Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book Reviews | Fablehaven #1-5 by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven is a middle grade fantasy series from Brandon Mull.

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.

Not only is my 10 year old now reading from my bookshelves, he's selecting books I haven't read yet. I admit to being jealous when he started reading Fablehaven. During this first book, he thought the series was one step below Harry Potter, but it managed to surpass Harry Potter in the second book. After finishing book two, he made a comment about how badly he wanted me to read this series so I threw my TBR out of the window. Sorry commitments, I'll come back to you some day!

I have my doubts that Fablehaven will surpass Harry Potter for me, but it is a great series! I really loved this first book, and I'm excited by how much my son loves reading fantasy. He has an amazing year of reading ahead of him.

Fablehaven is a sanctuary for mystical creatures. That sounds lovely and all, but mystical creatures are arrogant and dangerous. The main characters in Fablehaven discover their grandparents are the caretakers of Fablehaven, and a lot of adventure ensues. I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the series. It's a middle grade book, and while it's magical and adventurous, it goes to some really dark places, too. I highly recommend this one to middle grade fantasy fans. If you don't read middle grade (I'm sorry to hear that), this is a great series to gift a young reader who does.


Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother Seth find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures.

Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists -- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper -- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power.

Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world.

Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble?
Why is this not a movie series?

I'm really enjoying the Fablehaven series. It is just the pick me up I've been needing lately, and I'm having a blast reading this series with my son.

The creatures and the action and the roles of the main characters really kicked into gear in this second installment. I love that the main characters are brother and sister. Brandon Mull writes kids so well.


Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

Very strange things are afoot at Fablehaven. Someone or something has released a plague that transforms beings of light into creatures of darkness. Seth discovers the problem early, but as the infectious disease spreads, it becomes clear that the preserves cannot hold out for long. In dire need of help, the Sorensons question where to turn. The Sphinx has always given sound advice - but is he a traitor? Inside the Quiet Box, Vanessa might have information that could lead to a cure - but can she be trusted?

Meanwhile, Kendra and members of the Knights of the Dawn must journey to a distant preserve and retrieve another hidden artifact.

Will the Society of the Evening Star recover it first? Will the plague eclipse all light at Fablehaven?

Grip of the Shadow Plague took a turn toward the darkness! A shadow plague is taking over Fablehaven and turning the light creatures into dark creatures. YES! Only it wasn't dark enough for my sick and twisted soul. Give me all of the darkness!

I'm still really enjoying this series. The kids are evolving and becoming much more independent characters. I'm a little sad by this because I enjoyed the presence of their grandparents in this series. Parents always disappear in MG/YA books. I understand why, but I would like to see more books where the parents are present.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the next one. We get dragons!


Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull

Brace yourself for a shocking secret.

Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton’s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap — a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth?

The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next?

Book 4 of the Fablehaven series was a fun one to buddy read with my son! The title is Secrets of the Dragon Santuary and there were secrets alright. I was happy this one started out with the grandparents being back in the picture. As per usual, though, Seth and Kendra are off to save the world (or at least Fablehaven). There was some interesting world building and magic in this one. You definitely have to suspend some disbelief, but hey, good times.


Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx—leader of the Society of the Evening Star—is after the final artifacts needed to open the great demon prison, Zzyxx. If the legendary prison is opened, a tide of evil is certain to usurp control of the world.

In an effort to intercept the final artifacts, Kendra, Seth and the Knights of the Dawn race to strange and exotic preserves across the globe. The stakes have never been higher. The risks have never been more deadly.

In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate, climactic battle to control the keys to the demon prison.

I'm done! It was tough getting through 2,412 pages of a series in a short period of time, but the Fablehaven series was a really solid read. Keys to the Demon Prison is my son's favorite book of all time now. What a successful ending! Kendra and Seth are so grown up, and I may have gotten a little teary at their parents at the end of this one.

There is a sequel series (Dragonwatch). My son has already flown through the first two and is finishing up the third one that was just released this month. I'm choosing to sit that one out, but he's loving it. If you enjoy middle grade fantasy, definitely give this one a chance. Otherwise, gift it to an up and coming reader in your life.


I really enjoyed getting to read these with my son. Overall, I give the series ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.


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  1. I'm so glad to see more people loving this series. Other than maybe because it was overshadowed by Harry Potter, I never understood why more people never read it. I thought it was a lot of fun and do plan on continuing with the spin-off series someday. I bet this was loads of fun to read with your son!

  2. I still like to read middle grade fiction. Especially the books with magic in them. :)

  3. Ooo… I do enjoy a middle grade read and this series sounds great. I love when I stumble upon a series that is already completed publication wise also, because then I can delve in with no waiting. Haha!


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