Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

Peter & Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham, Narrated by Wil Wheaton

Genre: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2009
Length: 8 hours, 3 minutes
Read by: Wil Wheaton
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
The story of Peter Piper, his wife Bo Peep and Peter’s older brother Max in a prose novel spinoff from the Fables comic series.

Why I Read It:
Working my way through the Fables series made reading this inevitable.

The Book:
From the publisher:

When an unspeakable tragedy befalls a family of traveling minstrels, they become stranded and left for dead. Here in the heart of The Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encounter ominous forces that will change them both irreparably. Thus begins an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day when their deadly conflict surfaces in the placid calm of modern-day Fabletown.

My Thoughts:

Our tale, the one that couldn’t quite remain a simple love story, begins then in Fabletown and almost immediately moves up to the Farm. It happens because a witch learned something that she told to a beast, who phoned a wolf, who in turn called his wife’s twin sister, who never was a princess but perhaps should have been.

I had been worrying a bit about reading this standalone prose novel that is connected to the extensive Fables comic series by Bill Willingham. I was so used to experiencing his stories in comic format that I wasn’t sure how I would like this. The print edition has illustrations but they’re just scattered here and there in the novel. Then I discovered that not only was there an audio edition but that one of my favorite narrators, Will Wheaton did the narration. That made buying the audio an easy decision.

I’m so glad I made that decision. I’m not sure I would have liked this as much if I had read the print format. It’s a story that benefits from being told to the reader.

Wil Wheaton is a great narrator. With previous audiobooks I’ve listened to that he has narrated he hasn’t done much voice characterization. He surprised me be doing so with this book. Then I realized that his other audiobooks I’ve listened to have both been told by the main character so it makes sense that he’d narrate them as that character. Anyway, most of the voices in this one work well. I’m not sure I’m a fan of the way he does Bigby Wolf but the rest work well.

You don’t have to be familiar with the Fables comic series to appreciate this book. There’s enough of an introduction at the beginning to set the stage and world. If you like interesting reinventions and retellings of familiar fairy tales and legends I recommend listening to this one.

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration