Review: Peter and Max, Bill Willingham

I won Peter and Max from Cecelia of adventures of cecelia bedelia – thank you!  I was having a terrible day, and when I got home I had not one, BUT TWO packages on my doorstep.  One was Peter and Max, and the other was a package of two books and a bookmark from Jeane.  It was amazing.  It caused my day to stop being terrible, and be awesome instead.  (True story.)

If you haven’t read Fables, you should really do that.  In fact, go do that now, and when you have finished, you may come back and we can discuss how we are going to cast the television show they will eventually make of this graphic novel series.  I already have cast most of the parts in my head, but I am not satisfied with some of them, and I am willing to negotiate.  (Don’t you wish the lovely and talented Enver Gjokaj were taller?)

Peter and Max is a prose story, with occasional illustrations by Steve Leialoha, about Peter Piper and his brother, Max, who you pretty quickly figure out is the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  The story goes between the past, exploring Max and Peter’s relationship and Max’s descent into evil, and the present, as Peter tries to find and stop Max.  There are rats and thieves, and (spoiler, sort of!) Bo Peep is an assassin, and the pipes fight, which is cooler than it sounds.

When, about twenty pages in, I flipped back and read the end, and I thought: Well, that’s going to be an anticlimax.  All the build-up to the Final Battle Against Max and it’s not – let’s just say it’s not quite as Gandalf-and-the-Balrog-or-Harry-and-Voldemort-epic as maybe I was expecting from how scared everyone sounded about Max being back in town.  However, when I read through the book, and got to it properly, I found it was not an anticlimax at all.  Action-wise, I was right, it’s anticlimactic; but as far as the emotional journey of the book goes, I think it works just perfectly.

I think if I had to pick one thing about the Fables series that I do not love, it’s how everybody acts tough all the time.  I mean everybody acts tough, every single character, which I guess you are meant to put down to their all having lived so long?  But when I read the dialogue – and it’s more noticeable in a novel than in the comics – the characters all sound a bit the same.  I liked Peter and Max, but the flaws of the comics were present in the novel, and in the novel they jumped out at me more.  I suppose because I didn’t have the pretty drawings to distract me?

Other reviews:

adventures of cecelia bedelia (thanks again!!)
Stainless Steel Droppings
Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
The Written World
with Tales of a Capricious Reader
Largehearted Boy

Tell me if I missed yours!