Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

“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.”  Product description.

I like the sanctuary idea and I was intrigued by Lena’s storyline.  That said, a few details prevented me from enjoying the book.  I strongly disliked Seth—I know he’s a curious kid but his constant rule-breaking and recklessness grated on my nerves.  More than that, I hated the fact that he didn’t release the fairy he captured—he recognized her fear and he ignored it.  Although I liked Kendra, I had a problem with her using Seth to test the milk—really?  I wasn’t always the best big sister but if I were afraid drinking something might harm me, I would not have given it to my brother to drink.  I also think that given the nature of the sanctuary, the grandfather would have had a better plan in place to keep the kids out of the woods—it wouldn’t have worked of course, but he would have had a better plan in place.  Finally, I’m bothered by the lack of connection between the human caretakers and the magical creatures; I understand some of this stems from the creatures’ relative lack of regard for people, but as the Sorensons are caretakers, I’d like them to indicate some fondness for their charges.  Instead I see the caretakers taking advantage of the Brownies’ skills and the Golem’s strength, not to mention casually trading creatures between sanctuaries.

I love the concept of Fablehaven but I need to love the characters as well so I’m not sure if I want to continue reading the series.  I am curious about Dale and Warren though . . . .  Now that Seth has a better understanding of Fablehaven, he may annoy me less, so maybe I will give Rise of the Evening Star a try.  *Regardless of my feelings about Seth, I do believe Fablehaven has huge appeal for kids.

For more information about this series, please visit http://brandonmull.com/site/

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