Read Fairest, Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja by Sean E. Williams Stephen Sadowski Phil Jimenez Online


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...

Title : Fairest, Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781401245931
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Fairest, Volume 3: The Return of the Maharaja Reviews

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-27 18:55

    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.

  • StoryTellerShannon
    2019-05-02 13:47

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

  • Syd
    2019-05-04 19:51

    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.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-05-02 20:40

    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.

  • Gieliza
    2019-05-05 18:53

    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.

  • Sherry
    2019-05-19 15:39

    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

  • Amber
    2019-05-18 15:42

    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.

  • Jessica
    2019-05-07 20:26

    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?

  • Fang McGee
    2019-05-15 16:34

    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.

  • Quentin Wallace
    2019-05-10 16:43

    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.

  • Travis
    2019-05-09 16:55

    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.

  • Casey Bryce
    2019-05-05 15:42

    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

  • Matthew Brady
    2019-04-30 12:36

    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.

  • Pamela
    2019-05-10 19:49

    For a book presumably about the ladies of Fables, this certainly has a lot to say about Prince Charming.I read this a while ago and don't remember much about it, which is never a good sign. There are books that are so awful that I cannot forget them, and then books that are poorly done and utterly boring, so I forget them. Fairest Vol. 3 falls into the latter category.Somehow Charming has come back to life and is hangin' with his harem in one of the ancient India-inspired Fableworlds. Fine. Whatever. Bring him back. The lady of this volume is Nalayani, whose village has been ATTACKED (egads!) and must thus journey to seek the protection of the Maharaja. Unfortunately for Nalayani, the Maharaja is none other than the recently-dead Prince Charming, who, as we all know, would rather be having bunga-bunga sexytimes than actually ruling anything. Oddly, Nalayani isn't a princess or deity, or other Fable, but rather a villager who bears more than a passing resemblance to Katniss Everdeen. Except Indian. Okay.Basically, this book can be summed up as fighting, fighting, flirting, fighting, COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT FOR CHARMING, fin.I finished this out of spite. I wasn't going to let the utter dullness of the story beat me into giving up. However, I wouldn't suggest that anyone else follow my example and actually read this.Ugh.

  • Michael Cairns
    2019-04-25 17:42

    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!

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2019-04-27 12:42

    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.

  • Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
    2019-05-03 14:32

    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.

  • Scott
    2019-04-27 19:33

    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.

  • Emily
    2019-05-20 16:32

    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.

  • Marquise
    2019-05-07 12:40

    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.

  • Jasmiina F
    2019-04-28 19:45

    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.

  • Drucilla
    2019-05-20 16:49

    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.

  • Ksenia
    2019-05-12 15:52

    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.

  • Sam Wescott
    2019-05-08 16:27

    ...meh. I'm glad to see the Fables universe exploring more cultures. So far we've only dipped our toe in once or twice and it's always super exploitative and stereotyped. The last issue of Fairest with Rapunzel in Japan was a step in the right direction and I think this volume also did alright, although it was far from perfect. First, I really like Nalayani as a character. I liked that the story took place in India and focused on their lore. I like that it even addressed the evils of imperialism, even if it was only lightly and we weren't supposed to get too mad about it (it was pretty White Savior-y, guys. Don't get your hopes up). And you know, I was happy to see (view spoiler)[Prince Charming (hide spoiler)] return. I was surprised when it didn't happen in Fables proper, so it's nice to see him here. But, once again, we have a story that is supposedly about the women of Fables, but it is actually totally about a dude. It's really disappointing.The art was pretty. Nalayani still had the standard Fables barbie-body, but they at least managed to give her an interesting face. The "maharaja" was 100% just Archer, which was funny. The plot was decent, but not groundbreaking. I did like the nature of main character's relationship and the end and that it was left vaguely up in the air. Overall, it was an okay story in an interesting setting with pretty art. But it still wasn't about the women of Fables.

  • Vittorio Rainone
    2019-05-01 14:53

    Poco da fare: Fairest mostra ancora e solidamente come il mondo di Fables possa offrire tantissimo. Pur ricorrendo al solito mezzuccio di tanti comics: il ritorno in vita (e c'è da capire come) del principe azzurro. Ma è sempre davvero divertente vedere in azione questo personaggio che mai amato davvero le sue principesse, ma è stato capace di innaorarsene ogni volta. Qui il contesto è l'oriente di geni, mahraja, magie e ... mutaforma simili a Luca Wolf di Favolandia, fuggitivi come tante altre fiabe e perturbanti come succede nel resto di Fables, per una storia divertente e dinamica, che mette una dannatissima voglia di sapere come sarà il rientro di A-zur-roh a Favolandia. Prima dell'ultimo ciclo di Fables. Ah. Come se non bastasse: Adam Hughes alle copertine è sublime.

  • Michelle Alexandra
    2019-05-07 17:42

    Shah-Ah-Ming... oh dear. Yet I'm a sucker for strong women in fantasy, unimpressed with party boy. (Even if they always do end up falling for him in the end.) But honestly, I was really absorbed with the problems of this little countryside and the jackals... so yeah. That kicked it right back up for me. Also, Indian-inspired settings are so beautiful that I fangirl a little every time.

  • Cara
    2019-05-20 14:39

    fantastic, as always!! the "fables" companion series are wonderful in their own right, but they add that extra layer of insight and information when you go back to the main series - kinda made me feel like i was really in on the jokes :)

  • Daniel Wilches
    2019-05-15 16:37

    Not as good as the othersThe first fairest book set the bar too high, the second was ok, but this one was just interesting enough to finish.

  • pianogal
    2019-05-23 15:39

    Nice to see Charming again. Weird story though. Just not sure where this series is going.

  • Cathy
    2019-04-24 17:38

    Overall it was OK, but mostly because I used the internet to fill in the gaps that the book didn't explain. It was much less silly than the first two books in this offshoot of the Fables series. I liked the use of Nalayani's mythology, but only after I finally looked her up and found out who she was and what her story was. Then I saw that some of the elements in the story follows her myth, like being in love with the older man, and the thing about the finger in the food. Without knowing her story she doesn't even seem like someone out of a myth. I liked that she was so down to Earth and not a typical princess, but then story became much more about Charming than about her and she became a supporting character in her own book, and the series is Fairest, about the women of Fables in a series of the own, it says so on the cover of the volume. Nalayani was tough, capable and just a bit vulnerable, the kind of hero it's easy to cheer for. And I liked the end, I'm not a fan of insta-love. I just wish that Charming was the supporting character in her story and not the other way around.And the first book was mostly a waste of space, even though it was just about her. Was I supposed to understand what the madness that took Tabaqui was? They journeyed together then he was gone in two panels. It was total letdown, there was no point to his part of the story at all. I didn't know until I looked him up afterward that he was from The Jungle Book. What happened to him didn't seem to have anything to do with his mythology, I just don't get any of it. And I'm wasn't even sure I got his name right until I looked him up. I like the idea of using different fonts to indicated that they're speaking a non-English language, it's been a consistent part of the Fables series, but I had a really difficult time reading this one as the font for the entire story. I wish they could have used one that implied India but was a bit easier to read. And this is a small thing, but it really bugged me that her bindi mark was up way to high in her first meeting with Charming, it's almost in the middle of her forehead. It looks ridiculous, like she has a huge zit or something. They go between the eyebrows, it's a chakra point or represents the third eye or is just a beauty mark for some people, but it needs to go down a bunch. Other than that the art was beautiful, rich and detailed and really lovely. Though I did get tired of looking at her cleavage. But that's comics for you. But I thought about marking the book down to two stars because of some of my reservations about the story, but I couldn't with the gorgeous art. I even liked the covers, and I probably whined about them too much on the last two volumes because they didn't match the interiors and represent what was inside, which always seems like a vest odd business to me. But these were lovely and more consistent. So, it was a weak story about an interesting woman who I'd like to have learned more about, and like to have done it in this book and not on the internet. It had its moments, it wasn't the worst story ever, but there was a lot of wasted potential. But I'm glad Nalayani is joining Fabletown, maybe we'll see more of her in the main series before that ends.