‘Fairest Vol. 3: The Return of the Maharaja’ review
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
You may be asking yourself why I would be reviewing the third book in a series. Well, the answer is it’s in honour of illustrator Stephen Sadowski, who is coming to Vancouver Fan Expo in April, and who didn’t join the project until the third volume. Unfortunately, it’s probably the worst of the series.
Fairest is a spin-off of the Fables universe. At its heart, it is meant to be a series that highlights the heroines. This particular volume comes at us from writer Sean E. Williams, and is about Nalayani, a character based off of an old Hindu myth. She teams up with Prince Charming to save her village from monstrous wolves.
Maybe it’s the conception of Nalayani’s character that’s the problem or maybe it’s just bad writing. Either way, basing the strong female protagonist on a myth where her only defining trait is that she is a devoted wife, in a series which is supposed to be progressive towards women, seems like a bad idea.
As such, this book is the black sheep of the Fairest series, and Nalayani only serves as a catalyst for the return of Charming, the womanizing ex-husband of Snow White and Cinderella, back into the Fables/Fairest narrative. The issues with this volume might explain why Williams wasn’t back to write volume four.
Despite my dislike of the plot, I did enjoy the art. Stephen Sadowski and Phil Jimenez bring back the classic, premium quality I have come to associate with the expansive Fables universe. Highly detailed, with dynamic use of shadow, you can’t go wrong artistically with this series.
For my recommendation, I don’t want to discourage people from picking up this series. Maybe just skip this particular volume. Go from Fairest: Hidden Kingdom straight to Fairest: Of Men and Mice.