Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Review: Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.
Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.
If there is a contender for #1 on my favorite series list, this would be it. Brandon Mull wove an intricate and intoxicating thrill ride that I just couldn't pull myself away from. His imaginative writing kept me coming back time and again for more adventure.
Mull employed the classic quest story plot for his books and used that concept repeatedly throughout the series. It worked very well with his elaborate story.
Seth and Kendra start out as very normal siblings: bickering, pestering, and shooting off sarcastic remarks. In the first book, I found Seth to be very typical of your average pre-teen boy. He was annoying and careless. He thought only of himself and what could bring the most amusement. Kendra was nauseatingly well-behaved and followed rules to the letter. They could not have been more opposite. As the series progresses, so do the siblings. They mature and grow into their personalities, each one developing their strengths and learning from their mistakes. Seth learns how to use his bravery to his advantage, and Kendra learns to step out of her comfort zone and take a few risks.
As a mother of girls, I am always looking for books with strong female characters that my kids would enjoy. Kendra is a wonderful example of such a girl. I absolutely loved her. I loved Seth as well, but since I only have daughters, I was mostly focused on Kendra.
One of the things that makes a good series in my mind is when each book builds off the previous ones. The story continued through each book seamlessly.
If Harry Potter were to meet his match, Fablehaven is the series to do it.
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Paperback: 2512 pages
Publisher: Aladdin (October 4, 2011)