A Whole New World, like Harry Potter’s; Book Review: FableHaven

By in Book review, Brandon Mull, Children's Book, Fablehaven, Kendra Sorenson, Seth Sorenson, YA Novel, Young Adult
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FablehavenI’ve had more people then I can count on one hand come to me to find out what all the appeal is in Harry Potter. I usually try to explain the Harry Potter phenomenon from the perspective of a writer and a fan of the fantasy genre. And that explanation goes something like this: Basically, there is an entire world in the (Harry Potter) books that is so incredibly detailed and fascinating, that fans would give anything to live there. And reading about it is never boring, no matter how many pages make up the entire book. etc. etc. ( I could write multiple thesis’ on this subject)

I explain this type of stuff with the passion of a politician during election season. The reason being, that I love books that work. I have the attention span of a fly and therefore cherish literature that can capture me. I came a cross a book this weekend, while cleaning up, that reminded me of very developed fantasy that is similar to Harry Potter. It is isn’t new, but it is a really good series and so worth reading.  Below is a short review for those looking to discover a new world.

Book Specs

Author: Brandon Mull
Age:  Children’s book
Year: 2007
Genre: Fantasy
Book One of 5 book series
Fablehaven on Goodreads
 Buy Fablehaven here

Summary

Blurb:

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world.  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 give relative order among greedy trolls, mischevious satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies.  However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives.  To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

Spoiler free (Well, as much as possible);

When I first read Fablehaven, I thought it was going to be too young to interest me. Like always, I forget that good writing can intrigue anyone to like a middle school book. Fablehaven is  a sanctuary for the endangered fantasy realm that now exists in the backyard of Kendra and Seth’s grandparents house. Grandma is M.I.A. and Grandpa is taking care of the two grandchildren, while their parents are on vacation. Grandpa is also the care taker of this sanctuary, much like a keeper of an extinct area. The secret of Fablehaven isn’t turned over so easily. Grandpa makes the two kids discover the secret of sight, which will allow them to see Fablehaven in its full splendor, by resolving hidden clues that lead to a very particular magical drink. This drink gives them the ability to see all of the magic that is invisible to the naked eye. That’s when the average woods turns into something completely different.

As magical as fairies nymphs, and fantastical beings may sound, what sets this book apart is the animalistic nature of this natural habitat. There is no such thing as  good and bad. Like animals, anyones experience can become dangerous because these creatures are wild and therefore,  run on their own rules. It just makes so much sense for these creatures to be unpredictable. In an attempt to keep Kendra and Seth from the dangers that may lurk in this sanctuary, Grandpa tells the kids not to enter the woods. Later through Seth’s curiosity, we discover that a witch lives in these parts.

Kendra and Seth’s ability to navigate through this world will take you through unexpected adventures. You don’t know what they will encounter and if they will be able to protect themselves if it comes to that. But the reason Grandpa allows certain things to happen, even after he has forbade them, is because Kendra and Seth will eventually inherit Fablehaven and become the caretakers of the property.

Story

The text was incredibly well written and didn’t read like a simplistic book. Sometimes in an attempt to appeal to a younger crowd, writers simplify the writing to the point of pure boredom. This is not the case here. There are a lot of solid lessons on cause and effect or the consequences to actions. Disobeying Grandpa has some sever consequences, these kids learn the hard way, but they learn! There is, of course, the bickering between siblings, which can only make sense. There’s no way two kids are going to go through hell and back, and not have something to fight about. And the detail and assortment of the magical beings, is amazing.

 

Let's talk about it! What do you think?

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