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Fables By: Bill Willingham Review (Deluxe Edition Book One)

81g0bqdw4wlWhen I say Snow White what comes to mind? Do you envision a calm, easy-going, meek princess hiding in the woods with seven dwarves as company? How about when I ask you to think about The Big Bad Wolf? Do you envision either a human-like wolf or a man with wolf features hunting and devoting a little girl dressed in red? Or maybe you think of a wolf blowing down the homes for three pigs? These images are probably the most common for these characters. They come from he more popular versions of these stories.

I have nothing against these Disney-esque versions of the stories. I grew up with those stories. I was a Disney child, so that is how I was introduce to the fairytales. I love them. But these sterilized adaptations for the modern world. The originals are dark and gritty. They rarely end with a happy ending. Death and torture are normal in the original versions of theses classic fables and fairytales.

The Fable’s comics harken back to these original stories. The comic centers around a group of fables/fairytale characters who are living in our world as refugees. They have had to run from their home that was overtaken by someone called The Adversary. They had no choice but to leave in order to survive.

In our world they are only trying to survive. Our world is very different from their own. They lived their stories out and now they are trying to start new. This is a fresh start for many of them but leaving their pasts behind is not easy. They can’t entirely escape their stories.

I picked up the comic because I played The Wolf Among Us, a Telltale game. It is a decision based game and I enjoy those types of games. I liked that this one had a sort of retelling of the classic stories I have always known. I enjoyed the game and decided to see what the comics offered and see where the characters stores continued to go.

This first collections follows two story lines. The first is a detective, murder mystery. Rose Red, Snow White’s sister, has gone missing and the hunt is on to find her. The second follows the story of an attempted revolution on The Farm, the place where fables who can’t pass as human have to live.

The plot lines were pretty straightforward. They weren’t exactly revolutionary or overly exciting. It was the take on the characters that drew me. I loved the darker, grittier versions of these characters. Their voices were unique and felt very alive and real.

Snow White was our main protagonist and I feel like she may be for most of the series. She is not the meek, nature loving, hiding away, maiden that we know her as. She is tough. She does what she thinks is best no matter what anyone thinks. She speaks her mind. She fights when she has too.

Snow White is probably my least favorite princess; mostly because she seemed very flat and lifeless to me in the movie. I have grown to like her more over the years from the various versions of her I have read. She is made to be tougher and more independent and I like to see that twist. I am hoping her character stays strong and interesting.

The other main character we go to know pretty well was Bibgy, The Big Bad Wolf. He is the sheriff in Fabletown (the name of the town where the fables live in New York).  He is one of my favorite character types. He is the tough exterior, sweet interior person. He has a rough past, we all know that. But this world gives him a chance to start fresh and he is doing the best he can.

He can’t completely fight his nature, because is part of him. But he is not willing to go backwards.I like to see him try to stay on the right side, even when it is tough for him. I am hoping to see his character grow throughout the series.

There was also a very interesting point made in the latter half of this collection. I am hoping it is something that is used and explored more throughout the series. Rose Red makes a point to Snow that some of them are not as lucky as she is.

There are the fables we all know, such as Snow White. There are hundreds of versions of her story throughout the world. Whereas some like, Rose Red, are not as lucky. They aren’t complete forgotten but they are lesser known. In this world it seems that being known affords certain power. The more well known characters are more durable. They can survive things that the lesser known ones may not be able to survive. It seems that survival almost depends on the world knowing who you are and knowing your story.

This is an interesting take on the power of the story. These people’s lives sort of depend on someone knowing who they are. If we forget their story or twist them out of other’s stories we could be killing them. I am hoping the this idea is used more. I like the idea of the story having the power.

This was a fun collection and I am hoping to get to the second one sometime soon. The only issue is that the collections are kind of expensive so this isn’t one I can’t just read right through. I am going to have to continue when I get some extra cash.

If you like fairytale retellings and new takes on old stories you will enjoy this. It is a comic which makes it a faster read. It is a fun and nice set up. I am hoping it continues to be as good as the series develops .

 

 

 

The Reflections of Queen Snow White – Review

51qjp7Z3KdL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_(I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

I have stated in previous reviews that reimagining and re-tellings of fairy tales are some of my favorite kinds of stories. I loved to see how people rethink classic stories or delve deeper into the characters. David Meredith’s story gives us a deeper look into the character of Snow White.

Snow White is probably my least favorite princess. Her story has always been pretty basic and boring to me. I have never felt a true connection to her. This tale gave me a new look at Snow White and has given me a new appreciation for her as a character. Now when I think of her I will see a stronger character than I have before.

It has been a year since Prince Charming passed away. Snow White is consumed by her grief. She wants nothing to do with anyone or anything around her including her only daughter, Raven. Raven is  getting married but Snow White cannot find a way to care or get wrapped up in the wedding. All she can think about is missing her husband.

In an effort to find real solitude Snow White goes on a walk and ends up in the quarters of her deceased stepmother. In the abandoned room she finds her stepmother’s mirror. She starts talking to the mirror and begins a journey into her past to find out who she truly is.

Snow White is taken through her past and is able to get out many of the emotions she has been holding inside of her for so much of her life. After each flashback, the mirror tries to make Snow see an important part of who she is. At first, Snow is combative, she refuses to see anything good before her. She only sees loss, abuse, and grief.

The mirror refuses to let her be consumed by those feelings. What the mirror does is show Snow White what is inside of her. It can’t show her anything that she does not hold inside of herself in some manner. At first, that is only her grief and anger. But slowly that begins to change.

Snow White learns just how strong of a woman she is. Her life has not been easy. She was severely abused by her stepmother. She was poisoned. She was doubted and abused by those she was supposed to rule. She had trouble conceiving a child and doubted her worth to Charming. Through each trial, she fought back and found a way to live on. The mirror shows Snow White that her grief over losing Charming is only one of her many battles. She can win this one, as well ,if only she does not give up.

Characters are my favorite parts of stories. The plot can be subpar, the setting hard to follow but if I connect to a character I am most likely going to enjoy the story in some manner. I wasn’t sure exactly what this story was going to be about when I read the summary. I thought we may get the origins of the mirror and Snow White having to fight a battle to save herself.

In part I was right. Snow White fought an internal struggle to find the woman she had lost in her sorrow. I appreciated this view into Snow White as a character. The flashbacks into her life were interesting. They stayed very close to the original story. This was not a long story, it basically all takes place in the room with the mirror, but it takes us throughout all of Snow White’s history. We get to see what kind of woman she actually is.

The story is also one about dealing with grief and losing someone close to you. For me, this hit a bit closer to home than it may for other readers. The ending, in particular, made me a bit teary-eyed. I think the way living on after losing someone was talked about made me appreciate the story a bit more than I would have otherwise.

If you enjoy fairytales and glimpses into characters we think we know well you will enjoy this story. It is a quick read but a powerful one. There are some dark moments that were a bit hard to read but combined with the other elements of the story I really enjoyed the story.

Purchase the book here on Amazon.

(This story as read as part of the Once Upon a Time X Challenge over at Stainless Steel Droppings).

“Call me Snow White,” – Once Upon a Time Review (Spoilers) (5×13)

mary-margarets-friend-once-upon-a-timeThe second episode of this half of the season saw our characters learning a few things. Snow is no longer Mary Margret. Henry is going to have to grow up quick to prevent Cruella from manipulating him into doing harm to him and his family.

We opened the episode by finding out where Hook is being held. He is in an underground dungeon that is being guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed demon dog. Hook is pretty beaten up but he isn’t going to sit around. He meets a fellow prisoner, Meg. He distracts Cerebus and helps her to escape, giving her a message to give to Emma.

This is an important moment for Hook and Emma’s relationship. Hook was able to see Emma when she used the potion from the last episode. He knows she is here to rescue him. He knows that she is not abandoning him. He tells Meg that he knows she is here for him and will find him because “when you love someone, you know.”

I was worried that after being possessed by the darkness and Emma’s desperate and poor choice, that Hook would harbor some residual feelings of hatred and anger towards Emma. But it does not appear that way here. He is relieved and happy to see her coming to rescue him. He states that he still loves her. While there may still be a few feelings of hurt left that is clouded by his love for her. Which is good because I have a feeling that in order to get out of The Underworld they are going to have to use that love in some manner.

(Also, side note. Throughout these reviews, I will be referring to this new realm as The Underworld and not Hell. I believe they are going for these ideas to mean different things. In mythology, The Underworld was not actually Hell. It was just the place dead people went. It wasn’t a horrible place. I think they are playing with that idea here. While it is not a pleasant place I think the “worse place,” people can go would be comparable to our idea of Hell. I think the “better place,” is different for each person depending on their beliefs and storylines.)

Meg ends up finding Emma and informing her of where Hook is and what is guarding him. The group knows they need someone to help them fight this monster. Snow knows just the person, Hercules.

Hercule and teenager Snow were friends at one point. The friendship came at a time when young Snow was doubting her ability to be a ruler. Bandits were terrorizing her townspeople (turns out they were sent by Regina). She is young and has no idea how to help. She is not a fighter at this point and she does not believe she can help her people.

She runs into Hercules and Hercules teachers her how to use her bow, how to fight and how to get back up when you fail. Hercules was an essential part in creating the Snow White that ruled and lived in the Enchanted Forest.

This flashback led to a very interesting conversation and revelation from Snow. If you have read my other reviews of this show you will know that I have always referred to the fairytale characters by their true fairytales names. I do not refer to Snow as Mary Margaret. I just felt odd using those names and this episode sort of showed me why.

After winning the fight against Cerberus with Hercules and Meg, Snow tells Regina, Charming, and Emma that she no longer wants to be referred to as Mary Margaret. She wants to be called Snow White because that is who she truly is as a person.

images-7When Regina cast the curse it created alternate persona’s for everyone. They got histories and new lives. Mary Margaret is a more timid woman. She gives grand speeches and is more likely to talk than to fight. She is much more passive.

Whereas Snow White is much tougher. She is someone who will fight for those she loves when necessary. She has those inspirational ideas and speeches but knows that talking is not always the solution for problems. Sometimes you have to grab you bow and fight. That is who she truly is on the inside. And that is how I have always seen her character which is why I think I always use the name Snow instead of Mary Margaret.

Everyone has to find their true-selves in order to get out of The Underworld. They have to face their past mistakes and learn from them and find who they truly are. Regina did that in the last episode and now it was Snow White’s turn. No longer should there be a distinction between the two people. She is Snow White and it is time she lived that life again.

A quick few points on Henry. In this episode, Henry met up with Cruella. Cruella tells him that the quill of the author is not just a quill. It is a living breathing energy and when he broke it, it ended up in The Underworld. It has unfinished business, namely writes stories. Cruella tells him that he can take the quill and use it to resurrect her.

Henry is obviously against the idea at first but then Cruella tells him that if he lets her live again then his mother will no longer be a murderer. He will allow her to be pure again. This is all lies.

Henry is young and I understand why the idea appeals to him. But he is going to need to realize something. Just because Cruella is alive again does not mean the past is erased. Emma’s actions still happened. She still chose to kill Cruella in order to protect her son, plain and simple. Using his power as the author to change Cruella’s fate will not change the choice that was made. Erasing that moment of the past will change much more and not in a goodway.

I think at the moment he is just excited about the idea. He wants to help his mother but his parents and family are going to have to teach him an important lesson. The choices in our past do not dictate our choices of the future. Emma made a poor decision once but that is done and over with. There is no changing it and it has created the woman she is now. Henry is going to have to have a growing up moment soon or else he is going to hurt his family.

Quotes:

“I don’t sit around and rot.” – Hook – The Underworld has not dampened his fighting spirit. He will not just wait around to be saved. He will do whatever he can to save himself or help Emma save him.

“If I hadn’t failed I never would have figured out how to succeed,” – Hercules – First this is an important lesson for us all to remember. The group will be learning from their past mistakes and will have to use those lessons to get out of the Underworld. They have all failed many times before and there are many tools waiting for them from those moments.

Questions:

What are Hade’s reasons for having The Underworld look like Storybrooke?

What is the worse place to go to? Hell?

Is the better place different for everyone?

What other lessons will the group be learning?

Will David be asked to be called Charming soon, also shedding his fake curse persona?

Where is Rumple?

Will Hook chose someone to stay?

Will they all eventually be trapped?

Who will Hook chose first if he has to make a choice?

Can Emma save Hook?

What exactly is Hook’s unfinished business?

Will Henry realize Cruella is manipulating him?

When will they all figure out Henry is lying?

Will the quill be an important part of getting them all home?

What other past characters will be meeting?

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