I’ve decided to reread the entire Fablehaven series in preparation for the sequel series, Dragonwatch, starting on Mar.14.2017. So for the next 4 weeks it will be the rest of the series, and then I hope to have Dragonwatch read and reviewed for Mar.17.2017. I’ve pre-ordered it and so long as there isn’t shipping issues again it should all work out.
Series: Fablehaven; Book 1
Author: Brandon Mull
ROTS Setting: EU, Modern, Magic, Fairies, Demons
Synopsis: Kendra and her brother, Seth, are on there way to visit their grandparents for a couple weeks. What they don’t realize is that they will be staying at Fablehaven, a sanctuary and preserve for magical creatures of all types. If they aren’t causing mischief themselves then outside entities are causing it for them. Fablehaven is a place of magic and wonder…..but also one fraught with danger.
Recommendation: Highly recommend this series. Early teens and up can easily handle this book. I advise moderate caution with younger readers as there are some darker themes.
This series is pretty amazing. Harry Potter meets the World Wildlife Fund. The plot is simple enough that younger readers can easily follow, but enough depth that even an adult can find surprising meaning. There are some darker themes so parents should be aware and decide if their children are mature enough to handle them.
Kendra is probably the main character of this book, but Seth is one too, especially in later books. Kendra is 14, but she comes across as 12 to me. She’s studious and fell behaved, but that also means she’s a touch shy and less bold especially in comparison to her brother.
Seth is 11, but he comes across as being 9 to me. He’s reckless and oblivious under guise of being brave. He does want to do the right/moral thing occasionally, but gives zero thought to the consequences of his actions. Really, he can’t be trusted to follow instructions and rules are practically non-existent. His real bravery becomes more apparent later in the series but for now he’s usually the cause of most of the drama and horrible events.
In all practicality, Seth’s repeated infractions are extremely dangerous and yet he’s given another chance which he inevitably abuses to break more rules. Why they didn’t tie him to a bed for the remainder of the book (or chose to invite him back in later books) is probably the least believable thing in the series. And there are demons and fairies and other magical critters in the book. Seth’s behavior is a major plot device, but how they continue to allow it and even enable it, especially in these first few books, which undermines much of the premise.
That being said, it’s an enjoyable read. The pace and style are pleasant and enhance the experience. There’s a good bit of foreshadowing. The read is easy but quite deep as well. The main characters are well formed and other than allowing Seth’s behavior the secondary characters are all fairly well rounded too. They’re a touch simple at this point but each feels unique and their actions are in accordance with that personality.
The world that’s been created is a mixture of magic and horror. Streaks of whimsy distract from the reality that magic is not inherently good or bad it’s how it’s used, so the creatures of magic are equally pragmatic and always self-centered. There is wonder to this world but don’t let it fool you.
In summary, it’s a great start to an amazing series. There are lessons to be learned and if you put the age group around 12, then they are quite applicable. I strongly encourage you to check it out.