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Fairest Vol. 3: The Return of the Maharaja [Kindle Edition]

3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

New York Times bestselling, award-winning creator Bill Willingham presents a new series starring the female FABLES. Balancing horror, humor and adventure in the FABLES tradition, FAIREST explores the secret histories of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, Snow White, Rose Red and others.

When Nalayani seeks the help of the Maharaja to save her village from the Dhole, she uncovers a secret that could change the Fables Universe forever: the still alive and long-thought dead Prince Charming!

This volume collects Fairest #15-20

About the Author

Sean E. Williams is a storyteller in all mediums, with a background in theatre, film, and television, having spent a decade writing and producing in Hollywood. Before the third arc of FAIREST for DC/Vertigo, he most recently wrote two novellas set in Decipher, Inc.'s WARS universe for Grail Quest Books. He currently writes comic books and prose from the wilds of Minnesota.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 91485 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (3 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IUSN5U6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but ... 13 Oct. 2014
By Zamorka
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought it after reading all available parts of Fables, hoping that spin off story will be as good as main one. Although the beginning is really promising the end of the book seems to be rushed and nothing is really well explained (e..g. how Prince Charming survived)..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.1 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unfortunate Stumble for the Usually Excellent Series 30 Jun. 2014
By Sammy Swartz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fairest has been a pleasant surprise, featuring fantastic stories that often surpass even their source material (the Fables series). The first volume was wry, clever, and heartfelt; the second a dark, complex exploration of a foreign Fables culture. Both featured wonderful art. And all was well.

Until now--this current volume is less about the heroine Nalayani as it is about the return of Prince Charming, who is now the apparent Maharaja, or king, of a distant Fable land. Nalayani seeks Charming's aid in defending her village from what is essentially a roving pack of wolves, but things quickly go wrong from there. It's a simple, rote, and rather predictable tale, with Charming's typical smugness robbing him of any true likability. Worse, everything Nalayani set out to accomplish at the beginning of the tale is rendered naught by the end, and Charming's sudden evolution in the ways of love feel forced and undeserved. And those are just the larger criticisms; plenty of other developments also litter the plot in pointless fashion, from the introduction of characters that are later killed off meaninglessly to supposed heroes who treat their enemies with matching cruelty. It's an odd mishmash of plot choices.

Nevertheless, a few elements save this volume from complete disaster; Nalayani is a decent addition to the Fables universe, the art work is fine (if not as lush as the previous volume's), and the story's fast pace will still keep readers turning pages until the end.

But this is indeed an "okay" read at best. Readers expecting the same level of quality, imagination, and intrigue of the earlier volumes will inevitably be disappointed.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is Prince Charming Supposed to be a Bad Guy? 6 Jun. 2014
By Jennifer Fischer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Because that is how he is written. I love and own all the Fables, Jack of Fables and now Fairest. I don't really write reviews, but I wanted to warn people off of this. Don't waste your time. This isn't about women. This is about how Charming treats women. You won't miss any useful information and it is so poorly written, I can't believe it is part of the Fable's universe. It doesn't fill in any gaps about what happened to Charming. And the new female lead will probably have the same, if not better, introduction and back story if she becomes a part of the regular cast in future books. The rest of the characters are throwaways, which is probably why they didn't bother to spend much time fleshing them out.

Isn't Charming the mayor who was adamant that there would not be slavery because that was deplorable? Yet here he not only has a harem, he tells one of the guys that if he sees someone he likes, to let him know. What mine is yours. I'm supposed to root for a guy who offers his women as rewards? At best this is the typical male power fantasy. Guy waltzes into to town, with no male competition for the ladies, overthrows the current ruler, not because he is bad but because he isn't strong enough to hold onto power. That's it. That's the mystery. And I am not really summarizing. That is how much time they spend talking about it in the book. A couple of pages. Boom storytelling.

This is just bad writing all around with the characters barely more than 2 dimensional. Yes the female lead is "strong." If by strong, you mean that she can fight. Her motivation is bare bones to say the least. Her only purpose is to serve as the motivator for Charming's role in this book. There are two guys who have tension between them and we only know this because Charming tells us there is a history tension between them but he doesn't know what it is. Boom storytelling.

They don't even tell you how Charming survives or how he acclimates to the country because apparently he is such a strong fable that his skeleton regrows muscle and skin and he is back to normal in one week at which time, he is apparently fluent in the language and customs. Boom storytelling. And that is how they write everything. They tell you that everything happened instead of showing how everything happened.

I'm going to tag everything past this as spoilers.

A. A woman is cursed because she is having sex with Charming and dies of it because she isn't in love with him.

B. I am really tired of men chasing after women who aren't interested in them. She doesn't want to entertain him the first night on the road, so he has sex with one of his harem members instead. The next day he's all, do you like me now? How about now? Then at the end of the book, you just suffered through an enormous tragedy, so this time I will wait a day before asking what about now? In real life we call this stalking and it isn't romantic. I thought Edward Cullen finally flushed out the last of that trope, but nope, here it is again.

C. We know one character is gay because he isn't interested in women. They allude to this again and again. Boom Storytelling. Why bother to write a character when you can trot out an overly used plot device.

D. After this story of "empowered, strong" woman, the only choice for leadership is either another man from the outside this world or the only man left in the country. Not the strong female lead? Or any one of Charming's female warriors?

E. The book literally ends with an ex-wives, amiright, *wink.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling far below the "Fables" standard 20 July 2014
By Perry Beider - Published on
I rarely stop to think about how the words and pictures of a comic book fit together to tell the story. But sometimes, one or the other, or the combination of the two, is so flawed, it totally destroys the effect of the storytelling--like a boom mike that intrudes into the frame of a movie scene. I'm sorry to say that "Fairest: The Return of the Maharaja" is a case in point. A few examples of its storytelling flaws are listed after the


1. The shape-changing wolves say that they took revenge because one of the six of them was killed in a fight at a campsite. But when we saw that fight earlier, it appeared that three of them were killed. One got an arrow between the ears, a second was felled by an arrow shown protruding from its front ribcage, and a third had a gun fired at it, with the next panel seemingly showing its body recoiling from the impact. Maybe the second and third wounds weren't fatal, but it's poor storytelling to even suggest that they were, unless you're going to make a story point later that two of the three made miraculous or stalwart recoveries.

2. The campsite was one day's caravan ride from the palace, which was a walk of at least a few weeks from Nalayani's village. The action had not moved far from the campsite at the point when the wolves told Prince Charming that they had taken their revenge on Nalayani's village. Yet when the scene shifts to the village on the next page, the weeks (okay, maybe days on fast horses) that it would have taken to get there are ignored: in all that time, Nalayani evidently wasn't told what they would see when they arrived---and oh yeah, the village is still smoldering!

3. In the middle of a fight with Charming, the usurped maharaja narrates two pages of flashback scenes.

There's more, but you get the idea. The storytelling is so clunky, so unprofessional, that I went from reading to thinking about what I was reading, and not in a good way. ("Yeah, come to think of it, what was the point of the story about the helpful jackal in the first chapter? Was that just to fill up pages?" Et cetera.)

I haven't read anything else by Sean E. Williams and don't know how he landed this "Fairest" gig, but he does not seem to have been up to the task. If you HAVE to have every "Fables"-related book (which I can understand, actually), I suggest buying it and just putting it on your shelf next to the others, or maybe flipping through the pages to look at the pictures. Don't waste your time reading it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who is this about?? 1 Dec. 2014
By Philip Manitta - Published on
I bear no ill-will toward author Sean Williams, but I suspect he's a rather new author and I don't think he quite got the memo about what this series is supposed to be. I'm not sure how a book that was specifically created to be about strong female characters fails the Bechdel test on it's first clause: "Two women who....." It doesn't matter what they are supposed to do, because there aren't two of them in the book. This is, unabashedly a Prince Charming story, with Nalayani as a feisty, but mostly inconsequential sidekick.

Even so, if it were a particularly strong Prince Charming story, I could still give it more stars, though vehemently arguing that it should have been in Fables rather than Fairest. But even on this score, it has problems. It struggles to find a heart, and it's narrative arc is rather cluttered, but mostly it stumbles on a few weary tropes that are unsubstantiated in this context. The big deal breaker for me is that Nalayani is supposedly the one woman who can crack Prince Charming's womanizing shell and make him experience.... love, devotion, commitment... whatever. She does nothing in this story that is convincingly so epic that Prince Charming should be particularly impressed - especially in lieu of his history with the supremely bad-assed Snow White and Cinderella (Briar Rose, not so much). Too many instances of shady motivations will cause raised eyebrows. There are too many small decisions that seem out of character with Prince Charming's already "flexible" moral code. I just can't buy it.

Furthermore, I'm less familiar with Hindu legend than I would like to be. But it seems to me that a major opportunity to bring its rich trove of characters into Fables was thrown away here. Compare this to the previous volume, which mined Japanese folklore for all its worth and resulted in a damn good story.

It's not terrible. It retains some of the charm that these characters and setting and the superb background automatically bring with them. The art is as beautiful as it always is in Fables. And Williams keeps the dialog mostly in the proper voice. The deliberate use of Bigby's renegade brothers is highly appropriate to the story theme. But it's not up to the usual standards of Fables.

I have to believe that Quality Control was taken out of Bill Willingham's hands by Vertigo on this one, or perhaps they needed a last minute replacement writer. Whatever the case, this is one of the very few major missteps in the Fables canon.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't this series supposed to be about the ladies? 30 July 2014
By M - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Having been a fan of the Fables series and its spin-offs, I found this volume to be disappointing. Mind you, it's not that I hated the story itself. It was interesting to see Prince Charming again, and the story he had for this book. However, this series is meant to explore the characters of various women. I LOVED the one about Sleeping Beauty and thought it was bloody clever. The one with Rapunzel was not quite as good, but I still enjoyed it.

I was not familiar with the character of Nalayani as I am not as well-versed with Hindu folklore and mythology, so I learned something new from this book. However, it feels like the story focused way more on Charming than Nalayani, I wish more of the original myth of Nalayani had been worked into this story and being more about her. Charming notes that she is a popular Fable since she heals quickly, but compared to Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, she did not have much of a story here.
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