One reading goal I have in 2016 is to reread some of my favorite books and blog about them. So here I am with a review of book one in the Fablehaven series.
This series is fantastic. It’s right up there with Harry Potter for me. I think the story telling is so clever and engaging. And the protagonists are easy to relate to and cheer for.
A few initial thoughts:
- This is a reread for me. But I got pulled into the story just as intensely as the first times I have read these books.
- I love the different creatures we meet in this book–fairies, satyrs, naiads, a witch, a demon, a troll–the list goes on! These characters make the books so engaging and fun for all ages.
- I also enjoy the setting of this novel–in our world but with a magical twist.
- The reading level is probably about middle grade. So I flew through this book easily.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull follows the story of Kendra and Seth, sister and brother, who visit their grandparents for two weeks during summer vacation. While there, they learn that their grandfather is actually caretaker of the magical creature preserve called Fablehaven, and they learn the importance and difficulty of keeping peace on the preserve. When Seth opens a window on Midsummer’s Eve, grandpa is taken prisoner, a demon is set free, and the preserve will fall. Kendra and Seth must fight for their family, their new friends and the safety of the preserve. Can they defeat the demon Bahumat and the evil witch Muriel? And, more importantly, can they keep Fablehaven safe from those who would like to see it fall?
The writing in this book is easy to follow and keeps the plot moving quickly. Right away, Kendra and Seth arrive at Fablehaven, uncover the secret about the magical creatures, and get caught up in the quest to save Fablehaven. Because there is so much action, the book is easy to get into and, I think, easy for young readers to get excited about. The focus is definitely on the plot and the story, rather than character development and descriptive settings. So I enjoy getting sucked into the story, but I would like more character development.
That being said, the main characters are only 13 (Kendra) and 11 (Seth). So they act like kids. I identified more with Kendra because she is the older sibling and more responsible. And I think I would be likely to follow the rules and enjoy watching the fairies in the garden. I love that her goodness and innocence is what helps save the preserve in the end. Seth drove me crazy at times. From his capture and (accidental) transformation of the fairy into an imp to opening the window to let the dark creatures into the house, I just wanted him to stop and think for a minute! Of course, he is an eleven year old boy. And that is why we don’t see eye to eye.
We really do not get much about the other characters, but what we do learn about them is important. My favorite character is Lena. Her choice of love over immortality is beautiful. And her kindness and service are both applaudable. I was sad, like Kendra, with Lena’s fate at the end of the novel. Grandma and Grandpa were impressive caretakers, especially considering their ages. But what would happen if Kendra didn’t save the day? Their intentions are in the right place, but they weren’t able to completely follow through.
The theme of light versus dark begins in this novel and plays a larger role later in the series. I find it interesting that the preserve is a refuge for creatures of both light and dark–and grandpa does not venture into some places on the preserve. While the treaty of the preserve keeps relative order in Fablehaven, the creatures of darkness are evil. The ending of the novel shows this distinction.
Speaking of, I love the ending of Fablehaven. Kendra’s plea to the fairy queen and her fairy army is awesome! I especially appreciate that light overcomes darkness. The fairies kiss imps and change them into fairies. The fairies bind and imprison Bahumat again. Everyone is restored to their true form. And good triumphs over evil.
This novel makes me excited to continue the series again. In fact, I had to stop myself form just continuing with the next book (because I had other things I needed to read first!) A great first book!
Have you read Fablehaven?
Which is your favorite book in the series?