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Fairest, Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja

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When young Nalayani seeks the help of the Maharaja to save her humble village, she uncovers a secret that could change the Fables Universe forever: the still alive but thought long dead Prince Charming! Collecting: Fairest 15-20


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When young Nalayani seeks the help of the Maharaja to save her humble village, she uncovers a secret that could change the Fables Universe forever: the still alive but thought long dead Prince Charming! Collecting: Fairest 15-20

30 review for Fairest, Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja

  1. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    We find out Prince Charming is alive in this book. It starts out being about a woman in a village and it quickly just becomes being about Prince Charming is who called the Maharaja. I love the Fable series and it's offshoots, but this story didn't seem to have a whole lot of point to it and it felt more like filler. Basically, it's just 'eeh'. We find out Prince Charming is alive in this book. It starts out being about a woman in a village and it quickly just becomes being about Prince Charming is who called the Maharaja. I love the Fable series and it's offshoots, but this story didn't seem to have a whole lot of point to it and it felt more like filler. Basically, it's just 'eeh'.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Is Prince Charming supposed to be a bad guy now? Because that is how he is written. I love and own all the Fables, Jack of Fables and now Fairest. I don't really write reviews, but I wanted to warn people off of this. Don't waste your time. This isn't about women. This is about how Charming treats women. You won't miss any useful information and it is so poorly written, I can't believe it is part of the Fable's universe. It doesn't fill in any gaps about what happened to Charming. And the new fe Is Prince Charming supposed to be a bad guy now? Because that is how he is written. I love and own all the Fables, Jack of Fables and now Fairest. I don't really write reviews, but I wanted to warn people off of this. Don't waste your time. This isn't about women. This is about how Charming treats women. You won't miss any useful information and it is so poorly written, I can't believe it is part of the Fable's universe. It doesn't fill in any gaps about what happened to Charming. And the new female lead will probably have the same, if not better, introduction and back story if she becomes a part of the regular cast in future books. The rest of the characters are throwaways, which is probably why they didn't bother to spend much time fleshing them out. Isn't Charming the mayor who was adamant that there would not be slavery because that was deplorable? Yet here he not only has a harem, he tells one of the guys that if he sees someone he likes, to let him know. What mine is yours. I'm supposed to root for a guy who offers his women as rewards? At best this is the typical male power fantasy. Guy waltzes into to town, with no male competition for the ladies, overthrows the current ruler, not because he is bad but because he isn't strong enough to hold onto power. That's it. That's the mystery. And I am not really summarizing. That is how much time they spend talking about it in the book. A couple of pages. Boom storytelling. This is just bad writing all around with the characters barely more than 2 dimensional. Yes the female lead is "strong." If by strong, you mean that she can fight. Her motivation is bare bones to say the least. Her only purpose is to serve as the motivator for Charming's role in this book. There are two guys who have tension between them and we only know this because Charming tells us there is a history tension between them but he doesn't know what it is. Boom storytelling. They don't even tell you how Charming survives or how he acclimates to the country because apparently he is such a strong fable that his skeleton regrows muscle and skin and he is back to normal in one week at which time, he is apparently fluent in the language and customs. Boom storytelling. And that is how they write everything. They tell you that everything happened instead of showing how everything happened. I'm going to tag everything past this as spoilers. A. A woman is cursed because she is having sex with Charming and dies of it because she isn't in love with him. B. I am really tired of men chasing after women who aren't interested in them. She doesn't want to entertain him the first night on the road, so he has sex with one of his harem members instead. The next day he's all, do you like me now? How about now? Then at the end of the book, you just suffered through an enormous tragedy, so this time I will wait a day before asking what about now? In real life we call this stalking and it isn't romantic. I thought Edward Cullen finally flushed out the last of that trope, but nope, here it is again. C. We know one character is gay because he isn't interested in women. They allude to this again and again. Boom Storytelling. Why bother to write a character when you can trot out an overly used plot device. D. After this story of "empowered, strong" woman, the only choice for leadership is either another man from the outside this world or the only man left in the country. Not the strong female lead? Or any one of Charming's female warriors? E. The book literally ends with an ex-wives, amiright, *wink.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Prince Charming leads the way in Eastern Indian fable and possibly finds true love for a change. OVERALL GRADE: B to B plus.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Syd

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Goodreads First Reads. If this volume had focused more on Nalayani instead of Prince Charming I'm sure it would have been much better. Don't tell me about Prince Charming, I'm not here for Prince Charming. Why focus on yet another male character that only comes close to seeing women as individuals when he thinks they're worth being called a challenge? Also, nice that he sacrificed himself in Fables and managed to end up in a world wit I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Goodreads First Reads. If this volume had focused more on Nalayani instead of Prince Charming I'm sure it would have been much better. Don't tell me about Prince Charming, I'm not here for Prince Charming. Why focus on yet another male character that only comes close to seeing women as individuals when he thinks they're worth being called a challenge? Also, nice that he sacrificed himself in Fables and managed to end up in a world with access to a position of power and all the women he could want. Some sacrifice. Nalayani had so much potential. A leader of necessity and not a desire to have control over others. Her only concern was to protect the people she felt loyal to and fond of - even Prince Charming. PC's presence tainted Nalayani's story, everything he said seemed to constantly undermine what she felt or said (especially her grief). I don't have great expectations when it comes to Prince Charming but it could have been handled better.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    This volume of Fairest is quite different. The lead isn't even a princess. But she is a Warrior Queen in her own right. Nalayani undertakes a dangerous mission to seek help from the Maharajah to save her village from man-eating monsters and encounters a dispossessed Prince from the Land of the Fables, the one and same Prince Charming. Ever the opportunist, Charming takes advantage of his exit from Fabletown, after making an enormous sacrifice in the war against the Adversary. Nalayani isn't his This volume of Fairest is quite different. The lead isn't even a princess. But she is a Warrior Queen in her own right. Nalayani undertakes a dangerous mission to seek help from the Maharajah to save her village from man-eating monsters and encounters a dispossessed Prince from the Land of the Fables, the one and same Prince Charming. Ever the opportunist, Charming takes advantage of his exit from Fabletown, after making an enormous sacrifice in the war against the Adversary. Nalayani isn't his typical conquest (seducing Princesses is after all his niche). Instead, she's a fierce young woman who is passionate about saving her village. The question is, Can she get Charming to believe in doing the right thing in the end, before it's too late? I don't know if I was just in a weird mood, but this volume was creepy to me. I think it was the dhole monsters and the awful situation that Nalayani was facing (and later on Charming). It has a very different feel from the first two volumes, but in a good way. A look at a very different culture from what we typically see in the Fables books. I really liked Nalayani. While Charming shows all of his bad traits in spades, I still came to respect him for what he is. He's like any real life person, flawed, just like I am. I read this one in the right place with my reading of the Fables series, but I would consider this one as having spoilers for Volume 12 of Fables,War and Pieces, so reader be warned.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Well, as with the second volume, this lacked the spirit of the main series. Different writer, an easily forgettable artist and, for a series about the women of fables as it clearly says on the back cover, it gave a whole volume on a male lead, prince charming. Didn't mind to find out what happened with him though, i had a lot of doubts about him dying in the first place. :P Well, as with the second volume, this lacked the spirit of the main series. Different writer, an easily forgettable artist and, for a series about the women of fables as it clearly says on the back cover, it gave a whole volume on a male lead, prince charming. Didn't mind to find out what happened with him though, i had a lot of doubts about him dying in the first place. :P

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    I believe I've read almost everything set in the Fables universe, including the all of the books in the Fairest series. Unfortunately, Fairest: Return of the Maharaja is the weakest volume I've read to this point. The Fairest series is supposed to star the female fables, but I feel like we didn't get a fully fleshed out heroine in Nalayani. Perhaps part of the problem is that most readers will not be familiar with the Nalayani's tale from Indian folklore, but even beyond that, I really felt that I believe I've read almost everything set in the Fables universe, including the all of the books in the Fairest series. Unfortunately, Fairest: Return of the Maharaja is the weakest volume I've read to this point. The Fairest series is supposed to star the female fables, but I feel like we didn't get a fully fleshed out heroine in Nalayani. Perhaps part of the problem is that most readers will not be familiar with the Nalayani's tale from Indian folklore, but even beyond that, I really felt that this was more Charming's story than hers and that she was often shunted off to the side in favor of catching readers up on what had happened to him since his presumed death in the war with the Emperor. And Charming is mostly his regular not-so-charming self when it comes to his behavior and how he became the Maharaja (with, of course, his very own harem). The one bright spot is that Charming seems to be fated to suffer a bit himself in the future, as he seems to have fallen in love for real this time but with a woman who is indifferent to him. The end of the book sets up his return to the main Fables storyline, so he should be turning up there soon. Recommended mostly for die-hard fans of the Fables stories. An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gieliza

    3.5 stars! While I did enjoy the story for the most part, I feel like it's out of place for this series. The original concept for the Fairest spinoff is that it will focus on female Fables. And that's not the case for this volume. Yes, there is a badass female character and her backstory was explored a bit, but this is still undeniably Charming's story. And also what's up with the (view spoiler)[instalove??? I don't know, it just seemed out of character eventho Charming does have a history of fa 3.5 stars! While I did enjoy the story for the most part, I feel like it's out of place for this series. The original concept for the Fairest spinoff is that it will focus on female Fables. And that's not the case for this volume. Yes, there is a badass female character and her backstory was explored a bit, but this is still undeniably Charming's story. And also what's up with the (view spoiler)[instalove??? I don't know, it just seemed out of character eventho Charming does have a history of falling in love at the drop of a hat. I still found it unconvincing. Like Charming only loves Nalayani because he found her to be a challenge. Such an overused trope! I did like that Nalayani didn't return his feelings, but let's be real, it's only a matter of time before she falls for him too. (hide spoiler)] Anyway, it would be interesting to see how Charming's return will impact Fabletown. Next up for this series is Cinderella and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing her again.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sud666

    The Fairest series is supposed to highlight the secret histories of the female Fables. This volume tells the story of Nalayani, a young girl in an Indian village. The men in her village have left to fight the goblin invasion and now no one is able to protect the village from the dhole. Nalayani seeks the help of the Maharaja, but all is not as it seems. In her travels, she runs into Prince Charming. In a way this volume closes off the Prince Charming story line from Fables. An interesting story, The Fairest series is supposed to highlight the secret histories of the female Fables. This volume tells the story of Nalayani, a young girl in an Indian village. The men in her village have left to fight the goblin invasion and now no one is able to protect the village from the dhole. Nalayani seeks the help of the Maharaja, but all is not as it seems. In her travels, she runs into Prince Charming. In a way this volume closes off the Prince Charming story line from Fables. An interesting story, backed up with good artwork, that gave me an insight as to what happened with Prince Charming in the end. The Indian setting was also interesting. While nothing amazing, this was an entertaining volume.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I'd give this four stars if it wasn't part of the FAIREST series. For a series that's supposed to be about the female fables, this book was ALL ABOUT Price Charming. Fables genius lies in telling these ancient folk tales in new, modern ways. This book of the FAIREST series was all re-tread. Writing women as people shouldn't be so hard. But apparently, it is. The art, however, is amazing. Jiménez FTW. I'd give this four stars if it wasn't part of the FAIREST series. For a series that's supposed to be about the female fables, this book was ALL ABOUT Price Charming. Fables genius lies in telling these ancient folk tales in new, modern ways. This book of the FAIREST series was all re-tread. Writing women as people shouldn't be so hard. But apparently, it is. The art, however, is amazing. Jiménez FTW.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Wasn't the point of the Fairest series for the books to be about the women fables? This book is mostly about Prince Charming, who is a great character, but I'd rather see him in the regular Fables title. And for a land of nearly all women, only two women have names and one of them dies due to sex. Really? Wasn't the point of the Fairest series for the books to be about the women fables? This book is mostly about Prince Charming, who is a great character, but I'd rather see him in the regular Fables title. And for a land of nearly all women, only two women have names and one of them dies due to sex. Really?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    Fun storytelling featuring a great female protagonist and great art by Sadowski and the Fables art team. Color art seems dusky over the pencil and ink grey tones, maybe appropriately so. Recommended.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jasmin Chua

    Yes, there's a strong female protagonist, but let's not kid ourselves, this arc is really all about Prince Charming, which makes its inclusion in a title about female Fables rather puzzling. Yes, there's a strong female protagonist, but let's not kid ourselves, this arc is really all about Prince Charming, which makes its inclusion in a title about female Fables rather puzzling.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wing Kee

    Charming arc indeed! So yes if the cover didn't give it away the blurb in the back will, this is the story of Prince Charming's return. The complex character that people love and also hate at the same time gets a tale all his own, of course this being a Fairest titles, the story focused on Nalayani and her interaction with Charming, how was it? Quite good. World: Jimenez's art is detailed and kinetic, but for me it took me a while to get into the groove of it. The framing is nice and clear and th Charming arc indeed! So yes if the cover didn't give it away the blurb in the back will, this is the story of Prince Charming's return. The complex character that people love and also hate at the same time gets a tale all his own, of course this being a Fairest titles, the story focused on Nalayani and her interaction with Charming, how was it? Quite good. World: Jimenez's art is detailed and kinetic, but for me it took me a while to get into the groove of it. The framing is nice and clear and the art supported the story wonderfully. I just like other artists taking on the Fables universe. The world building is strong with an entirely new realm Indu for readers to explore. As expected this is mostly teeming with middle eastern lore and characters, it's a fun world that offers fresh takes on character troupes we are accustomed to in the west. I do wish we had more time exploring this world as I found the small panels of monsters and creatures only made me want to explore this world more. Hopefully we will get more of this place in the future. Story: A wonderful little tale that is paced and written well. The story is clear and the situations are fun. I did however feel the overall story lacked creativity the characters and locals were original and fun, but the story beats were expected and did not offer any surprises. Nalayani's journey before Charming showed up was my favorite sections (despite my joy when he did). Additionally a couple of the characters like the Jackal and Duded were interesting but left the story far too early and I wished their roles would have been greater. A fun story that added a layer to Charming and introduced a wonderful new character to the Fables universe, but lacked creativity as a standalone tale. Characters: Nalayani is an intriguing new character and her backstory is interesting. I liked her personal voice and characterization. She's interesting and I would have loved knowing more about her, but Charming steals the spotlight when he arrives and unfortunately she becomes a supporting character. Charming well, is Charming and his tale of what happened to him was also interesting and expected. I did like the little arc they both went through especially with Charming's realization. Interesting dialog, good characterization but a bit too rushed in its emotional developments. Fun tale, interesting characters marred by a lack of depth in terms of development. I think 2 more issues would have allowed this story to fully breath and made it so much better. Onward with the next book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    I don't hand out bad reviews very often, and especially not one star reviews, but I have to join on the dog pile of negative reviews for this volume of Fairest. For a series concentrating on the female Fables this volume did a poor job portraying interesting and strong women. First of all, the main female, Nalayani, isn't even a Fable, she's just a civilian living in a Fable land. With a rich tapestry of Indian/Hindu Fables/tales/gods to pull from, I have no idea why the author focused on a commo I don't hand out bad reviews very often, and especially not one star reviews, but I have to join on the dog pile of negative reviews for this volume of Fairest. For a series concentrating on the female Fables this volume did a poor job portraying interesting and strong women. First of all, the main female, Nalayani, isn't even a Fable, she's just a civilian living in a Fable land. With a rich tapestry of Indian/Hindu Fables/tales/gods to pull from, I have no idea why the author focused on a commoner. Sure, she can shoot a bow and arrow and apparently single-handedly defends her village from dhole attacks but she quickly becomes a secondary character compared to Prince Charming. Oh, sorry, Maharaja Charming. I guess maybe Charming taking over as Mahajara is supposed to be some commentary on British imperialism in India? But I think that's giving the writer too much credit. Bringing back Charming in the main Fables series would make more sense. It felt like they wasted an entire arc of Fairest just to restore Charming to the main series. The reveal about one of the secondary character's sexuality wasn't necessary and felt shoehorned as some sort of social commentary. If the writer wanted to include this story thread then more details, even subtle ones, should have been included throughout the story. As is it's just Charming saying "yeah, I know you're gay" and a single page of backstory in response. Ugh. The artwork is still a cut above average but still not up to the usual Fables greatness. Hopefully the Fairest series returns its focus to strong, independent female Fables.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael Cairns

    I've really enjoyed the Fairest series so far. Willingham creates great heroines and giving them to others to write is an excellent idea. Some of his off-shoots haven't been as strong as his main series, possibly because he's doing so much! WIlliams does a a great job of writing within the Fables universe. He has a similar style to Willingham and creates the right blend of story-telling with a modern angle. This story sees the return of Prince Charming, moonlighting as an Arabian prince. But the I've really enjoyed the Fairest series so far. Willingham creates great heroines and giving them to others to write is an excellent idea. Some of his off-shoots haven't been as strong as his main series, possibly because he's doing so much! WIlliams does a a great job of writing within the Fables universe. He has a similar style to Willingham and creates the right blend of story-telling with a modern angle. This story sees the return of Prince Charming, moonlighting as an Arabian prince. But the real star of the show is Nalayani. She is both tough as nails and deeply caring. Her motivation throughout, to save her village, drives her on a way that Charming can only marvel at. She is also immune to his charms, which makes for great fun between them. I do have to mention that with the fantastic art of Sadowski, Nalayani is also one of hottest comic characters i've seen in a while :) The action is well drawn and the colouring is gorgeous throughout. My only gripe would be the slightly wooly story surrounding the Dhole. This may be clearer on a second read, but I wasn't sure where the leader came from. Having said that, the dhole characters were great fun once they were given their own space. Another good storyline from the Fables universe. I'm hoping that when Fables wraps up in the next year, Fairest keeps going!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Quentin Wallace

    This one was..weird. As so many others have said, Fairest series was supposed to focus on the female characters of Fables, but this one was more about Prince Charming. This one is set in a Fables world that is basically India, and focuses more on the Indian culture which was a cool change of pace. But other than that the story seemed to have no direction. Prince Charming has set himself up as a maharajah, and he covets a warrior princess who just won't fall prey to his charms. Then Sinbad shows This one was..weird. As so many others have said, Fairest series was supposed to focus on the female characters of Fables, but this one was more about Prince Charming. This one is set in a Fables world that is basically India, and focuses more on the Indian culture which was a cool change of pace. But other than that the story seemed to have no direction. Prince Charming has set himself up as a maharajah, and he covets a warrior princess who just won't fall prey to his charms. Then Sinbad shows up and Charming heads back to Fabletown with the warrior princess in tow. I'm guessing this should continue in the main Fables series, so we'll see. As an aside, I read this series in the single comics issues rather than the graphic novel, and there was a one shot story included about male Fables trying to date the hot female Dryad bodyguard of Gepetto. Needless to say this just don't work out, and this was a pretty funny issue. Really it was much better than the Prince Charming storyline. As usual the art was top notch, as that's really never been a problem in any of the Fables series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    Having been a fan of the Fables series and its spin-offs, I found this volume to be disappointing. Mind you, it's not that I hated the story itself. It was interesting to see Prince Charming again, and the story he had for this book. However, this series is meant to explore the characters of various women. I LOVED the one about Sleeping Beauty and thought it was bloody clever. The one with Rapunzel was not quite as good, but I still enjoyed it. I was not familiar with the character of Nalayani as Having been a fan of the Fables series and its spin-offs, I found this volume to be disappointing. Mind you, it's not that I hated the story itself. It was interesting to see Prince Charming again, and the story he had for this book. However, this series is meant to explore the characters of various women. I LOVED the one about Sleeping Beauty and thought it was bloody clever. The one with Rapunzel was not quite as good, but I still enjoyed it. I was not familiar with the character of Nalayani as I am not as well-versed with Hindu folklore and mythology, so I learned something new from this book. However, it feels like the story focused way more on Charming than Nalayani, I wish more of the original myth of Nalayani had been worked into this story and being more about her. Charming notes that she is a popular Fable since she heals quickly, but compared to Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, she did not have much of a story here.

  19. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    Like the preceding volume, this proves that with the writing reigns handed over to someone else and a focus on one or two characters only, the Fables universe still has some life in it. With the main storyline weary and overflowing with too many sidelined characters and forgotten plots, choosing minor characters allows for compact, self-contained story arcs. This one answers the question: what the hell ever happened to Prince Charming? Well, he lived and ends up in a Fable world centered around Like the preceding volume, this proves that with the writing reigns handed over to someone else and a focus on one or two characters only, the Fables universe still has some life in it. With the main storyline weary and overflowing with too many sidelined characters and forgotten plots, choosing minor characters allows for compact, self-contained story arcs. This one answers the question: what the hell ever happened to Prince Charming? Well, he lived and ends up in a Fable world centered around Hindu mythology. Like the Rapunzel story arc which drowned blissfully in Japanese mythical tropes, this one does the same. Nalayani (Draupadi) is the main female character, trying to keep her village safe from demons and disease. They two meet and lots of wacky shit goes down. It's quite a different tone and kind of story but it builds off the characters well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ksenia

    Loving how this series incorporates other characters from the world of Fables. Plus, who knew Charming could have evolved into such a good person, with so many more layers in his personality? Here's hoping this is not the last we see of him. Loving how this series incorporates other characters from the world of Fables. Plus, who knew Charming could have evolved into such a good person, with so many more layers in his personality? Here's hoping this is not the last we see of him.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Casey Bryce

    Fairest has been a pleasant surprise, featuring fantastic stories that often surpass even their source material (the Fables series). The first volume was wry, clever, and heartfelt; the second a dark, complex exploration of a foreign Fables culture. Both featured wonderful art. And all was well. Until now--this current volume is less about the heroine Nalayani as it is about the return of Prince Charming, who is now the apparent Maharaja, or king, of a distant Fable land. Nalayani seeks Charming' Fairest has been a pleasant surprise, featuring fantastic stories that often surpass even their source material (the Fables series). The first volume was wry, clever, and heartfelt; the second a dark, complex exploration of a foreign Fables culture. Both featured wonderful art. And all was well. Until now--this current volume is less about the heroine Nalayani as it is about the return of Prince Charming, who is now the apparent Maharaja, or king, of a distant Fable land. Nalayani seeks Charming's aid in defending her village from what is essentially a roving pack of wolves, but things quickly go wrong from there. It's a simple, rote, and rather predictable tale, with Charming's typical smugness robbing him of any true likability. Worse, everything Nalayani set out to accomplish at the beginning of the tale is rendered naught by the end, and Charming's sudden evolution in the ways of love feel forced and undeserved. And those are just the larger criticisms; plenty of other developments also litter the plot in pointless fashion, from the introduction of characters that are later killed off meaninglessly to the supposed heroes who treat their enemies with matching cruelty. It's an odd mishmash of plot choices. Nevertheless, a few elements save this volume from complete disaster; Nalayani is a decent addition to the Fables universe, the art work is fine (if not as lush as the previous volume's), and the story's fast pace will still keep readers turning pages until the end. But this is indeed an "okay" read at best. Readers expecting the same level of quality, imagination, and intrigue of the earlier volumes will inevitably be disappointed. Verdict: 2.5 Stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Brady

    Given my dislike of the other volumes of this series (which is a spinoff of Fables) that I've read, I shouldn't have bothered with this one, but I was curious how Prince Charming came back from the dead. Turns out he survived the explosion that supposedly killed him, and then went on to become a Maharaja in Indian-Fables land, with a harem of beautiful women, of course. The story here actually follows a young lady from one of those beleaguered villages that often show up in stories like this, an Given my dislike of the other volumes of this series (which is a spinoff of Fables) that I've read, I shouldn't have bothered with this one, but I was curious how Prince Charming came back from the dead. Turns out he survived the explosion that supposedly killed him, and then went on to become a Maharaja in Indian-Fables land, with a harem of beautiful women, of course. The story here actually follows a young lady from one of those beleaguered villages that often show up in stories like this, and she seeks out his help, they have an adventure, etc. The big plot point here is that he falls in love with her, and it's his first experience with true love, all because she didn't get grossed out when he was sick at one point. It's supposed to be a big deal, but it just abruptly happens, with a major character change just coming out of nowhere. Kind of a symbol of where the Fables series is at this point in its existence, although this sort of poor writing is much more likely to happen in the spinoff series that are written by someone other than Bill Willingham. Aside from that complaint, there are some action scenes that are so hard to follow they might as well just have had the characters show up in the next scene and say they were glad they survived, and the appearance of some other ancillary characters from the Fables universe is another abrupt and coincidental revelation that not only doesn't work, but is actually rather grating. This is not a good comic; I would have been better off skipping it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    As a Prince Charming book this was an ok read - probably 3 stars - even if his characterization was iffy in several ways. But the fact that this reads as a Charming story when the entire point of the Fairest spin-off series is to focus more on the ladies of Fable is... problematic, to say the least. Yes, there is a 'strong' female protagonist in Nalayani, if by strong you mean capable of fighting, which is kind of how a lot of authors write strong women... but it doesn't help that she mostly serve As a Prince Charming book this was an ok read - probably 3 stars - even if his characterization was iffy in several ways. But the fact that this reads as a Charming story when the entire point of the Fairest spin-off series is to focus more on the ladies of Fable is... problematic, to say the least. Yes, there is a 'strong' female protagonist in Nalayani, if by strong you mean capable of fighting, which is kind of how a lot of authors write strong women... but it doesn't help that she mostly serves as a way to introduce Charming to the story, and also to act as a foil for his romantic interest. It was a quick read, and the artwork was really good - a return to form after some weaker entries in both series - but the story was out of place in this series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)

    This was a weird one for Fairest, mainly because for a series about the women of Fables this was all about Charming... sigh, it was nice when everyone thought he was dead. In general I'm not 100% sold on the Fairest spin-off. They're fun, but there is no real throughline, it picks and discards random women to focus on. Plus, what's the chronology going on here? Because I read 'Fairest in All the Land' first, because it came out first, but Charming was alive and no explaination was giving, till I This was a weird one for Fairest, mainly because for a series about the women of Fables this was all about Charming... sigh, it was nice when everyone thought he was dead. In general I'm not 100% sold on the Fairest spin-off. They're fun, but there is no real throughline, it picks and discards random women to focus on. Plus, what's the chronology going on here? Because I read 'Fairest in All the Land' first, because it came out first, but Charming was alive and no explaination was giving, till I read this... unless the individual issues came out first, this was totally confusing to me, but whatever. Also, side rant, I hate how they "ethnically" change the fonts.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    The first Fables story to make Prince Charming a likable character. I was not familiar with Nalayani before, and when I looked her up, I suspected she could be used by Willingham for smut, but Williams does the opposite with Willingham's blessing. Nalayani is a great new addition to the world of Fables, the art is amazing, and although the final plot twist is pretty obvious (it doesn't look like a secret in the art work, anyway), this is almost as satisfying a read as The Hidden Kingdom, which i The first Fables story to make Prince Charming a likable character. I was not familiar with Nalayani before, and when I looked her up, I suspected she could be used by Willingham for smut, but Williams does the opposite with Willingham's blessing. Nalayani is a great new addition to the world of Fables, the art is amazing, and although the final plot twist is pretty obvious (it doesn't look like a secret in the art work, anyway), this is almost as satisfying a read as The Hidden Kingdom, which is the most satisfying Fables story I've read except perhaps The Good Prince.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marquise

    I was expecting to not like this due to the amount of negativity, but surprisingly, I did like it. This would've been better as part of the main series rather than a spinoff on its own, that much is true, and the writing did need more polishing, plus more on Nayalani wouldn't have hurt. The art, however, is great, and I loved to see Charming with new overall appearance, and for that much I'm giving this one a higher rating. I was expecting to not like this due to the amount of negativity, but surprisingly, I did like it. This would've been better as part of the main series rather than a spinoff on its own, that much is true, and the writing did need more polishing, plus more on Nayalani wouldn't have hurt. The art, however, is great, and I loved to see Charming with new overall appearance, and for that much I'm giving this one a higher rating.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    4.5 stars. Finally, a Fables book worthy of the earlier ones I loved. It's been a while since I've enjoyed something in the Fables universe so much; but after reading this, I'm glad I kept up with the Fairest spin-off series. Since it doesn't look like Bill Willingham was heavily involved in this one, I don't know how that bodes for the wrap-up of the main series, if it will be as good. What I do know is that I'll be looking for other work by the artists and writers of this book. 4.5 stars. Finally, a Fables book worthy of the earlier ones I loved. It's been a while since I've enjoyed something in the Fables universe so much; but after reading this, I'm glad I kept up with the Fairest spin-off series. Since it doesn't look like Bill Willingham was heavily involved in this one, I don't know how that bodes for the wrap-up of the main series, if it will be as good. What I do know is that I'll be looking for other work by the artists and writers of this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jasmiina F

    My biggest problem with Fairest is that it’s supposed to be about the female fables, but so far it really hasn’t been. Like this volume was mostly about Prince Charming which is kind of annoying. I liked this volume but it bothers me how little these stories tell about women. As a story about Charming this was pretty good.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Drucilla

    While I like this story and I'm excited to see where it goes from here, it doesn't really keep the spirit of this spin-off series. Nalayani is a strong, beautiful woman, but I want to learn the backstories of characters we already know. This story just felt like an excuse to catch up the audience up on what Charming's been up to. While I like this story and I'm excited to see where it goes from here, it doesn't really keep the spirit of this spin-off series. Nalayani is a strong, beautiful woman, but I want to learn the backstories of characters we already know. This story just felt like an excuse to catch up the audience up on what Charming's been up to.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fizzgig76

    Reprints Fairest #15-20 (July 2013-December 2013). The village of Nalayani is being besieged by bloodthirsty dholes that threaten the livestock and the villagers’ lives. In a desperate attempt for help, Nalayani sets off on a journey to the palace to meet the new Maharaja. Nalayani is about to learn the Maharaja’s name is Charming, and Prince Charming discovers that Nalayani could give him something he’s never experience before: true love. Written by Sean E. Williams, Fairest Volume 3: The Return Reprints Fairest #15-20 (July 2013-December 2013). The village of Nalayani is being besieged by bloodthirsty dholes that threaten the livestock and the villagers’ lives. In a desperate attempt for help, Nalayani sets off on a journey to the palace to meet the new Maharaja. Nalayani is about to learn the Maharaja’s name is Charming, and Prince Charming discovers that Nalayani could give him something he’s never experience before: true love. Written by Sean E. Williams, Fairest Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja is a DC Comics title under the Vertigo imprint. Following Fairest Volume 2: The Hidden Kingdom, the collection features art by Stephen Sadowski, Phil Jimenez, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Russ Braun, Meghan Hetrick, Christian Alamy, and Jose Marzan. While Jack of Fables felt like an entirely different series than Fables, Fairest feels a lot like the core series Fables. This volume has a leading woman, but it also pairs her with one of the leading men of Fables: Prince Charming. With that in mind, despite not being written by Bill Willingham, this entry of Fairest feels like a Fables story. This is a bit of a different outing for a Fables story in that the Nalayani character is basically an adaptation of the Indian tale Mahabharata which is unfamiliar with a lot of Western cultures (I know I hadn’t heard of it). Nalayani’s character shows patience and events like the leprosy were part of the original tale. The basics of the story are placed in the context of the bigger Fables world (the men of Nalayani’s village leave to fight the Adversary and never return), and Prince Charming becomes the man enamored with Nalayani. Though Nalayani is the feature of the collection, it feels a bit odd to give so much time to Charming, but the Charming aspect of the story does highlight her virtues. She’s strong, independent, and giving. Charming has always been a taker…and it is interesting to see the tables flipped on him. With solid art and a story that feels less familiar than some of the other Fables tales, this is a decent collection in the run of Fairest. I still argue that it could have fit in Fables just as well as Fairest, but you could only have so many excursions and limited series. If you skipped Fairest and only stuck to the core Fables series, this collection might give you the Fables fix you’ve been missing. Fairest 3: The Return of the Maharaja is followed by Fairest 4: Of Mice and Men.

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