I have fallen in love with the Fables series of graphic novels. How could anyone not love the fairy tale twisted subversive dark delightful funny stories that Fables tells? Imagine all your favourite fairy tale characters together, along with mythic creatures, witches, ogres, gods and goddesses, and then imagine worlds upon worlds of fairy tale tellings to plunder. There is something so marvellous about this series, it's got so much going on in it, and it's fun and scary and funny. Beauty is married to Bigby, otherwise known as the Beast. Rose Red and Snow White, Prince Charming, King Cole, Pinocchio.....and these are adult fairy tales, mind. So naked fairies abound, plus dark sorcery, spells and enchantments. And the funniest look at politics and trying to hold a city, a haven and a farm together. I love the mix of the stories, of all these characters together.
Rose Red is about - Rose Red. Remember the fairy tale Rose Red and Snow White? Well, Snow is happily married to her Prince, but Rose Red is lying in misery on her bed, sulking because she has never forgiven Snow White for disappearing and marrying the Big Bad Wolf (Bigby). We get the full story of Rose Red and Snow White growing up in their cottage, of the bear who comes to stay in winter nights, of the dwarf who Snow White saves three times, only to discover that he is a thief and is stealing magical items. To evade his curse she is sent away, and so we get to see the real story of the 7 dwarves, and how Rose Red copes with her sister's death, and then discovery it was faked. Rose Red is about Rose discovering the full truth at long last, because Fable Town is in danger from Death. See? I told you it was dark and magical and good.
I had borrowed this copy from the library, and last month I had borrowed a copy of Witches, the book in the series preceeding Rose Red. My original review is here.
Witches is the story of how Death was once captured, as the great mythic powers are wreaking havoc on many different worlds, slaying and laying waste to people in such great numbers (just because they can), that a group of monks decide to devote their lives to capturing them. Witches features Buffkin the talking monkey, who along with a group of fairies, saves the day. They stop Baba Yaga, the witch of the title, who complete with her walking house, has a plan to get out of the central land she is in, and make her way through all the worlds. The other great power causing havoc is Death. He is creepy and scary, very reminiscent of the gentleman from Buffy the Vampire episode from Season 4. He makes people turn into zombies just by being near him. He is a creature of nightmare. And so powerful that even in the box he was captured in, his power leaked out and tainted whoever came near him. Witches ends with the end of Baba Yaga, and Death moving into New York City.
The artwork in these graphic novels is stunning. I'd like to frame so many of the pages! The dialogue is uncanny, in that each character is captured in speech rhythms and use of words. The characters are true to their original sources,even if the stories they find themselves in are adult now. It's like a continuation of their original stories, told for grown-ups. I can't rate this series highly enough. If you haven't tried Fables yet, try one.
I think of all the ones I've read so far, Rose Red might be my favourite. It could be that it features the bear in the woods, the dwarf with the stolen treasure - I loved seeing that fairy tale again here; it could be that we see what realistically happens between Rose Red and Snow White, and how they finally come together again as sisters, or just that we see Rose Red finally get out of her bed and reclaim her place as mayor of the Farm. I think it might be all of those, and the love story that is in the background too. Oh, and Beauty and the Beast's baby - you have go to see what happens!!
I read Rose Red for Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge. I think I will be looking for a copy for myself, for my upcoming birthday. I like it that much.