Book Review Day| Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven + fun poll


It’s been a while since I dipped my toes in magical fantasy so I made that my purpose when I last visited the bookstore. Of all the delectable options, Fablehaven gripped me the most.

Fablehaven is the 1st book in a series of 5 that narrates the adventures of siblings Kendra and Seth as they battle dark forces that threaten to destroy Fablehaven – a secret nature preserve for fantastic mythical creatures.

From the back cover:

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world.  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 give relative order among greedy trolls, mischevious satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies.  However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives.  To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

I picked up this book with the intention of completely losing myself in its pages, and it didn’t disappoint. Written for children ages 8-13, the story is highly imaginative and wonderfully absorbing.

As soon as Kendra and Seth are left with their grandfather while mom and dad go on a cruise, mayhem ensues – primarily because of Seth’s curious and disobedient nature. Initially Grandpa is trying to keep his role as Fablehaven’s keeper a secret from the 2, but Seth seems to enjoy breaking rules and Kendra is just too observant. Soon enough the 2 are up to their neck in fantastic discoveries, almost all leading to some level of trouble.

Many times while reading the book I wanted to throw it against the wall or something as Seth would be out to break Grandpa’s rules for the nth time. The 11 y.o. is just annoyingly insatiable! Even after being turned into a botched walrus for inadvertently doing something bad to the fairies, he still doesn’t learn his lesson and remains the curious dare-devil that gets everyone in trouble.

The other sibling, 14 y.o. Kendra, is more to my liking. Observant and yet obedient, she is the one who succeeds in saving Fablehaven in the end. Her obedience offers her protection and her laid-back smarts allow her to unleash a powerful force that’s never happened before.

The way I see it, we’d all be dead without Kendra as Seth is all brawns and not quite enough brains. (Can you tell I’m still so miffed at Seth? LOL!) I find myself imagining the story without Seth, I think Kendra’s observant nature would be enough to unfold one adventure after the other. But maybe the author also want the readers to ponder on the price of disobedience. There’s a handy reader’s guide at the end of the story that explores just that.

In closing, I truly enjoyed the magical ride I took within the pages of this book. I found it impossible to take breaks in between chapters, the excitement already starts brewing by chapter 2 and doesn’t relent till the end. The setting is novel, the characters relatable, and the pace nail-biting. I also like that it has a few well-executed illustrations scattered throughout the pages to help imagine Fablehaven.

~~ O ~~

And now for my book/reading related poll:  ebooks or real, physical books?  You can tell me your reasons in the comments section 🙂

~~ O ~~

Book Review Day is a monthly blogging event hosted by the wonderful Nivedita at Weird and Wonderful.