Fables Vol 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Fables: Legends in Exile

I read Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall last month, fell in love straight away, and couldn’t wait to pursue the rest of the series. Legends of Exile is really the first in the series (1001 Nights of Snowfall is the prequel). Here we get introduced to Bigby the Big Bad Wolf (though he assumes body of a man as explained how he came to be in the prose story at the end of the book) and our beloved heroine Snow White. Snow is the the Director of Operations in Fables, the kingdom of fairy tales folks that ran away from their homelands to New York City (the fictional land :), because they were chased away by the Adversary. New York City is called “dreary mundane place: the one world the Adversary seemed to take no interest in.” And so there stay the exiles, trying to live alongside each other in their new home. They created the General Amnesty, in which all past crimes, debts, and grievances are pardoned and can never be brought up again. So bad or good in their previous lives, they all start anew in the new world (theoritically, at least).

At the beginning of the story, Jack (from Jack the Beanstalks) rushes to Bigby’s office to tell him something bad has happened. He later found out that Rose Red, sister of Snow White, is missing and her apartment is totally wrecked, splashed with her blood all over. Jack is Rose’s boyfriend. We quickly get introduced to the other characters as well. Charming (The Prince): Snow’s ex husband, Beauty and the Beast, Flycatcher (the Frog Prince), Cinderella, The Pig (of the Big Bad Wolf. I love the pig!), The King, and Bluebeard.

Bluebeard drove me crazy. I kept wondering which character from which fairy tale he is taken from. My first guess was the King of Arab, who kills his newly wedded bride every single night (and that is mentioned for Bluebeard), but in 1001 Nights of Snowfall Snow White visited the King of Arab, so it’s not him. Somewhere in Wiki it’s mentioned that originally the Bluebeard character design was supposed to be that of Captain Hook, but got cancelled because of Copyright issues. Anyway, I guess at the end he’s a nobody, just one of the villains.

Did I say I loved this series? It’s great! I love the setting, the personality of the characters, the twisted fairy tales, everything. The main story itself of Legends in Exile is just so-so in my opinion, but it’s a great outlet to introduce all the characters in Fables. I also like how each Chapter is started, for examples:

Chapter One: Old Tales Revisited
In which we meet many of our principal players and get just the first hint or two of some of the myriad troubles to come

Chapter Two: The (Un)Usual Suspects
In which our intrepid detective delves deeper into the mystery of the missing Fable, and a prince is reunited with his old lady love.

Will try to get the second in the series soon. Hopefully soon!

Rating: 4 out of 5
Pages: 127
Publication year: 2002

2003 Eisner Award for Best New Series and Best Serialized Story

First line
Once upon a time.

Last line
The End – for now.

Also reviewed by

avidbookreader.com (almost complete summary) | Stuff As Dreams Are Made On | Sophisticated Dorkiness | Fyrefly’s Book Blog | That’s the Book! | Blue. Bold. Adventure. | The Book Zombie (with issues covers) | A Chain of Letters | The Written World | Experiments in Reading | A Striped Armchair | Everyday Reads (review) on Fables covers | Falling Stacks | A High and Hidden Place | Rhinoa’s Ramblings | SomeReads

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15 thoughts on “Fables Vol 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham”

  1. I loved this too! But now I’ve discovered my library doens’t have volumes 2-5. :/ I might have to pony up and just buy them.

  2. I really want to read 1001 Nights of Snowfall! I read all the volumes of Fables a couple of weeks ago – they’re really addictive! And then I spent the following week coming up with my dream cast for the TV series they’re making of it.

    Bluebeard’s got his own fairy tale – it’s one of those Cupid & Psyche type stories, but with a grimmer ending for him. He marries a local girl, and makes her promise never to unlock this one room he’s got, but while he’s away her curiosity overcomes her, and she looks. Inside are all of his previous wives that he’s murdered. It all ends well for her, though. Her brothers come and save her, and she inherits all of his wealth. :)

  3. Eva: The same here. My library has some of the volumes, but they are scattered all over various branches. I can’t possibly go to different branch for the every volume. I don’t recall seeing any copy in bookstores here in Australia (not that I have extra money to buy them too..) Sad. I might have to read them online :(

    deslily: Yes, possibly because it’s not about super heroes, so it’s more accessible to wider audience.

    J.S. Peyton: Yes you must! :)

    Jenny: Oh I remember that story vaguely. Are you sure? Well, I guess there can’t be another one of similar story hey? Enough about a man who murders his many wives ;)

  4. I was going to say what Jenny did about Bluebeard – he has his own disturbing and extremely creepy fairy tale. Not a favourite character of mine, that’s for sure!

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this :) It’s not as good as some of the other Fables books, but it’s indeed a solid intro.

  5. Okay I’m sure about Bluebeard now. I don’t care much about him though, he’s not a favorite character of mine too. I’m glad that Fables lives up to its hype. I’m definitely looking forward to the next volumes!

  6. I’m really glad you loved this one as much as I did. I cannot get enough of this series. I currently have the 6th book in the series here, and I’m thinking I’ll get started tonight. I also want to thank you for adding me in the other reviewer section. I hope you like the other books as much. And Bluebeard bothered me a little to.

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