A review by ednapellen
Peter & Max, by Steve Leialoha, Bill Willingham

Did not finish book. Stopped at 84%.
This was a very nice read while it lasted. The style of the narration made it feel kind of like I was sitting at a campfire having the story told to me, and the art in the book helped it come alive. 
The pacing was very good and the switches between past and present were always well timed. 
The plot wasn't the most unique, but it had whimsy to it and was engaging. 

All of that in mind, it's a pretty good book. But there was one specific thing that brought me to DNF this. And that thing came to be through the antagonist, Max. 

Max was a very well done character. The embodiment of insanity and evil in a non-appealing way (that note was refreshing, as writers tend to romanticize those things). However, it went too far for my taste. 
I understand what the writer was doing, truly. He was making a villain that you couldn't have compassion for, a villain that really needs to be locked up and seek psychiatric help because he is completely, without a shadow of a doubt, unhinged. He did things that are not in any way shape or form excusable and he doesn't have the excuse of "oh he had a hard past". No, this guy is just mentally ill to a incredibly sickening point.

The way Willingham portrayed Max's thought process, the way he justified his actions at first and then descended into lunacy once he'd done it enough, was brilliant. I was very, very impressed, and watching it happen was kind of terrifying. 

(Mild spoilers inbound, but I do recommend you read on to this part of the review because this may cross boundaries for some readers:) 

As I said, I understand why he did showed the content that he showed. But it got to be too graphic for me, and then at one particular point Max thinks about "touching" Bo, who is a child (if I remember right, she's around nine years old), while Max is fourteen. 
He doesn't "touch" her and it doesn't go into that anymore as his train wreck of a brain quickly moves on to how he could rip her and Peter to pieces. Which is also disturbing (as it is meant to be), because Peter is also a child around Bo's age. 

I didn't like the graphic murder (because again, Max is literally insane and he is not fighting for survival, but for selfish purposes), the sexual references (mild and realistic as they may be for a boy his age), or the entertained thoughts of cannibalism. But the thing that got me to put this book down was that reference to sexually touching a child.
As I said, I understood what the writer was going for. But he was doing it perfectly fine without that bit there, and I really wish he'd left it out. I tried to read on and I got very close to the end, but the whole time that was nagging at the back of my mind and I couldn't read on in good conscience. 

The story, writing, art, pacing, characterization, humor, and whimsy was on point. All things considered it was a good book (as I did almost read it through all the way), but crossed my personal boundaries in that area.

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