Happy Leap Day!
Today I am excited to review the second book in the Fablehaven series, one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s been so fun to go back through these books. They are exciting, clever, and have great morals.
A few initial thoughts:
- I love this series! This book just helped me remember that even more.
- The betrayal(s) in the book is (are) crazy! Still shocking to me.
- This is another quick read. A bit slower to get started (we don’t get to Fablehaven unlike after page 50) but the middle and end are action packed!
Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull continues the stories of Kendra and Seth. As the school year ends, they find themselves back at Fablehaven. An evil society call the Evening Star is attempting to steal an important magical artifact that is also a key to the demon prison Zzyzx. Three visitors are also at Fablehaven to find the artifact–Tanu (a potion master), Vanessa (a collector of magical creatures), and Coulter (a collector of magical objects). They also seek the artifact. When a surprising betrayal occurs, Kendra and Seth must save the day again. But this time they must avoid a demon bent on eating Seth, avoid being controlled in their sleep, and fight the labyrinth vault to uncover the artifact and save Fablehaven.
I love watching how much Kendra and Seth change in this book. Not only does Kendra find out more about her fairykind powers, but they also learn to work together to overcome large obstacles. I was impressed Kendra chooses to go with Warren into the vault and, overall, keeps her wits and emotions in check. Seth, who annoyed me to no end in the first book, still makes mistakes in this one. But he is not just making stupid decisions. He actually wants to help. I was especially impressed by his actions to defeat the revenant in the grove. He is truly courageous.
Can I just say, how did grandma and grandpa Sorenson keep Fablehaven from destruction on their own? They again are captured and locked up for a good portion of the book. Thank goodness Kendra and Seth are able to overcome their enemies for them.
The new characters are intriguing and exciting; they add a new dimension to this world because it shows the diversity of people with magical knowledge. I love Tanu and his magical bag of potions. I found Coulter to have a softer side that expected (heartbreaking when he gives Seth his “fail-safe” cocoon! And I love that it make Seth able to survive Olloch eating him). Vanessa was the most complex of these new characters. I really trusted her–just like Kendra. And to have her betray everyone was shocking–and her final message written in the prison was even more surprising!
The Sphinx is mysterious, intriguing–and not quite trustworthy. I can’t remember all the details of his backstory. But I enjoyed his contrasting visits with Seth and Kendra. It seems convenient that he arrives in time to take the artifact away (where exactly, he never says). And I remember (and can’t wait to talk more about) the mysterious prisoner he releases from the Quiet Box. A masterfully written character, bravo Brandon Mull!
My favorite plot twist was when Seth defeats the revenant and those albino people regain their minds. Warren is a fantastic adventurer whom I’m glad we see more of in future books. His descent into the vault with Kendra has me on the edge of my seat every time. How does he survive his many wounds and continue to fight? I’m glad he and his brother Dale could be reunited too. I am impressed by the clever and different obstacles they must face and that they survive the guardian’s nine lives.
I love that these books get more complex as the series progresses, but they don’t overextend their scope. What I mean by this is that I enjoy the search for the artifacts and the fight against the Evening Star. But I am glad that we gradually learn more about the world instead of seeing it all at once. Also I appreciate that this series never goes into the cliche “the whole world is a conspiracy” twist. We get to know individuals and get to experience Kendra and Seth’s triumphs and failures. So excited to continue reading!
Have you read Fablehaven yet? What do you think of this series?