Tags: faerie tales

Books

The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann (illustrated by Sanna Annukka).

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Title: The Nutcracker.
Author: E.T.A. Hoffmann.
Artist: Sanna Annukka.
Genre: Literature, fiction, fantasy, children's lit, fairy tales.
Country: Prussia.
Language: German.
Publication Date: 1816.
Summary: On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie excitedly await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvelous gifts he brings for them every year. When Marie discovers a rather curious nutcracker doll amongst the presents, she suddenly finds herself caught up in an age-old battle and ultimately transported to a magical world of sugar-frosted castles, chocolate kings, and true love.

My rating: 8.5/10.
My review:

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Books

Hungarian Folk-tales (retold and illustrated) by Val Biro.

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Title: Hungarian Folk-tales.
Author: (retold and illustrated) by Val Biro.
Genre: Fiction, children's lit, fantasy, adventure, folk tales, mythology, faerie tales.
Country: U.K.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1980.
Summary: This collection combines 21 folk-tales. In The Thieving Goblins, kind and resourceful Georgie and his eleven brothers combat goblins that steal the Black King's horses, to win their life and a great reward. In Tobias and the Dragon, a resourceful and cunning man outwits a dragon out of gold and hard labour. In A Donkey's Load, when a rich barber scams an impoverished man using a linguistic technicality, the poor man uses his ingenuity and his donkey to get his revenge. In Peter Cheater, an ingenious man tricks the Mayor three times, each time more cleverly than the last. In The Magic Doctor, an illiterate but clever bootmaker decides to become his village's new witch doctor, but gets into a sticky situation when he's asked to demonstrate skills he does not possess. In The Devil of a Bailiff, a cruel farmer who can't keep his workers hires the devil to be his new bailiff, with a caveat that at the end of the term he will take as payment only that which the workers are willing to give. In The Honest Thief, a king tests an exceptionally smart young man by getting him to steal more and more impossible things for a higher reward. In The Mayor's Egg, a Mayor of a town brings back to his village what he believes to be a giant egg, which it is the people's responsibility to help hatch. In King Greenbeard, when King Greenbeard unknowingly gambles away his only son to the King of the Devils, the young Prince must use all his courage and wits with the help of a beautiful maiden with extraordinary powers. In Almafi and the Flying Palace, a kind man sets out on a quest to rescue a princess from a mysterious and elusive flying castle. In Almafi and the Golden Cockerel, while on his quest, Almafi encounters a golden cockerel that is in fact an enchanted Fairy Prince, and promises to help rescue the Prince's love from the Wicked Fairy of Deceit. In The Hedgehog, an enchanted prince turned into a hedgehog is adopted by an old couple, and helps three kings in return for wealth and the hands of their daughters. In Ever Thus and As You Were, when a young soldier shows kindness to a stranger, the stranger teaches him the two phrases that make his life and fortune. In A Dragon-tale, in exchange for his kind actions to those in need, a young man is helped on his quest to rescue the Princess-turned-dragon from her two dragon-suiters. In A Cauldron of Gold, when a poor man is defrauded of a cauldron of gold by a scoundrel soldier, the man's three daughters take it upon themselves to get revenge. In Goosy Gander, when a cruel Squire cheats and abuses Matty Gander, he swears three acts of vengeance for the trespass. In The Lazy King, an obese king who hasn't left his room in decades tries to decide which of his three sons is the laziest, and will thus inherit the throne. In The Joking Wolf, a goat, a cow and a horse outwit a wolf when their owner throws them out for the wolf to eat. In The Obstinate Little Rabbit, a little rabbit will get his way and get his bell away from a tree that took it, no matter how many he has to convince that he should, and how. In Sammy Lazybones, a clever, resourceful woman tricks her incredibly lazy husband into good working habits with the help of some cross-dressing and a sword. In Briar Peter, a young man compassionate actions creatures in need comes in helpful when he is challenged to find the one place to hide the Princess cannot guess, at the cost of his life.

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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Books

Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Various (edited by Gordon Jarvie).

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Title: Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales.
Author: Elizabeth Grierson, Joseph Jacob, John Buchan, J.F. Campbell, Alasdair MacLean, James Hogg, George MacDonald, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Andrew Lang, and John Lorne Campbell (edited by Gordon Jarvie).
Artist: Barbara Brown.
Genre: Literature, fiction, short stories, mythology, folklore, fantasy, fairy tales.
Country: Scotland.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1811, 1862, 1888, 1891, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1932, 1971, and 1973 (this collection 1992).
Summary: This collection compiles 21 folk and fairy tales, as well as stories based on Scottish folklore and legends. In The Milk-white Doo (1910) by Elizabeth Grierson, a young boy cooked by his cruel step-mother takes the form of a white dove to help his impoverished family, as well as get his revenge. In The Well O' the World's End (1910) by Elizabeth Grierson, a young girl sent to fetch water from a far-laying well encounters a frog that agrees to give her the water if she makes him a promise in return. In The Seal Catcher and the Merman (1910), a seal hunter finds out that some of the large seals he hunts are actually "Roane," or mermen, when he's taken down into the underwater palace to right a wrong he has committed against their race. In The Laird o' Co (1910) by Elizabeth Grierson, a kind and courteous Lord helps out a strange and enchanted young man when he asks him for ale for his sick mother, and has the deed come back to him many years later. In The Brownie O' Ferne-Den (1910) by Elizabeth Grierson, a Brownie comes to the rescue when the kind mistress of the farm-house falls ill, but everyone is too afraid to cross the glen and run into him. In Katherine Crackernuts (1910) by Elizabeth Grierson, a princess's wit and bravery in the land of the fairies saver her step-sister from a sinister enchantment, and help an ailing prince. Tam Lin (1549 and on) is a traditional ballad about a young man taken prisoner by the Queen of Fairies, and the lengths his true love goes to save him. Thomas Rhymer (13th century on) is a traditional tale of young lord who goes to live with the Queen of the Fairies. In Gold-Tree and Silver Tree (1891) by Joseph Jacobs, a beautiful princess is haunted by her mother's jealousy of her beauty, until a dark enchantment is put on her. In The Magic Walking-Stick (1932) by John Buchan, young Bill buys a walking stick from a mysterious character, and soon discovers the incredible magical powers it holds. In The Two Shepherds (1862) by J.F. Campbell, when a shepherd stays too late at his friend's house and has to cross the river late at night, the son sent to accompany him has a sinister encounter in the dark river. In The Sprightly Tailor (1862) by Joseph Jacobs, a tailor decides to spend a night sewing in a haunted church, and encounters a giant horror there. The Lonely Giant (1973) by Alasdair MacLean is a story in which a lonely giant seeks a giantess for a wife, and employs the help of a whale to help him get to her. In Assipattle and the Mester Stoorworm (1910) by Elizabeth Grierson, a horrible creature emerges from the sea and demands a horrible sacrifice, and an unlikely hero emerges in the youngest, laziest son of a large family. Adam Bell (1811) by James Hogg is a mysterious tale of a vanished man who was seen far from where he was supposed to be, and whose tragic fate did not come to light for a long time. In The Gray Wolf (1905) by George MacDonald, a young student seeking refuge from a storm comes across a young woman and her mother who offer him a place to spend the night, though something about the daughter gives the student warning chills. In Through the Veil (1911) by Arthur Conan Doyle, a couple visiting an Ancient Roman excavation site suddenly realize they had been there together before, thousands of years ago. The Gold of Fairnilee (1888) by Andrew Lang, a young woman helps a lord kidnapped by fairies, and together they discover the truth in the legend of the buried and lost gold of Fairnilee. Why Everyone Should Be Able to Tell a Story (1971) by John Lorne Campbell is a humorous tale of the come-uppance of young Uistman who can't tell his host any stories to help pass the night. The Tail (1862) is a tale about a shepherd trying to pull one of his sheep out of a bog by its tail, explaining why sheep's tails are not as long as they could be.

My rating: 8/10
My review:

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Books

The Bone Mother by David Demchuk.

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Title: The Bone Mother.
Author: David Demchuk.
Genre: Fiction, literature, mythology, horror, fantasy.
Country: Canada.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 2017.
Summary: Three neighbouring villages on the Ukrainian/Romanian border are the final refuge for the last of the mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Now, on the eve of the war that may eradicate their kind―and with the ruthless Night Police descending upon their sanctuary―they tell their stories and confront their destinies. The Rusalka, the beautiful vengeful water spirit who lives in lakes and ponds and lures men and children to their deaths; The Vovkulaka, who changes from her human form into that of a wolf and hides with her kind deep in the densest forests; The Strigoi, a revenant who feasts on blood and twists the minds of those who love, serve and shelter him; The Dvoynik, an apparition that impersonates its victim and draws him into a web of evil in order to free itself; the Bone Mother, a skeletal crone with iron teeth who lurks in her house in the heart of the woods, and cooks and eats those who fail her vexing challenges, and many more. Eerie and unsettling like the darkest fairy tales, these portraits of ghosts, witches, sirens, and seers―and the mortals who live at their side and in their thrall―chill the marrow and tear at the heart.

My rating: 8.5/10.
My review:

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Books

The Story of a Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas.

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Title: The Story of a Nutcracker.
Author: Alexandre Dumas (translated by Sarah Ardizzone).
Country: France.
Language: French.
Publication Date: 1844.
Summary: A re-telling of E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (1816). The nutcracker doll that mysterious Godfather Drosselmayer gives to little Marie for Christmas is no ordinary toy. On Christmas Eve, as the clocks strike midnight, Marie watches as the Nutcracker and her entire cabinet of playthings come to life and boldly do battle against the malevolent Mouse King and his armies. But this is only the start of the fantasticalrr tale.

My rating: 8.5/10.
My review: An important note on the translation, to me, is that it's utterly unnecessary. It's almost identical to the original translation, the only difference being it is much less eloquent.

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Books

M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman.

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Title: M Is for Magic.
Author: Neil Gaiman.
Genre: Fiction, literature, short stories, horror, fantasy, YA.
Country: U.K.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1985-2006 (this collection 2007).
Summary: A collection of 11 stories of young-adult friendly horror and fantasy. In The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds (1984), a seasoned private detective of Nurseryland is tasked in solving the mystery of Humpty Dumpty's demise, by someone claiming to be his sister. In Troll Bridge (1993), a young boy meets a troll under a bridge, and makes an usual deal with him that changes the rest of his life. In Don't Ask Jack (1995), a sinister jack-in-the-box haunts the lives of the children who own it. In How to Sell the Ponti Bridge (1985), sceptical members of a Rogues' Club are treated to a story about a man who once sold an invaluable piece of public property in a perfect scam. In October in the Chair, the seasons of the year get together for an annual bonfire, and October tells a tale of a bullied and unhappy boy who runs away from home only to make a strange and mysterious friend in a graveyard. In Chivalry (1993), an elderly lady purchases the Holy Grail in her usual used charity shop, and immediately begins to be pursued by a knight on a quest to possess it. In The Price (1997), a stray cat fights a nightly battle to protect his adopted family from a terrible evil. In How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2006), a teenage boy who has trouble talking to girls finds himself at very strange party, filled with girls that seem quite... otherworldly. In the Sunbird (2005), members of the Epicurean Club that strives to taste every type of animal, mythical and not, follow one of their more mysterious members to Egypt to capture and taste the legendary Sunbird, although some of the members have a funny feeling this journey had taken place in the past. In The Witch's Headstone (2007), a boy raised in a graveyard by ghouls and ghosts makes a new friend, and to help her, finds himself forced to confront the troubling world of the living for the first time. Instructions (2000) is a story written as a set of instructions to the magical land of fantasy and imagination.

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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Books

The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess with Various.

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Title: The Book of Ballads.
Author: Neil Gaiman, Charles De Lint, Jane Yolen, Jeff Smith, Emma Bull, Sharyn McCrumb and others.
Artist: Charles Vess.
Genre: Fiction, graphic novel, fantasy, folk tales, mythology, poetry, faerie tales.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: (This collection 2004). **Dates of interpretations only, dates of originals unknown.
Summary: The book contains 13 ballads, being some of the great songs and folktales of the English, Irish, and Scottish traditions, re-imagined in sequential art form and mostly current English in collaboration with various fantasy writers. The graphic interpretation is always followed by the original ballad. The False Knight Upon the Road is a British ballad about a young boy who is confronted by a "false knight" in the road, but stands firm against temptation and anger. The interpretation by Neil Gaiman (1995) ties the boy's meeting with his father's demise and failure to stand firm as his son does. King Henry is a British and Scottish ballad about a king who, when accidentally stumbling across a hunter's lodge inhabited by a horrible giantess, treats her with nothing but kindness and courtesy, and get an unexpected reward for the horrible tasks she asks of him. The interpretation by Jane Yolen (1993) includes a narrative that reveals that the king's kindness and trust towards his new queen doesn't last, also making an allusion that Henry is Henry VIII, and the "witch" is Anne Boleyn. Thomas the Rhymer is a Scottish ballad about a young man who meets a fairy queen on the road, who takes him into her service in faerie land for 7 years. The interpretation by Sharyn McCrumb (1994) has the faerie queen make a promise to Thomas, which she comes many years later to fulfill. Barbara Allen is a Scottish ballad about a young woman who rejects a heartbroken young man, causing his death, but is unable to live without him. The interpretation by Midori Snyder (1996) expands the legend by making the young man cursed, and the only way for a curse to be lifted is to be rejected by a woman, and though she loves him and cannot live without him, she sets out to liberate him. The Three Lovers is a British ballad about a young man who chooses a dark-skinned girl for her land and wealth, but kills her and then himself when his new bride attacks and kills the fair young lover he loves but refused to marry for her lack of money. The adaptation by Lee Smith (2004) keeps true to the original, only putting the young man and his mother in dire financial straits, making it a necessity to marry the richer but less beloved girl. In Tam Lin, a Scottish ballad, a fair maiden named Janet is impregnated by a knight in the service of the Queen of Fairies, Tam-Lin, who then tells her how to win him as her own on Hallowday. In the adaptation by Elaine Lee, Tam-Lin becomes a fae through an ancient Pagan human sacrifice, and lies to Janet a thousand years thence that he was once a Christian man entrapped by faeries, to regain his mortal soul by fathering himself and being reborn through her into a human form. The Daemon Lover is a Scottish ballad in which a man long away (implied to be the Devil) returns to his beloved, who had married someone else and bore a son by this time, and convinces her to go off with him, for a price. The adaptation by Delia Sherman (1996) keep almost identical to the original, though making the Devil abusive and cruel to his "beloved." The Twa Corbies is a Scottish ballad that see two scavenger birds converse of where they should have their next meal, deciding on a newly-slain knight who is not guarded by his hounds and unmissed by his cheating wife. The adaptation by Charles de Lint (1996) has a young woman in present-day Toronto come across a dead homeless man whose spirit is conversing with "crow girls," the spirits come to take him onward, as he recounts his life as a questing knight, under which lies a tale of lost job, divorce, and failure. Sovay is an English folk song about a young woman who dresses up as a man and holds up her beloved, testing his manhood and loyalty by demanding the diamond ring she had bestowed on him. The interpretation by Charles de Lint (1996) additionally has Sovay kill a random rider whom she supposes was going to attack her beloved when she finds him, before she puts her lover to the test. The Galtee Farmer is an Irish ballad about a man who gets tricked at the fair to buy back the horse he had just sold, for a lot more money. The interpretation by Jeff Smith (1996) is identical to the original. Alison Gross is a Scottish ballad about a very ugly witch trying to seduce a young man by offering him gifts and gold, but when he refuses, turning him into a worm. In the adaptation by Charles Vess (2001), the witch turns the man into a dragon and keeps him as a pet, until a Fairy Queen and her entourage free him and make him one of their own, allowing him revenge. The Black Fox (with words provided by Graham Pratt (1974)) is an Irish ballad about a hunting party who jokingly calls upon the Devil when they don't encounter any prey for hours, but the Devil answers their call as a black fox. The adaptation by Emma Bull (2004) is faithful to the original, making the hunting party a group of gentlemen and ladies in turn-of-the-century Britain. The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry is about a young woman who gets impregnated by a selchie (of the Seal Folk), who comes back to take the child away, but with a dark prophecy for them both. In the adaptation by Jane Yolen (2004), the selchie abandons the woman, unmarried and with child, and comes back to take the child some time late, though warning that if the woman doesn't go back to her native village a great doom would befall both the selchie and his son.

My rating: 8/10.
My review:

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Books

Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault.

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Title: Perrault's Complete Fairy Tales.
Author: Charles Perrault.
Genre: Literature, fiction, fairy tales, fantasy.
Country: France.
Language: French.
Publication Date: 1695, 1697, 1756.
Summary: This volume includes the complete 11 faerie tales by Charles Perrault, who laid the foundations for a new literary genre of the fairy tale by deriving from and writing down pre-existing folk-tales. This book also includes 3 faerie tales of his contemporaries, as a basis for comparison. The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood (1697) is a story of a cursed princess, who slumbers for 100 years until a prince comes to wake and wed her, and the consequent trouble of concealing and trying to protect the young princess and then her children from the prince's mother - a cruel queen from the race of ogres. In Puss in Boots (1697), the youngest miller's son is upset when all he gets as his inheritance is a cat, but Puss, once a pair of boots is made for him, turns out to be clever and resourceful enough to make his master's fortune. In Little Tom Thumb (1697), tiny Tom Thumb has to save his siblings from starving in a dark forest, and then from an ogre who wishes to serve them to his friends. In The Fairies (1697), two very different sisters are tested by a fairy, one for kindness and the other for cruelty, and the fairy accordingly rewards the girls with their just desserts. In Ricky of the Tuft (1697), a young prince who is repulsively ugly but brilliantly smart, and a princess in a neighbouring kingdom who is breathtakingly beautiful but insipidly stupid, have the power to give each other what each lacks, but only if they can get over their preconceptions first. Cinderella (1697) is a story about a young woman who is mistreated by her step-mother and step-sisters, but when her god-mother helps her attend a ball, with some impermanent magic, the prince of the kingdom falls madly in love with her. Little Red Riding Hood (1697) is a story about a little girl who makes the mistake of conversing with a sly wolf on her way to her ill grandmother's house. Blue Beard (1697) is a story in which a beautiful young woman marries a ferocious man with a blue beard, who has only one request of her - never to go into a room at the end of the long passage on the lower floor. In The Ridiculous Wishes (1695), Jupiter grants a poor wood-cutter three wishes, but the man is not careful with the desires he lets escape his mouth, and soon must make a choice of how much riches are really worth to him. In Donkey-Skin (1695), a beautiful princess must flee her palace when her father goes mad and disguise herself as an ugly maid clothed in an ugly donkey skin, and comes across a prince who falls in love with her. In Patient Griselda (1695), a prince who mistrusts women finally falls in love with and weds a simple and innocent shepherdess, who promises to be completely patient and obedient, but soon puts the new queen and their daughter through cruel tests of love and devotion. In Beauty and the Beast (1756) by Mme Leprince de Beaumont, a young woman takes her father's place in a ferocious Beast's castle, but finds out that an ugly front hides a beautiful heart. In The Friendly Frog (1697) by Mme d'Aulnoy, a Queen who is taken prisoner by a giantess witch is helped by an industrious and kind frog, who leads the King to the Queen and their daughter, and then, when the princess is grown up, assists in saving her from a ferocious hungry dragon. Princess Rosette (1697) by Mme d'Aulnoy is about a young princess who gets obsessed with marrying a King of the Peacocks, but when her brothers track him down and he agrees to wed her, the princess is betrayed by her nurse and the entire royal family's lives come under great threat.

My rating: 8.5/10.
My review:

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Books

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling.

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Title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
Author: J. K. Rowling.
Genre: Literature, fiction, adventure, fantasy, faerie tales.
Country: U.K.
Language: English.
Publication Date: December 13, 2007.
Summary: The book of 5 faerie tales. A spin-off of the Harry Potter series (as is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), containing stories that children in the wizarding world have grown up on. Every tale is accompanied by Albus Dumbledore's commentary. In The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, after a kind wizard who helps Muggles in his village by pretending that his magic comes from a magical pot passes away, his son refuses to honour his father's legacy, but each time the young wizard turns people asking for help away, the pot acquires the malady instead, and continues to jump after him and make excessive noise until he finally learns his lesson. Dumbledore's commentary discusses how the faerie tale is historically and socially important for the wizarding community, because of its portrayal of wizards helping Muggles, and how many Pureblood families had altered it throughout the years to make it more palatable for their anti-Muggle views. In The Fountain of Fair Fortune, three witches and a Muggle knight, each struggling with great misfortune, get a chance to cross several obstacles to gain admittance to a magical fountain that grants one person a year ever-lasting fortune and good luck, but as they earn their way onward, they learn a surprising lesson about luck and magic. Dumbeldore's commentary recalls a failed attempt to put the story on as a play at Christmas when he was a young Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts, and reveals how Lucis Malfoy's demand to remove the tale from the Hogwarts library due to Wizard Muggle relationship it portrayed, and Dumbledore's flat refusal to, first prompted Lucius's animosity towards him. In The Warlock's Hairy Heart, a wizard performs an act of Dark Magic in order to lock away his own heart and make himself immune to love, but when the woman he tries to win as a suitable wife convinces him to try and put it back where it belongs, it leads to horrible consequences. Dumbledore's commentary compares the spell to making of a Horcrux, and discusses fundamental laws of magic and how altering or dividing the self or aspects thereof most often leads to disaster. The Tale of the Three Brothers (as it appears also in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) is the basis for the Hallows legend, and tells of three brothers that trick Death and each claim a gift from him - an unbeatable wand, a resurrection stone to bring back the dead, and a perfect invisibility cloak that would hide one even from Death itself, and how all but the youngest brother succumb to the vanity and folly of their greed. Dumbledore discusses the legend of the Hallows, the human weakness that is fear of death and a constant need to best it, and the mentions of an unbeatable wand throughout history.

My rating: 8.5/10
My review:

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Books

Fables: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham.

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Title: Fables: Animal Farm.
Author: Bill Willingham.
Artist: Mark Buckingham.
Genre: Fiction, graphic novel, fantasy, adventure, romance, mythology, faerie tales.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: August 1, 2003.
Summary: Travel to upstate New York, where the non-human Fable characters have found refuge on a farm, miles from mankind. But all is not well on the farm — and a conspiracy to free them from the shackles of their perceived imprisonment may lead to a war that could wrest control of the Fables community away from Snow White. Starring Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

My rating: 8.5/10
My Review: