Fablehaven is the first in Brandon Mull's five-volume series of the same name, and has proven to be a success in the Middle Grade section of the YA genre. After hearing quite a bit about it, I picked it up to give it a try.
Siblings Kendra and Seth are on their way to their grandparents' farm to stay for two weeks because their other set of grandparents had passed away and their parents were going on a cruise with all the aunts and uncles from that side of the family. Little do they know that their grandparents' farm is one of the few remaining fablehavens, refuges for magical creatures of all sorts, built to protect and preserve them from extinction. But all is not well at Fablehaven. Others seek entrance to the haven to gain access to the highly valuable creatures and a strange woman is imprisoned deep in the woods, and even the creatures themselves can be deadly if not treated with respect.
Once the book gets going it is quite good, but I felt it took far too long to get to the point. Kendra and Seth's grandfather does not just come out and tell them what the farm is; instead, they have to unravel the truth themselves, over close to a hundred pages. While this makes a certain amount of sense, I felt like story needed to get started sooner. Once the woman in the woods breaks free, the story really starts gripping you, and from that point I couldn't put it down. The other matter of slight annoyance was the fact that Seth is reckless to the point of being foolish about things that nobody in their right minds would ever do, opening things he's told not to (that are obviously bad). This is obviously a mechanism to drive the plot forward, but it was not handled with the greatest of dexterity. It felt like plot mechanics instead of a character making decisions.
Aside from that minor point, however, the book is rather good and will be enjoyed by young adults (and quite a few adults as well). Recommended.
Review by AT Ross
1 positive reader review(s) for Fablehaven
None from In America
I read this book an I enjoyed it a great deal. It is a book for young adults, most likely preteens. While the book does take a while to get going, after Muriel is set free, the plot takes a 180 and quickly grips you into the adventure. While there is a scene with Grandpa and a Satyr/s and Maddox the fairy broker getting drunk. While there is no detail, it says "booze". Overall, I loved the plot and characters, and the adventure only gets better from there on. P.S. ( I personally prefer the last three books.) Thanks for reading!
8/10 from 2 reviews