Yes, I read the Cinderella books out of order. This was sloppy of me, but I'm glad I did it.
Fables Are Forever had me just about give up on the Fables spinoffs. From Fabletown with Love has restored my faith.
For one thing, there is a lot more going on here. The Fables all work very hard at keeping their true nature hidden from the mundane world. Now, someone is selling magic items wholesale, and Cinderella has to figure out who it is and stop them before the world wakes up to the existence of real, and powerful, magic. She also has to deal with witches, a fairy godmother, and a handsome stranger who may or may not be on her side. In the meantime, her shoe-shop in Fabletown is being run by a disgruntled employee who wants to make changes of his own.
There are no deep character insights; perhaps Roberson is being kept on a leash in terms of development, but there's a bit from Cinderella's past, some amusing work with her assistant and his Fabletown problems, and enough variety of setting and plot to keep things fun.
It's not quite the heady amazing awesomeness of the main storyline, but it's good, and it's got the same sense of play that underlies them, the sense that the entire world is a treasure box of stories just waiting to be pulled out and played with.
Oh, and it takes place late in the series. If you mind spoilers, don't read it until you're through Fables: The Dark Ages vol. 12 of the main Fables arc. As best I can tell by the dates, you should be safe at that point. If anyone wants to give me a better estimate, send me an email. I really did tumble through the main series in record time, not keeping track of what went where, just so I could findoutwhathappensnext. This makes me enthusiastic, but not terribly helpful about specific volumes.
Fantasy & SciFi Lovin' Reviews
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Links of Interest
Chris Roberson's home page
Shawn McManus's home page.
Got a link or review I missed and should include? Let me know and I'll add it to the list!