Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (2006)
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.
I had heard great things about Fablehaven. It sounds a lot like my kind of book - full of excitement and adventure. I have loved fantasy books since I was a little kid and I wish these books were around when I was younger - I might have actually read books in my age range!
When Kendra and Seth first come to Fablehaven, they have no idea what kind of adventure will await them. They think they are just going to see their grandparents while their parents go on a cruise. The reality, however, is that Fablehaven is home to a group of mystical creatures that most of the world doesn't even know exist. While their parents are gone, Kendra and Seth discover that there is something strange happening around them.
Fablehaven did not disappoint in any way. The characters were perfectly written, and halfway through the book I really wanted to take Seth out back for a stern talking-to...or something worse. He is written so perfectly as a pre-teen looking for adventure that I found myself seeing each of my younger brother's friends when he was that age. While I understand that Seth wants to be a grown up, he's just not yet, which is frustrating for the reader and the character. He reminded me a lot of Harry Potter in book five (when I also hated Harry for quite awhile).
Fablehaven is the perfect blend of fantasy and reality. Nestled safely in our world, Fablehaven is the place we all wish existed somewhere, especially when we were kids. I remember running around my backyard with imaginary faeries and dwarves, wanting to be part of a magic that doesn't really exist. Author Brandon Mull awakens that part of your heart that is an adventurer and dreamer of dreams. Inside everyone is a memory of believing that there was unseen magic in the world, and Fablehaven is the realization of all those dreams.
Final Thoughts: Own it.