Kind of falling out of love with the Fables series now, and this collection assembles the big crossover with the Jack
spin-off series (which I didn't read past the first couple of trade paperback collections, because Jack is just such
a prick.) So, basically this large story arc is a "time-out" from the large one set up in the previous volume with the new Big Bad, Mister Dark, who barely appears at all here. Instead, Jack comes to the Farm to warn the Fables about a new threat to the entire world: Kevin Thorn, a writer who can literally rewrite reality, and is about to erase all of existence.
Uh, what? Yeah, Kevin Thorn kind of comes out of the blue, though his children and the Literals he spawned were introduced in the first Jack
books. So, since I am not a Jack-of-Tales fan and the whole arc seemed like a distraction, like one of those episodes in the middle of a season of Buffy
where they apparently all decide to forget about the main Big Bad who's been plaguing them all season for one episode, this couldn't get a 5-star rating from me.
That said, I liked all the literary in-jokes. The Literals are the living manifestations of literary devices: the Page sisters (hot censorious librarians with guns), the Pathetic Fallacy, Mr. Revise, Kevin Thorn's dreaded twin, Writer's Block, and the Genres, whom Kevin summons to advise him and then fight for him. The banter between Westerns, War, Mystery, Romance, Horror, Noir, Comedy, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy twins is amusing, though they are the very crudest of genre stereotypes. And in the end, Dex (Deux Ex Machina) appears out of nowhere to offer them a solution. Har har, so meta!
Also, Bigby Wolf finally shows his bad-ass self more than once in this book. Since he's supposed to be the biggest, baddest Fable in existence, watching him become a happily married family man for all these years has had an aura of sad slapstick. In this volume, he does some serious bloodletting -- albeit he does it while trapped in the body of a little girl.
So the whole book is pretty surreal, it's got some humorous bits, and it's got an entire save-the-universe self-contained story arc within, but I will be glad to see Jack wandering back to his own series (he's such
a prick), and I'd like to see Willingham start dealing with the Mister Dark storyline, and hopefully not take the next five years wrapping it up.