Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel

Yesterday dealt with the outside of the Fables issues and books. Today we are dealing with the content of Bill Willingham's 2009 novel release, Peter & Max. For the second day in a row the comic of the day isn't really a comic.

Peter & Max is Willingham's novel which takes place in between events that are going on in the Fables comic book series. The novel uses the same Fables world and characters already created by Willingham. At first thought, many potential readers may be turned off by the idea of a book based in a comic world they know nothing about. Fortunately, as Willingham explains in the beginning of the tale, readers do not have to know anything relevant when picking up this book. Everything the reader needs to know and understand is laid out in the novel. A non-comic book fan can, and will, enjoy this book. With that said, if you are aware of Fables characters, and even read the comic books, you experience with the novel may be more enjoyable. It is the same as watching an X-Men movie and not reading the comics. The movie will explain all you need to know for the story to make sense and be enjoyable (that sentence applies to "X-Men 2" only).

In a very small nutshell, Peter & Max is a story about two brothers who head down two very different paths. Max, the older brother, starts to build a jealousy towards Peter that hits a very dark tipping point. The story follows the lengths which brothers will go to to survive and get what they want. The story covers many emotions including joy, fear, and anger. At times the story is surprisingly dark and twisted. At some points in the book I could not believe the direction Willingham took his novel.

Willingham's Peter & Max is a very difficult novel to peg. It would almost be an all ages read if it wasn't for some scenes of passion which are quite shocking and appropriately crude. The style of writing is not advanced making the book read very quickly. Sentences do not use incredibly difficult terms nor do the run on in endless flowery detail. It really feels like a person whom primarily writes comics wrote this book.

The story is very enjoyable. Willingham's story structure reads like a "Lost" episode. As you continue down the trail of the plot, Willingham tells past tales which place you into the minds of the characters that help explain their situation. You grow to know each character by following their individual journeys. Oh, and no smoke monsters.

1 comment:

Shane Houghton said...

Guess what I started reading last night...