Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Peter and Max

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm sharing a story about a family, but it's still the kind of story that contributes to my geekdom. For me Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and a time to rest. So enjoy this and then go back to your families.

Fables: Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

I give this book a 5.
This is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of the Pipe Piper, but there’s very little cute about it (no Disney here). Peter and Max are brothers with skills and talents over any instrument, but they are masters as pipers and they’ve barely hit puberty. Their nomadic lifestyle and happy family are pretty sweet until strange creatures come into their land to enslave, I mean govern, their people. Too bad this new government isn’t the least of Peter’s worries as his jealous older brother begins to exact an undeserved revenge against him.

This story looks at sibling rivalry through the eyes of two brothers, one who feels entitled and the other who’s a little slow to catch on to the fact that there is a rivalry. When I started this story, I must admit, I was rooting for Max. Peter was a little too simple for me in the beginning, but his evolution was enough to make me adore the entire story. Peter had to start out the way he did to become the person he is at the end.

I loved the intermingling of fairy tale characters and the obstacles they faced adapting to the world of humans and little or no magic. My favorite character by far was Bo Peep, but I always do like the strong willed women in these types of stories.  I love that fact that she’s smarter than Peter and they both know it, and they don’t care. Peter knows who and what he is and doesn’t have a problem letting a smart person be smarter, and Bo appreciates loyalty above all.

Max is one of those villainous characters you just love to hate. He is so crazy and evil that you almost want him to have his way just so he’ll stop. In this story, Max is to Peter as the Joker is to Batman, and I love it. As darkly serious as this story is, it’s actually not a bad read for the whole family, even though really young children may not get it.  For anyone who likes action, adventure, and intrigue, this is a good read.