Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Book Jacket

For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction.  The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic.  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 keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies.  However, when the rules get broken--Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good--powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her borther face the greatest challenge of their lives.  To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.


Wow.  This book hits so many of my buttons:  a hidden magical world, siblings who actually act like siblings with equal amounts of annoyance and love, supernatural beings who are creepy instead of cuddly, and an adventure with real suspence and last ditch efforts and a finale that brings a sigh of relief and contentment.

No wonder it was nominated for the Caudill award.

I loved Kendra, probably because I could completely empathize with her.  If I was told not to look out a window because there were horrible gobliny creatures partying outside, no way would I look.  Seth is the exact opposite, rushing into danger and relishing adventure.  Like his older sister, I found him unbearable sometimes, but wonderfully courageous at others.  By which I mean to say, both characters felt like real people in a real relationship.  It was great.

As for the supernatural bits, they were fantastic!  I've tried to get into fairy stories, but most of the time I just can't.  Fablehaven is different.  The fairies here are vain, the naiads want to drown you, and the trolls will bargain with you for your life.  I like my fantasy with a bit of menace, and Fablehaven delivers.  Which is not to say it's scary or anything.  Mull does an excellent of job of balancing fear with joy and menace with humor.

Basically, this book is awesome.  Go read it!

Five out of five golems made of earth.

Release Date:  June 2006
Reading Level:  Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  YPL MUL

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