Book Review of Fablehaven (Book #1) by Brandon Mull

fablehaven book #1 by Brandon Mull
I have to admit that this one took me awhile to get into. I didn’t love it at first. However, I think it has a lot of potential! My friend told me I have to read book #2 and that I’ll for sure be hooked after I read that one. I’ll let you know. I do think it’s an interesting and unique concept, and I’m interested to see what happens to Kendra and Seth later on in the series.
 

Blurb:

“For centuries mystical creatures were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary is 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 order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother must face the greatest challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world.”
 

My Book Review:

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. It was good and entertaining, but it didn’t capture me from the beginning. It didn’t seem “real,” which is funny because it’s fantasy, but that’s how I felt. It was good, clean reading, and it would be a good read-aloud for younger children. I do know some people that LOVED this book, so it may just be me. I think I will read the rest of the series because I know my children will want to read them and I like to preview books before they read them.  I would recommend it for when you want to read a book and don’t really want to think, just be entertained.

It is an interesting concept that fantastical beings are all around us, but we can’t see them. We see butterflies instead of fairies, goats instead of satyrs, and so forth. Hmmm…what else is out there that we’re missing out on? Kendra and Seth are good characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. I definitely relate more to Kendra because she is a rule follower like me. The character development is well done, and I like the uniqueness of the story.

Content Rating PGContent Rating: PG (There are a few kind of scary parts and some gory parts. There isn’t any profanity or “physical intimacy.”)

Age Recommendation: Middle Graders (4th-6th) and up. It would be a fun read-aloud for 2nd-3rd graders too.

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2PQZWRW

 

      Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

      Janitors (Book #1) by Tyler Whitesides   Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog's Gold (Book #1) by M.L. Forman   Alcatraz vs The Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

 

This book review was first published on 4/5/10. Updated on 10/22/18.

Fablehaven Book of Imagination

Fablehaven Book of Imagination by Brandon Mull

Blurb:
“Unlike the other Fablehaven books, this one is only half-finished….The missing ingredient is you! Begin by writing your name in the space provided on the front cover. Then get ready to write, draw, solve, and create, guided by the many activities inside!…The secret world of enchanted preserves is waiting for you to jump in–just make sure to avoid any deep pools filled with naiads!”
My Review:
WARNING!! This book may cause fighting, tugs of war, and hair pulling between siblings (don’t ask me how I know this…) I took this book out of the envelope and I immediately had all four of my children surrounding me, pulling at the book, yelling in my ears that they should get it first, and trying to open the pages to see what was there. Yeah, you’ll definitely need one per child if you want to avoid similar situations in your house! This is such a fun idea! In the electronic age it’s so great to give children another option, and a fun one at that! They already love the Fablehaven characters and creatures, so to be able to use those as a basis for some creativity is genius!! The kids (or you…) get to draw their own magical preserve, create a codename, draw a dragon’s head, make a potion, bake a dessert, make a rain stick, write secret messages in wax, make ogre stew, make a magical web, and make a unicorn horn, just to name a few! So fun, right? And I LOVE the quotes throughout this book! One of my favorites is: 

I also loved the quotes from the characters in the books! One of my favorites is Seth’s quote:
Right? If dragons were cute little fluffy things we’d be totally disappointed. This book is so much fun! I had to safeguard it until I wrote my review, but now I’m sure the book will be fought over and thoroughly enjoyed by all my children, including the 15 and 13-year-old boys (Shhh!!! Don’t tell them I said that…) It’s lots of fun and Fablehaven lovers will definitely enjoy it!!
Rating: G (Clean!!)
Recommendation: Everyone, especially Fablehaven fans!!
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven


The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Blurb:
They existed only in your imagination …. Until now!
With over 3 million copies in print, the Fablehaven series by New York Times best-selling author Brandon Mull is one of the most popular middle-grade fantasy series to date. Now, first time ever, The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven provides a visual discovery of the series, and is loaded with insider’s knowledge and hand-scrawled notes. Readers can actually see the mystical creatures from the series like dragons – each one has a name, a special power, and looks distinctly different from the others, but until this book there was no illustrated guide. The book is also a springboard to the Fablehaven sequel series, Dragonwatch (releasing Fall 2016) and features clues to the characters and creatures fans will find in the upcoming books.

My Review:

What is a KArKADAnn you ask? Well, let me tell you. “A creature of Living Mirage, the karkadann is a formidable animal resembling a rhinoceros with one sentient horn. It is known for its fearsome roar and its speed in charging opponents.” And what is a THylACine? Well, I know that one too! “Also known as Tasmanian tigers, thylacines look like large, striped greyhounds with long tails. Some of these creatures are gifted with the power of speech. Many thylacines reside at Obsidian Waste.”And how do I know about these creatures, you ask? Well, let me tell you. I just finished reading The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven. It is a book written over time by all the different caretakers at Fablehaven. In it you will find descriptions of just about every creature or living thing that you will find at the preserves around the world. These descriptions usually include a picture (Done by the amazing Brandon Dorman!) and anything you would need to know about this creature, demon, or plant. This will help prepare you for your future caretaking job, or it will help you as a visitor to a preserve to know what is friendly and what is not. These descriptions are well written and very informative. Here is a quote from Grandma Sorenson that is in the guide:

 “Running toward danger is foolhardy….But so is closing your 
eyes to it. Many perils become less dangerous once you 
understand their potential hazards.”

The following quote by Coulter is very helpful:

“I tell my secrets only to people I know I can trust. 
Otherwise the secret becomes a rumor just like that.”

And one more from Dale:
“Smart people learn from their mistakes.
But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes
of others.”

For Fablehaven fans, this is a great addition to the series. It would have been very helpful to have while reading the series, so that at a glance you could figure out what the different creatures are that you  are reading about. So run, don’t walk, to get your copy of The Caretaker’s Guide to Fablehaven. Don’t leave home without it…..you never know what you will run into (It’s a scary world out there)!
Rating: PG (Clean! Some of the creatures are scary or evil.)
Recommendation: Second to third grade and up. My boys read Fablehaven when they were in second grade, so this follows suit. It may be too difficult for a second grader, so third grade may be more appropriate.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Fablehaven #5 Keys to the Demon Prison

Fablehaven #5 Keys to the Demon Prison by Brandon Mull

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) “After many 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 loved this book! As you may remember, I didn’t love this series at first. I think it was Book 3 that for sure hooked me, and the finale was all it needed to be. I am really sad to let the story go and to say good-bye to the characters. There is plenty of action and romance and trickery for everyone. I had no idea how Mr. Mull would finish it, and it worked. The last line wasn’t my favorite, for some reason, but it fit. I really liked this series and my son is on Book #4 so it’s fun to talk with him about the stories. It is clean and well-written. Mr. Mull has really grown in his writing since the first book, and it’s fun to take that journey with authors. He is creative and imaginative, and it is a good, fun read. If you are reading the series, you have to finish it off by reading the finale, you won’t be disappointed.

Rating: PG-13 Violence (killing the demons, fighting, death of some characters) No profanity or “physical intimacy” scenes.

Recommendation: 3rd grade and up! This is good, clean fun for the whole family. Yes, there is some death and violence, but it isn’t over the top or too gory. If you think your child can handle a few characters dying (they are not the main characters) and some demon-killing then they will be fine reading it.

Fablehaven #4 Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary

Fablehaven #4 Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull
(Summary taken from the back of the book) “Two hidden artifacts have been found. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Desperate to stop them, Kendra discovers the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts in Patton’s Journal of Secrets. In order to retrieve the key, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap–a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. Will anyone who enters the sanctuary make it out alive? Or have Kendra and Seth finally gotten in too deep?”
Brandon Mull keeps getting better. His writing is advancing and so are his twists and turns. I am hooked. This book has been my favorite (did I say that about the last one?) so far. Seth drives me crazy. Seriously. I am way too much like Kendra…a rule follower….I go crazy every time Seth moves or speaks. Ahhhhh. But I digress. I really liked this book. It actually surprised me a couple of times. I did not predict the twist at the end. There is action and romance and suspense. There are dragons and giants and all sorts of other magical creatures. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you have read the previous three and enjoyed them. Now my only problem is finding a copy of #5 to read!
Rating: PG-PG 13 (Dark, some gruesome and gory parts, and there is a death of a main character)
Recommendation: I will still allow my third grader to read this book, but it is a little more gory and dark than the previous books. There are some scary parts and some gruesome parts as well. One of the main characters dies, which I didn’t like. I guess there was a death in the previous book as well, but it wasn’t a character you felt as close to. I’ll definitely talk to my son about what happened and hopefully debrief him a bit. 8-9 and up, depending on the child and his maturity.

Fablehaven #3 Grip of the Shadow Plague

Fablehaven #3 Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull
(Summary taken from the back book cover) “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 preserve 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?”
Okay, I have to admit…..I think he finally got me. I liked the last book, but this one is much better. I think Mull has finally caught me….dare I say I might be excited about reading #4??? There is still that young adult flair to the book, but it is much better written and is fun. The whole plague thing really got to me….At this point I am glad I stuck with the series. I almost didn’t even read #2, but since my kids wanted to read them I decided I better keep going. Mull’s writing is getting better and there is more of that spark that keeps me reading. It is still really clean and there is enough excitement to keep the younger kids reading, which I love. I definitely recommend this book. It would be a good read-aloud as well.
Rating: PG (My 7 year-old is reading it. It is a stretch for him, so I keep asking him questions to make sure he understands, but he really likes it. My 8 year-old breezed right through and loved it.) There are monsters and some evil creatures and action with those, but it is good, clean fun!
Recommendation: As a read-aloud I would say 6, maybe 5 if you have a more mature 5 year-old. This is great for 2nd, 3rd, and up to read on their own. I recommend any series that is clean and fun and gets kids reading, and this book does that!  I enjoyed it as an adult so I’d recommend it to my friends for a fun, easy read.

Fablehaven #2 Rise of the Evening Star

Fablehaven #2 Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
(Summary taken from the back of the book) “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 invites three specialists–a potion master, a collector of magical relics, and a trapper of mystical creatures–to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient orgainization determined to steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world.” 
I liked this book a lot more than I liked the first one. I think it seemed more “real,” if that’s possible. It caught my attention more. There are still some corny parts, but overall I liked it. It’s a good, easy read that is entertaining and good when you just want a fun book. It is fairly well written and has some good twists and turns. The last page brings a surprise, even though I had thought about the possibility of it while reading. I like the characters and the story. It is good, clean fun. There is some gore and some scarier scenes, but there is no language and no “physical intimacy.”
Rating: PG  There is some gore and might be scary for littler children.
Recommendation: 1st grade and up, if being read to. If reading alone probably 2nd or 3rd grade. My 2nd grader wants to read it. It may be a little too difficult for him, but I think I’ll let him try. I think I’ll read it aloud though.