Hi everyone! Can you believe it is the last day of March?! I’m sneaking in one last review this month before we officially hit April.
Today I’m here with a review of the third book in the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. Every time I reread one of these great books, I can hardly stop myself from continuing through the whole series. They are that good!
I’m reading one Fablehaven book each month through May. For my previous reviews of this series, see here and here.
*I use spoilers in this post in order to give my full opinion of the novel.
A few initial thoughts:
- I think this is my favorite book so far on this reread. It connects so many dots from previous novels and builds this world of fantasy creatures well.
- The theme of light vs darkness is so well done in this novel. More on this later.
- Gavin and Kendra are so cute. Why can’t it last!?
Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull continues the stories of Kendra and Seth Sorenson whose grandparents are the caretakers of Fablehaven–a refuge for magical creatures. At the end of the summer in which book 2 occurs, a mysterious plague turns creatures of light into creatures of darkness and threatens to overthrow Fablehaven. Kendra is inducted into the Knights of Dawn and goes on a perilous journey to uncover another artifact with a group of Knights including Gavin–a handsome boy who is not everything he seems to be. Meanwhile, Seth befriends a demon and discovers a way to save Fablehaven. When a second artifact is found, the siblings get an unlikely visit from a former caretaker and a lost friend. Together, they must venture to the domain of Kurisock–a demon who created the plague and hold the key to destroying it. Can the Sorensens defeat the darkness? Who is good and who is evil?
One of my favorite elements in this story is the growth we see in both Kendra and Seth. I love that Kendra is really accepting and learning more about her role as fairykind and holds her own during the trip down the artifact vault in Lost Mesa. I appreciated her new strength and courage. Seth has grown even more impressively. He is long past his “opening the window on Midsummer Eve” days. I am glad he gained some new powers in this book and was able to save Fablehaven. I can remember that he still has a lot to learn. But at least his decision making seems more based on logic and courage rather than fun and games.
The supporting characters are also fantastic in this book. I love the sweet love story developing between Gavin and Kendra. When he saves her from the rain beasts on the mesa–my heart swoons! Crazy to think what happens in future books with them. Still one of the greatest plot twists in the series. I also love that we get to interact with Patton Burgess (who we hear so much about as the great caretaker and adventurer of Fablehaven). His ingenuity and courage are inspiring. If only he actually lived in the present all the time. I am excited to read the final books in the series to connect his history more clearly. I love how quickly Lena leaves the pond for him again. Their love story is so beautiful.
There are so many great climactic plot twists in book 3 that make it a book I could hardly put down. From bringing Patton forward in time, to the relocation of the Lost Mesa artifact, to Seth’s immunity to magical fear, to the final battle between light and dark in Fablehaven, this book has a gripping and exciting plot. The ending of this novel is not what I expect and I still sometimes hope it will end differently. But I’m glad light triumphs over darkness. What I love most about these books is that they always surprise me. While I have read these several times before, I love rereading them because the story is so engaging and so fun to get lost in.
I love the theme of light versus darkness in this book because the story shows the strength and power of each side. The draw to darkness (rather than to a fallen state) is quite strong for many magical creatures and the plague spreads so rapidly through all kinds of creatures. But those darkened creatures cannot penetrate the places most connected to light–the pond surrounding the fairy queen shrine and the centaur’s domain. But I also appreciate that this novel complicates the connections between light and darkness. A few quotes sum up this idea well:
“The pendulum swings back and forth between light and darkness.”
“Each human being has significant potential for light and darkness . . . . Being good or evil is a choice.”
Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague, pages 255 & 327
While humans have the ability to choose light or darkness, those choices have consequences. Kendra and Seth make very different choices than The Sphinx makes and their chosen paths differ. But they both believe they are doing the “right” thing. How do we as readers know who is “right”? I think it comes down to who is making decisions that create light and goodness rather than selfishness and dark power. This distinction between light and darkness becomes even more strong in the final books of the series.
I can’t wait to reread book 4 which has one of the craziest and most surprising plot twist I have ever read.
Have you read Fablehaven? What did you think?
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