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Bill Willingham & Lauren Beukes – Fables: Fairest, Vol. 2: The Hidden Kingdom

October 7, 2013

77. The Hidden Kingdom by Bill Willingham, Lauren Beukes, Inaki Miranda, Barry Kitson (2013)
Fables spin-off, Fairest, Volume 2

Length: 160 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Started / Finished: 23 September 2013

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? More Fables!

When you’re Rapunzel,
your hair today may not all
be gone tomorrow.

Summary: The Hidden Kingdom is Rapunzel’s tale, set at some point before the first volume of Fables. Rapunzel’s hair grows four inches an hour, faster if she’s upset, which she certainly is when she’s attacked by a flock of origami cranes bearing the message “Your children.” She’s spent ages hunting her babies, stolen at birth by the midwife (which she believes was Frau Totenkinder in disguise). Now someone in the Hidden Kingdom – Japan’s version of Fabletown – knows where they are, but in order to go there, Rapunzel’s going to have to confront another part of her past from before the Adversary drove the Fables out of the Homelands – one that ended badly for everyone involved, and Fables tend to have long memories about these sorts of things.

Review: I can’t tell if this volume was too busy and too all over the place, or just too busy and too all over the place to suit me. To explain: I am not a Japanophile. I don’t actively avoid things related to Japanese culture, but I don’t seek them out, either. So I tend to find a lot of it confusing, often overwhelmingly so. And this comic was kind of overwhelming, both visually (take the stereotypical crowded modern Tokyo street scene and apply that same sensibility to almost every panel), and in terms of the storylines. There were stories from at least three separate timelines being told all at once, and somehow they weren’t delineated in such a way that I could follow the shifts easily. I also found that the structure made it difficult to connect emotionally with any of the characters, or their relationships to each other. Overall, while it was nice to step back in time to the early days of Fables, this particular installment didn’t do much for me. 3 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I didn’t love it, but again, this may be entirely me; people more familiar with Japanese mythology will likely have a much better time of it than I did.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Couldn’t find any. Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The past is a dead dog.

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