Bingo: Myths (and another bingo, with column 4)
This is the 7th volume in the Fables series, and the first to put a focus on non-Western stories. I read the first 6 volumes of Fables years ago and while I enjoyed the setting and the first few stories, it didn’t hook me enough to keep going, so I was curious to see if this collection would spark my interest again.
Reader, it did not.
There is the seed of a good story in this volume; the world of the Arabian fables is invaded by the Adversary, so a few key Arabic Fables visit Fabletown on a diplomatic mission, leading to misunderstandings and the two parties clashing over cultural differences, before striking an allegiance. (Writing that, I realized that I don’t think the purpose of the diplomatic mission was ever explained, and in the end the Arabic fables simply go back to their beautiful version of Baghdad in the Homelands, so I’m not sure why they visited Fabletown to begin with…)
I think that in the hands of a better writer, one with more interest outside of Western stories, this could have been a great volume. However, as it is, the story is very light, and it has absolutely nothing meaningful to say. The story is filled with scary Arab stereotypes, women are used as decoration or as objects to lust over, and only two Arabian stories are explored.
That said, I do still enjoy the Fables universe, and I love how Willingham takes Fables characters traits and uses them to build their ‘human’ personalities. The character of Frau Totenkinder is an absolute delight, and was the only bright point in this collection.