Fablehaven by Brandon Mull


 by Brandon Mull illustrations by Brandon Dorman

  • VOYA: 4Q4P M 
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (April 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416947205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416947202

When Kendra and Seth are sent to spend some time with their grandparents at the family’s estate, the siblings expect quiet evenings, exploring the woods surrounding the house, and lots of boredom.  Both of their grandparents are mild mannered and exceedingly ordinary, so what kind of trouble or adventure could they possibly get into at Fablehaven?  But Fablehaven and their grandparents are much more than they seem.  Grandpa Sorenson is the current keeper of Fablehaven, a last sanctuary for magical creatures governed by complicated rules unique to the magical world.  Seth’s daring puts everyone at risk, however, and it is up to Kendra, Seth, and Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson to make everything right before chaos wins out.

Fablehaven is, simply, magic.  The estate is a dreamy world of dappled forests, enchanted lakes, and bewitched outbuildings, but this idyllic setting is teeming with jealousy, spitefulness, and pure dark magic.  When the balance is upset, the true nature of the preserve is exposed.  The magical creatures that inhabit Mull’s world are darkly comic, and no one acts quite the way your grandmother’s fairytales told you they would.  Sure the trolls are nasty, but they covet shiny objects and technology.  The fairies are gorgeous, but their beauty hides devilish jealousy and pride.  Even the satyrs offer their aid only after garnering a high cost.

The nonmagical cast is equally stunning.  Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson are sweet, smart, and worldly.  They know exactly what they are up against and they are not afraid to do what needs to be done to bring the preserve back to order.  Kendra, the more patient and practical of the siblings, is smart and thoughtful without becoming too goody goody.  And Seth, dear Seth, is just too reckless for his own good, but his sense of adventure spurs everyone to greater heights of bravery and courage.  In the end, each person’s talents are necessary for success.

Though I know you should not judge a book by its cover, illustrator Brandon Dorman has provided an enchanting look for the book.  Honestly, I picked up the book purely because of the cover, and I’m glad I did.  The illustrations mirror the darkly magic setting of the book and enhance the story.

This looks to be another exciting young adult series.  Whooo hoo!!!


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