Rummanah Aasi
  Fablehaven is a popular children fantasy series. Some reviewers have herald the series like Harry Potter that has captured the heart and minds of a wide reading audience. There are five books in this series. I just finished reading the first volume of this series, which appeared on last year's Rebecca Caudill list.

Description: Kendra and Seth are forced to stay with their absent grandparents from their dad's side while their parents go on a cruise with their uncle and aunts. At their grandparent's estate, they find themselves in the midst of a battle between good and evil when they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures.

Review: I was looking forward to reading the Fablehaven series. I've heard lots of good things about the book from avid young readers who visit the library. Unfortunately, I had a high expectation of being swept off my feet in an exciting adventure. Instead of being a quick read, Fablehaven is quite repetitive and a slow starter.
  Siblings Seth and Kendra are dropped off by traveling parents at their grandfather's isolated Connecticut estate. After being told they are not allowed to roam outside of the estate, they quickly break this rule and soon discover his home is a secret haven for magical creatures, both good and deadly. While there is a system that holds the characters responsible of their actions, the laws are conveniently malleable and provides the context of the book's climax.
  I didn't care for any of the characters. I thought Seth and Kendra acted younger than their age and they irritated me, especially Seth. The first half of the book is cyclic and tedious in which Grandpa issues a stern warning of what not to do; Seth ignores the warning, does some mischief to see what happens and then he feels sorry. While this device might be used to be humorous, I felt that it took me out of the story and slowed my reading very much. I did like Kendra a little more towards the ending where she finally is able to stand on her own two feet but it comes very late in the long drawn out climax.
  There are many magical creatures introduced in the story, ranging from fairies to golems to witches. I felt these creatures were introduced right after one another and after a few chapters, they seem to blur. While there are some comical moments in the book that made me smile, I wasn't sure where the story was going at times. The ending wraps things up quite nicely and a few questions linger, though I'm not too excited to continue reading the series.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are some scary situations for younger readers, but it should be okay if the book is used as a family read aloud. Suitable for Grades 5 to 8.

If you like this book try: Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman, Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black
4 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Too bad about the repetition in this one, that would definitely be bothersome for me as well. If he ignored his grandpa one or two times that would be okay, but any more than that and I would be forced to roll my eyes:) Thinks I'll pass on this book for now!

  2. Excellent and fair review. I think that if a story is going to be a fantasy/adventure of sorts, then the plot needs to be steady and swift. A shame there was no character connection, as well.

  3. Jenny: Exactly! I kept rolling my eyes and thought, "How long until Seth breaks the next rule?" There wasn't anything that could capture my attention.

    Linds: Yeah, I was expecting a beginning of a large plot arc since there are five books in this series and was a bit surprised how this one seem to pretty much wrap up.

  4. My husband adores this series. I read the first book and thought it was okay. Kind of like you. I think if I wasn't comparing it to HP in my head, I would like it better. It seemed a bit juvenile, unlike HP which can appeal to all readers.

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