I've been trying out graphic novels lately and one series that I keep seeing everywhere is Fables, about fairy tale legends living undercover in New York after being forced to leave their home lands by the mysterious Adversary. It's a mammoth series with nineteen books and several spin-offs. I love the sound of fairy tale characters living in disguise in a modern city, so when I saw volume one at the library, I decided to give it a try. Legends in Exile is a mystery story about the supposed murder of Rose Red, the sister of Snow White. She goes missing and the discovery of her blood soaked apartments leads Snow White, the deputy of Fabletown and Sheriff Bigby Wolf, to investigate what has happened to her.
I enjoyed Legends in Exile more than I thought I would, which must mean I am turning into a graphic novel fan! Although the plot of the story was OK, what I really enjoyed was the world-building and the back story of how the fairytale creatures were managing to stay hidden in New York. I wasn't really that fussed about how killed Rose Red, but I was fascinated by Fabletown, how it is run and especially the amnesty, in which all of the fairytale characters had their past crimes wiped out upon arriving in our world. This amnesty causes tension throughout the story as of course the violent characters, such as Blackbeard the pirate, come under more suspicion from Snow and Bigby. I thought the concept of Fabletown was clever and the Fables world definitely interesting enough to warrant a whole series. The story itself I could take or leave.
The drawing style is very much that of a traditional comic, which isn't my favourite style but it's done well and fits with the story. I liked the artwork that was included before each chapter, it was quite surreal and made a good break from the comic format. On the whole, I enjoyed Legends in Exile enough to read the next volume of the series, Animal Farm. I doubt I will complete the series but I'm enjoying it so far.
First Published: 2002
Score: 3 out of 5