Saturday, November 26, 2011


Title: Fablehaven
Category: Fantasy
Grades: 5-8
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Date: 2006
Pages: 351

Kendra and Seth have been sent to stay with the grandparents they barely know while their parents are away. Little do they know that their grandfather is the caretaker of the magical sanctuary of Fablehaven, a refuge for all sorts of faeries and mystical creatures, and their grandmother has been placed under a terrible spell and turned into a chicken.  When Seth captures a fairy, the rest of the fae take revenge, destroying their home and taking their grandfather prisoner.  Now Seth and Kendra, with the help of a naiad turned human and their friends at Fablehaven must restore their grandmother and rescue their grandfather before the great demon Bahamut is released from his prison and destroys them all.

Fablehaven appears to be an attempt to capitalize on and compete with the several successful fantasy novels and renewed interest in the genre that has occurred in the last several years.  While it is a quasi-decent example of the genre, this reviewer found it sorely lacking overall.  The story incorporates a mish-mash of creatures from myth and folklore but the mix of characters seems to give the story the feel of a crazy quilt as opposed to a polished, seamless tale.  The biggest objection however, must be reserved for Seth.  While his curiosity and tendency to not listen is somewhat acceptable at first, his obstinate determination to completely disregard any rules he is given – even after he has experienced severe consequences firsthand – suggest that he is not just disobedient but that he has no care at all for what might happen to him or the members of his family.  Most of the events of the story are caused directly by Seth’s refusal to do what he is told, and his disobedience is not only annoying but difficult to find believable.  Younger girls will enjoy Kendra’s side of the story and her unlikely encounter with the Fairy Queen, and fantasy fans will probably still find merit in the story with its cast of colorful characters and fast-paced action.  Fans of the genre will probably enjoy it, but more sophisticated readers may find some of the characterization and subsequent plot points a stretch.


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