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Graphic Novel Twofer: Fairest, Vol. 3: Return of the Maharaja / Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

August 26, 2014

69. Fairest, Vol. 3: Return of the Maharaja by Sean E. Williams, Stephen Sadowski, Phil Jimenez (series created by Bill Willingham) (2014)
Fables: Fairest, Volume 3

Read my review of volume:
1. Wide Awake
2. The Hidden Kingdom

Length: 144 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Started/Finished: 16 August 2014

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I’m always on the hook for new Fables or Fables-adjacent books.

Summary: Nalayani’s village is in trouble. All of the men left to fight the Emperor’s forces and never returned, and now it has been repeatedly attacked and destroyed by packs of wild dholes. So Nalayani travels to beg aid of the new maharaja. But when she arrives at his palace, she finds someone who is not at all what she expected, someone from far away, and someone quite familiar to the regular inhabitants of Fabletown… Prince Charming! He agrees to help, but they both will face many dangers along the way.

Review: On its own terms, this installment was interesting, and fun to read. Nalayani is a capable and intelligent (if occasionally improbably boob-tacular) main character, and she does just as much rescuing as getting rescued, which I appreciate. It was interesting to see Prince Charming in a completely different situation, although he seemed somewhat different than he has in previous incarnations, even within the Fables universe, and I’m not sure how much of that difference is attributable to what’s happened to him in the intervening time, and how much is due to the change in authors. But what I liked least about this volume is that it’s not based on a story I’m familiar with, and that made it harder to get a handle on it, both as a story and in terms of its place in the Fairest series. My understanding from the previous two volumes of Fairest was that this was a spin-off series, meant for telling the stories of other Fables that were tangential to the central Fables arc. I admittedly haven’t read much (any?) Indian folklore, so I’m not sure if Nalayani is drawn from folklore or made up for this volume, but since my favorite part of the series is seeing the new spin the authors put on familiar characters, so either way, this one sort of lost out. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: All of the mentions of the Emperor and the war, and Prince Charming’s history from the main Fables series isn’t recapped here, so that will likely go over a newbie’s head, but otherwise, this story works fairly independently… it’s not the best in the series (either Fairest or Fables), though, so, I’d pick up the others first.

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

First Line: “Where shall I begin, sahib?”

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

71. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs and Cassandra Jean (2013)
Miss Peregrine, Graphic Novel 1

Length: 272 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Started/Finished: 19 August 2014

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Spotted it while I was browsing.

Summary: Since this is the graphic novelization of the book of the same name, I’m going to use the same summary:

When Jacob was little, his grandfather would always tell him stories. Stories about the mysterious house in which he grew up, a house on an island in Wales, a house that was full of children with strange powers – a boy who was immensely strong, a girl with a second mouth in the back of her head, an invisible boy, a girl whose feet never touched the ground – children who are pictured in a series of incredible photographs, children who were hiding at this house because it was the only place where they could be safe from the monsters. As Jacob grew up, he dismissed his grandfather’s photographs as trickery and his stories as mere fairy tales, but when he finds his grandfather dead in the woods behind his Florida home – and sees something impossible and monstrous fleeing the scene – he begins to wonder. His parents and his therapist think that he’s suffered a mental break, but he convinces them to let him travel to Wales, to hopefully find out the truth beyond his grandfather’s cryptic last words once and for all. But what Jacob finds on Cairnholm Island makes him wonder if his grandfather might not have been making up his stories after all… but if that’s the case, then Jacob may have just put himself in mortal danger.

Review: This is one of the first graphic novelizations of a prose novel that I’ve ever read, and I can see the thought process that went into it. The original novel of Miss Peregrine’s relies heavily on found photographs to help tell and build its story, so it’s already a combination of words and images – why not take the next step and make it entirely a graphic novel? But I have to say, I don’t think it worked as well as intended. By making the photographs – many of which are included among the panels as photos, but some of which are incorporated as drawings, and some of which are omitted – just one image among many on the page, they lose a lot of their specialness and their power. One of the things I liked best about the original book was how the photos gave the story weight and made it feel like it could be real, and that feeling was totally lost for me in the graphic novel form. Also, although liked seeing the artist’s interpretation of some things, there were also things that were better and creepier in my own imagination. It’s still a good story, and quite imaginative, so I can’t rate it too badly, but in my opinion, what’s gained in the graphic novelization process isn’t quite enough to make up for what’s lost. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: I wouldn’t hand this to someone who hasn’t read the original first, so I’m not exactly sure who the target audience is. Maybe people who’ve read the first novel and want a refresher before they read the second, but don’t have time to re-read the book in prose form?

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

Other Reviews: Good Books and Good Wine, Sarah Reads Too Much, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: Growing up, Grandpa Portman was the most fascinating person I knew, and I begged him to regale me with stories whenever I saw him.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2014 6:59 pm

    I’m sad the graphic novel version of Miss Peregrine’s wasn’t as good as it could have been!

    • September 5, 2014 11:17 am

      It wasn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, and there were parts that I really liked seeing illustrated (the bomb balancing on the tip of the finger of the Sistine Chapel hedge sculpture, for one). But I did think that it diluted some of the impact of the photos, which were a large part of what made the book so special for me.

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