I can freely admit that I was just happy to have more Bigby and Snow, and that's a huge part of my generous rating. But this was genuinely good. It's very dark and noir. There is some bad language and sexual situations, and the killer is really depraved. Convincing as a murder mystery set in Fabletown can be. The examination of class distinctions and the vulnerabilities of certain groups in society is prescient and delivered in a way that is far from preachy.
I liked the flashback to when Bigby first goes 'straight' and ends up on a little village called Salem during a very important time of history. Sturges interjects content from The Crucible, including John Proctor, and gives a plausible look into the situation and someone who might have helped engineer the situation. Ichabod Crane is the temporary acting mayor. A nastier little bureaucrat couldn't be possible. His hands are dirty since way back. Unfortunately, Bigby has to take orders from him. Bigby's only friend and secret love Snow expects him to play nice, when 'nice' isn't really his thing, and certainly not 'politics'.
I love how this series takes popular and lesser-known fairy tales and integrates them into an ongoing story. The sad tale of Donkeyskin takes on an even deeper poignancy in this story when it's related to a missing persons case that Bigby takes a personal interest in. There's even Mister Toad from The Wind in the Willows and so involved in the mystery.
I am Team Snow/Bigby for reals, and so even though this is a prequel and it's not written as a romance, I can see the spark and the chemistry between them from a mile away. But also that they respect each other. Frankly, Snow seems more open and friendly with Bigby than she did in the first Fables episode, Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile.
I'm absolutely thrilled my library had this, and I'm hoping they continue to get it! I should try to get a copy of the video game.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.