Author: Brandon Mull
Publication: Shadow Mountain, 2009
Kendra and Seth Sorenson have resigned themselves to a boring couple weeks at Grandpa Sorenson’s home. They barely knew their Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson, but were forced to go as their parents go on vacation honoring the death of their Grandpa and Grandma Larsen. Upon arrival, they find an expansive forested area ringing a large backyard with gorgeous gardens and crystal clear pool waters. Not only that, but they are given a mystery to solve. Given the first clue, Kendra hunts down the others and unlocks the mystery of Fablehaven. The fact is it is a mystical and magical animal preserve, both dangerous and fantastic at the same time.
With their new knowledge, the two weeks without their parents takes on a new light. Faeries flutter about the flowers and Seth stumbles upon a witch trapped in her cabin. But with the joys comes an insatiable curiosity, one that Seth caves to, threatening the whole household on Midsummer’s Eve. When the morning light finally creeps into their room, they realize they are the only ones left and set out on a journey to rescue their Grandpa.
Brandon Mull spins an exciting and imaginative tale in Fablehaven. The world he creates within the gates of Fablehaven is both rich and well crafted. Kendra and Seth are vivid personalities with strong voices throughout the story. The side characters are filled out, providing realistic dialogue and varying personalities that further the plot.
The plot itself is interestingly laid out, with the main point not being apparent until later in the book. Even through this I was not bored with the novel and the writing moved along smoothly with a quick pace. There are some twists that I did not expect, which I found quite gratifying. Kendra and Seth’s sister-brother relationship adds elements of humor that break up the longer parts of the novel.
I honestly could not put this book down. It was a wonderful read that is appropriate for both adults and children. I would even say this is a great bedtime story to read to your children that you can both enjoy. I was extremely happy to find that I already owned the rest of the series, which I quickly read as well. All in all it was a great read that did not leave me wanting at the end.