April 28, 2009

Fables: Legends in Exile

I checked out Fables: Legends in Exile at the recommendation of WhatACard. As you all know, I tend to read far and wide, but I had not yet dipped in the graphic novel pool (is that mixing metaphors? if so, sorry).

I eagerly picked up this book because I am always interested in new takes on classic stories/characters/themes. The Fables series is based on the premise that fairy tale characters are exiled in New York. There is an underground community there, because they have to keep their true identities a secret. The plot of this one focuses on the myster of Rose Red's apparent death.

To be frank, I wasn't impressed. With a graphic novel, almost all the writing is done through dialogue, and the dialogue is poor. The plot and drawing is all fine, I guess, but in my opinion (as if the rest of the review isn't), a book--even if it's a graphic novel--is only as good as its writing. The most creative idea can be ruined by poor word choice, unpicturesque language, or wooden dialogue (though I wouldn't go so far as to say the dialogue in this case was wooden, just uninspiring).

With that, I wouldn't recommend this to someone unless they're already a fan of graphic novels, and if that's the case, they've surely already heard of it anyway, so there's no need.


  1. That's really too bad you didn't enjoy this. This is one of my favourite series and I just cannot get enough of it. Then again I'm a little surprised this something would be recommended for you first experience with a graphic novel. I would suggest you give Maus I a chance, it's a great story about the author's father's experiences in the Second World War. And I would say it's a little more inspiring than Fables.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Oh dear, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it, though I'm glad you gave it a go. It's not my favorite graphic novel, either (thatsthebook, I recommended it as a lighter, fun choice way outside of the normal stuff Ronnica reads), though I do enjoy the series quite a bit. I'll have to reread it...I was actually quite captured by the story of Fables. I wonder if it's different having to wait a month between "chapters" like I did! Maybe I was just so caught up in finally getting to read the next installment that I overlooked any writing weaknesses :)

    Along the lines of more serious graphic novels, I'd also recommend Persepolis, which is a memoir of the author's experience growing up in Iran in the 70's. Completely different than Fables (is it terrible I more enjoy the lightness of Fables? ;)


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