Vol. 1 of the Deluxe Edition). Timeless fairy tale figures living in modern New York City – what more could you ask for? The characterization is excellent, the plot twisting and riveting, and though I don’t normally like the art to vary too much, they really pick artists who fit the style of the story at any given time. Absolutely a must-read.

 

Revival

Nancy: Another series that I found outstanding was Revival, written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Mike Norton.  It was an atypical living dead story, in which a handful of dead suddenly came back to life. They quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. Seven of the planned eight volumes are out, and I eagerly look forward to the finale of the series early next year.

 

61kihhzxy3l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Kathleen: George Perez’s Wonder Woman (review coming soon!) is the acclaimed 1980’s reboot of your favorite heroine. It’s a great origin story for first-time readers of Wonder Woman, as it’s easy to follow and heavily borrows the mythology from her Greek roots, which is always fascinating. The art is richly detailed, colorful, and full of light, as befitting the Amazon princess. Plus, cheesy ’80s dialogue galore! =P

 

 

 

The Outside Circle

Nancy: The Outside Circle, written by Patti LaBoucane-Benson and illustrated by Kelly Mellings,  tells the fictional tale of a Canadian First Nations man that comes to terms with his heritage and who begins to take responsibility for his life. The story is based on the reality that many Native people face (in Canada and the US), for the government took away thousands of children from their families over the years, breaking the circles of community and fragmenting generations of people with no connection to their tribe anymore.

 

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Kathleen: Seconds is not your typical coming-of-age story. Yeah, Katie is a 20-something who struggles with owning her own business, making friends, and with letting go of her ex… but she also gets a rare opportunity to start over by eating a magic mushroom. Soon, she starts eating one every night, but the more she tries to fix, the more she messes up. And the more she makes the house spirit angry with her. Rounded forms and warm colors belie the serious message within.

 

 

Kingdom Come

Nancy: Kingdom Come, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross was praised by IGN with the statement, “One of the greatest comic book stories of all time”, and they were not far off the mark. I am typically more a Marvel fan, but this DC story was fantastic for the moralistic debate storyline. The artwork is top-notch, with a distinctive photo-realism look and holds up 20 years after first being published. This book stays true to each character’s back story, so kudos to the team’s familiarity with the history of all the superheroes!  As such, the Epilogue was a perfect ending.

 

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Kathleen: High-fantasy readers, rejoice, for there is a comic out there just for you. Kurt Busiek’s The Autumnlands takes us to a world where animals speak, weave magic, and build cities in the sky. When their magic starts disappearing, the collective of wizards casts one last spell to bring a savior to their world – but the cost is too great, sending their city plummeting to the plains below. Can they survive what horrors await them in the night? Can their champion really save them? Features gorgeous, richly detailed art and beautiful writing.

 

 

invincibleNancy: The book Invincible took me by surprise this year, for it is overshadowed by writer Robert Kirkman’s more well-known project (The Walking Dead) but I felt the world-building in this one volume was as strong as DC & Marvel’s superhero worlds. We meet Mark, a new superhero, who is the son of Omni-Man. Later his world is turned upside down, with a twist that will surprise you, and his life changes forever with this new knowledge. This new development is a game-changer and sets up endless stories for the future. Sadly, this series is drawing to a close soon, but I will enjoy binge-reading the rest of the books soon.

 

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Kathleen: My last one was a toss-up between Birds of Prey and Bombshells… and Birds of Prey won. I know! Strike me down where I stand!!! They both feature a wide and varied cast of female superheroes, which I love, but Birds of Prey has the core three whom you can’t help rooting for. It has been wonderful to see how Barbara, Dinah, and Helena come together and become a family despite their differences. Exotic locales, action-packed stories, and hilarious dialogue have made this series near and dear to my heart.

 

There you have it – our ten best books/series of 2016. Thank you for all the support, comments, and friendship that you’ve all given us. We are so happy to have you all with us =D Happy holidays!!! ❤

– Nancy & Kathleen

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Volume 2

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Willingham, Bill, Lan Medina, Craig Hamilton, Bryan Talbot, Linda Medley, Steve Leialoha, and P. Craig Russell. Fables: The Deluxe Edition (Book Two). 2010.

Honestly I can’t read these fast enough!!! XD The first half of the book had the entire last half of the first book, which I thought was strange. Since I’d read it, I skipped ahead.

After the incident at the Farm, Rose Red is running it, and Snow White is recovering nicely from her injury. Goldilocks has escaped, but no one can find her. Turns out she’s shacking up with Bluebeard, and they can’t risk anyone finding out. Bluebeard puts Snow and Bigby under a spell and gives them instructions. They wake up in a tent the middle of nowhere, not knowing where they are or how they got there. They set off to find civilization, but something – or someone – is stalking them…

After the Storybook Love arc, the story continues with little oneshots of different Fable stories. It’s really fun to see how things are rearranged and different Fables interact. At the end there was even the written story of the first time Snow and Bigby met, complete with black and white illustrations that look like woodcuts.

This volume gave a little more insight into Bigby and Snow’s relationship, especially before the Fables relocated to the Mundy world. It also explains why Bigby smokes so much, if you played TWAU and were curious about it =P I normally don’t like when too many artists work in the same book, but in this instance, it works. I think they did a really good job of picking artists whose style reflects the particular arc or story they’re working on. Can’t wait for more!

– Kathleen

Also read: Book One & Book Three

 

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