I thought by now I'd be over FABLES. I mean, Ten bound volumes, plus those Jack extras, etc.
But no. It keeps me involved and interested and delighted. While the critique that this one is not sufficiently involved with evolving characterization rings true, we nevertheless get some revelations, we get a fun plot with a twist, we get a bit of humor, and we get a trip down to the Witching Well (which, come on, weren't you curious?)
This installment, which harkens more to a traditional hero's journey, a more traditional fable, in this case, Flycatcher's redemptive journey, fills that bill nicely. We see tormented Flycatcher take the reins of his destiny--and, naturally, magic is afoot. His journey twines with that of the Forsworn Knight (another recurring background character who has been tickling curiosity out of me from the start). The two find a way to heal wounds, make amends, and do good. It will affect both the exiles and the homelanders. It's certainly gonna tick off the Big Baddie puppetmaker.
Characterization quibbles aside, and even the complaint that this too easily solves a great portion of the war build-up---well, I'm gonna give the writers credit that they'll find a way to up the stakes, despite what happens here.
This is a story of redemptions, heroism, self-sacrifice, and reaping the rewards of virtue (or the just desserts of baddieness). It's got a happy ending (which I love), and it gives a message of seeking ways other than traditional warfare to bring a resolution (at least in part) and solve problems for the greater community. That's a good lesson. Although, naturally, it's easier done when one has magical armor, Excalibur, and a band of special fighters not limited to traditional means. (Okay, so maybe that does dilute the pacifistic point. Heh.) There's even a nifty ecological message in the climactic battle.
All in all, a wonderful addition to the ongoing storyline of FABLES. I love this series. Top-notch stuff. Can't wait to get #11 to add to my collection.