Monday, August 15, 2011

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

genre: middle grade fantasy

When Kendra and Seth go to stay with their grandparents for the summer, they have absolutely no idea that they are in for the adventure of their lives.  What looks to be just a lovely piece of property up in the mountains is actually a preserve for magical creatures - both good, mischievous and the downright bad.  In order to keep Kendra and Seth safe, some strict rules are put in place and when the rules get broken, well, let's just say things don't go well and soon lives are at stake.  Will this brother and sister have what it takes to safe Fablehaven?

I read this one out loud to my 8.5 year old and 6 year old sons (my 11 year old daughter would even wander in and listen occasionally).  It was long for me, honestly.  Took me almost the entire summer to read it because no one was ever clambering for it.  They were always engaged when I pulled it out before bed and the story is very interesting with a lot of exciting and scary moments, but for whatever reason we were always okay to take a break. 

I was annoyed by how often some pretty obscure vocabulary was used - not that I minded explaining those words to my boys, it just didn't seem to flow with the rest of the story.  What I did like was that there was a lot of clear choices and consequences.  Rules got broken, bad things happened.  Period.  We got to have multiple good discussions about why we have rules and what happens when we choose to disregard them.  It IS an exciting premise, that the fairies and naiads and monsters we read about are really out there, we just can't see them.  My crew liked the book a lot, we just weren't ever dying to read it, for whatever that's worth.  I'd give it 3.5 stars for creativity and good ethical discussions :)

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