|Title: Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague
Author: Brandon Mull
Publication: Shadow Mountain, 2008
“When Mendigo reached Seth, he dipped a shoulder, wrapped both arms around his legs, hoisted him into the air, and sprinted for the house. Slung over the wooden shoulder, Seth looked up and saw a group of dark fairies streaking toward them. They were unlike any fairies Seth had ever seen. Their wings did not glisten in the sunlight. Their raiment did not sparkle. In spite of the clear sky and hot sun, each of the dozen fairies was shrouded in shadow. Faintly, a thin, dark contrail followed each one. Instead of light, these fairies radiated darkness.”
In the 3rd book of the Fablehaven series, Kendra and Seth are separated as Kendra is initiated into the Kinghts of the Dawn and sent on a daring mission to Loste Mesa, another hidden preserve in Arizona. While Kendra is away, Seth is faced with a looming threat on Fablehaven, the Shadow Plague. As creatures of light start to go dark, the continuity of the preserve is questioned. Seth must unlock his own strengths in order to find a cure for the plague or Fablehaven will exist no more.
I really enjoyed the 3rd installment of Fablehaven. Not only did it pick up almost right after the end of the 2nd, but Mull introduces a dual plot line when he separates Kendra and Seth. I also liked how there was more of a focus on Seth and his own special abilities instead of just on Kendra’s special abilities. The dual plots also kept me interested more than a single plot line would at this point in the story. It also introduces the reader to other preserves and creatures in the Fablehaven world, as well as more new characters. This also allows the reader to gain more information about the struggle in which Seth and Kendra find themselves, as well as what they have to do to stop the impending doom.
The introduction of the shadow plague really lets Seth shine. Not only is he given his own special abilities from defeating the revenant, but he is also given more responsibility. Since he is the only one that can see certain shadow creatures and he no longer suffers from magical fear, he is the only one that can end the shadow plague. As the end of the preserve is near, a character from the past appears to help lead the final charge after Seth discovers the location of an artifact.
I like where the series is going. Not only is it increasing in adventure, but the world creation is exceedingly well done as well as the characterization of the many different species that appear throughout the novel. Not only that, but the story is following a main plot which runs throughout the 3 books, acting as an anchor for the reader. I am sure this thread will continue into the next installment as well as another increase in action. I hope that Mull continues to introduce the readers to more preserves, which adds a nice bit of spice to an already interesting story.