Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fables 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham

This is the fifth volume of the Fables series, and unfortunately I don't think that it is possible to talk about at least some of the aspects of this book without spoiling those earlier volumes. I will try and warn you first though before we get into that territory and I will not be spoiling for the action in this volume.

The action starts in this volume with all three of Prince Charming's ex-wives getting together for a lunch. You have to know that there are going some stories swapped when they do, but really it is a ruse for one of them, lying a trail of crumbs to cover up exactly what it is that she is really up to. This was a fun story that showed that some of the characters still have plenty of stories to be told, which can only be a good thing for the future of the Fables series.

Speaking of stories not yet told, during this volume we get to find out more about the somewhat normally terse character of Bigby Wolf. Memories of the big battle from the last book and the need to visit one of his former comrades (one of few mundies who actually know what he really is) has us revisiting his activities during World War II. There is no doubt that someone like Mr Wolf would make a great warrior, especially given his heightened senses (what with him being a wolf and all) and the story that we are told shows those skills, but also his capability to be a leader and a friend. The other thing that we do begin to see a bit more than we had is exactly how it is that Bigby keeps law and order in Fabletown. His methods are not always straight forward or perhaps even legal, but he does get results.

Heading into spoiler territory now.....

The main reason why we get to learn more of Bigby's method is that the results of the election are in (the campaigning started in the last book) and unfortunately there is going to be a new mayor, Prince Charming. Old King Cole is out and Prince Charming is in. With Snow White due to give birth any day now, her role will be taken by Beauty and the new sheriff will be The Beast assuming that Snow White and Bigby decide that they can't work with the new mayor. The decision is effectively taken out of Snow's hands when her children are born. Given that some of them will never pass as human, there is no option but for Snow to retire to the farm. Only problem is that Bigby is not banned from the farm, meaning that the new family has no choice but to be separated. Fortunately for Snow, she gets assistance from an unlikely source, one that can hopefully help train her children with their special gifts.

With the new administration in place it soon becomes clear that things are not necessarily going to go smoothly. Charming can't meet his election promises, Snow's skills as administrator are sadly missed and the Beast is clearly out of his depth even when he things he is doing the right thing.

End spoilers

Once again, the story takes the familiar characters that we know and put them into everyday and not so everyday situations. The imagery and stories are quite graphic, the humour is grown up, and yet the emotions are very recognisable. Some of my favourite scenes in this book including Snow White and her sister Rose Red discussing men and the babies are nnnnaaawwww, so cute!

The next volume has already been requested and I am looking forward to the next instalment in the Fables story.

I read for the RIP VII challenge

Written on the Wind

With the Battle of Fabletown won, and the surrounding city of New York none the wiser, the Fables have gained a little time for rebuilding and reflection - in between the interrogation of the Adversary's agent and the anticipation of Snow White's impending motherhood.

For Bigby Wolf, the father of her soon-to-be newborns, that means a visit with an old friend - and reminiscence of another, even deadlier war. For the Mayor of Fabletown, it means a rude awakening to the harsh realities of civic administration - and its conflicting demands. and for Snow herself, it means a long, painful labor - and a series or joyous, heartbreaking surprises.


  1. I can imagine that when all of Prince Charming's wives get together, there would be quite a bit of juicy reading! I keep saying that I need to read these books, and I keep putting them off! I have to stop doing that!

  2. Ooh, I haven't read this one yet in the series. I have read several others and really enjoyed them. They are like adult fairy tales, and extra-delightful because of how the characters we all know and love are allowed to grow up and express characteristics that are funny and dear! Twisted too. Some day, when I have enough money, I am going to own this entire series, because they are good enough to reread. Wait til you get to Rose Red, if you haven't read it yet. (number 20, I think?) Our library has only a few, so I've read most of what they have now. I'm delighted you are enjoying them too.