Review - Legends: The Enchanted

I’m sure that many of you out there were told fairy tales as kids like Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and the story of Hansel and Gretel. Many of these tales are far older than the Disney-esque child friendly version we hear. If you think about it, a big bad wolf that eats your grandmother and disguises itself or a witch living in a house of candy waiting to cook small children to eat…these are terrifying tales! What would these childhood favorites, meant to teach life lessons in a way that is entertaining but not frightening, be like if they all originated in the same world? What if that world actually consisted of real evil trying to battle these “legends” of childhood lore?

Legends: The Enchanted attempts to settle that issue. Published by Radical Books, one of the amazing things about this novel is that Nick Percival created, wrote and illustrated it. The monsters involved are very real and very dark. The world is plagued by the wicked and only these legendary figures are strong enough to stop them. These individuals possess magic that charms them, making them for all practical purposes immortal. Cut them, break their bones; these mere scratches will not stop one of the Legends. These elements all combine to form a FANTASTIC story that I think anyone looking for a dark adult revision to the tales will enjoy.

All of the Legends possess various powers that are somewhat suited to their stories. Jack is a giant killer who travels the world ridding people of giants through the use of his charm and a bag of magic beans. Unfortunately he has a taste for drinking and flamboyant finishes that often leaves the towns in worse shape then they started. Red does wear the telltale red cloak and collects herbs in the forest for her sick daughter. There are wolves, horrible looking things that are evil through and through. In this story however Red is a Legend and her blades do more damage to the wolves then I remember her doing in the tale I heard as a child.

Along with many other favorites who appear for varying amounts of time in the story, these Legends have apparently been deemed a liability by the ruling members of society. They seek to have the charmed ones (no relation to those TV witch sisters I assure you) eliminated but in order to do that their protective magic must be broken. Enter the wicked and two sisters with deep powers in magic. They may have found a way to do it and when Legends that have been unhurt and immortal suddenly are vulnerable, their reactions are varied.

What is amazing is that this book incorporates so many different figures from stories, both good and evil. All of their powers seem somehow related to the stories even though, to my knowledge, Rapunzel was not a mutant with long hair that could be controlled to attack people (she did have very long hair though). From telepathic abilities to team attacks to magic beans, everything makes sense while still being totally original. The world is so dark and scary that I can assure you any morals learned here will stick, but for different reasons than in previous children’s stories.

The artwork properly shows a twisted world with hideous creatures, brutal battles and gruesome deaths. The evil people are utterly without remorse for their actions, even if they feel in the end that they are saving the world. Not all the loose ends are tied up, and there are many possibilities for the future in this world. I usually hate loose ends, but in this story they worked. Between the writing, interaction of characters that you’ve never seen working together before and fantastic setting and artwork, this is a book that I cannot recommend highly enough. Happy reading!