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 brother 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.
Fablehaven is a great opening book of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. It is about Kendra and Seth’s adventures in Fablehaven, a sanctuary of mystical creatures.
Kendra & Seth. Typical siblings. As the older one, and as a girl, Kendra is more mature, careful, and sober than her brother. Seth, as the younger one, and as a boy, always breaks the rules, and his deeds are the main sources of the conflicts in the story.
Grandpa & Grandma. When Grandpa is out of the scene, Grandma appears and takes over his role. They aren’t distinguishable for me. Both of them are very objective, dispassionate, impersonal, factual, as if they only narrate the story, not participate in it.
Lena. I liked her very much, because she was the only one whose emotions were delineated. I feel sorry for what happened to her, and I hope she will get back at least her memories of her human life.
World-building. Incomplete, somehow shapeless, foggy, full of unrefined elements. You meet many kinds of magical beings, such as a witch, a demon, fairies, satyrs, naiads, an ogre, a golem, a giant cow (well, that was weird, and the scene with it pretty disgusting) and some undefined creatures.
Lots of facts are hidden, and kept in secret. I guess things are going to be revealed during the following installments of the series.
Story and action-line. Lots of information is kept back from the children. As Grandpa says, the reason for that is to motivate Kendra and Seth to figure these things out themselves, in order to make it clear if they are capable of filling in the caretaker position of the haven later. Well, it is really weird of grandparents to test their grandchildren like this, to put them in jeopardy.
As I mentioned above, in the first part of the story, the conflicts mainly come from the breaking of the rules by Seth. After these incidental events, a threatening conspiracy comes to light, and the Society of the Evening Star behind it is mysterious enough to carry many possibilities for the future books.
At the end of the story, Kendra’s bravery and ingenuity is remarkable. Sometimes the best ideas come out of the blue. The final battle is very exciting.
All in all. The story and the world-building have shortcomings, but I’m sure it is an enjoyable read for the intended audience.