A few friends suggested this book as a young adult read, and when my brother offered to lend it to me, I couldn’t refuse. I thought this JUST might be the thing to jump start another wave of fiction reading, as I have been focused on non fiction for a while. Sadly, no. This book did not meet expectations. Fablehaven is the story of Kendra and Seth who go to stay with their grandparents while their parents go on a summer cruise. Unbeknownst to them, their grandparents are the caretakers of a magical refuge.
The premise is promising, but the characters and story fell flat. For one, the Seth character was absolutely too annoying for words. Really, so very rarely do I want to enter a book and slap a character around, but in the case of Seth, I made the exception. I thought the book also was trying to teach some morals of responsibility and consequences but the interludes involving Seth seemed to go completely contrary to that design. When Seth disobeys his grandfather’s instructions time after time, no punishments are ever meted out. Instead excuses are made, “you didn’t MEAN to hurt anyone…” Ugh! I also didn’t relate to Kendra’s character very well. She is about as exciting as white wallpaper until the last three chapters of the book. The most interesting characters are the evil ones, sad to say, a little bit of me hoped that evil would triumph just this once.
I do think young tweens might enjoy this book. It is an easy and quick read. It also doesn’t pose any deep philosophical or moral dilemmas that require a great deal of thought. I am willing to give the sequels a try (mainly because my brother lent me the next three books, who says no to free?) in hopes that Mull has plans to further develop the characters of Seth and Kendra so they aren’t mere one dimensional caricatures of feisty little brother and goody two shoes sister. I do have hopes the story will improve as the books go along which, in my opinion, is better than having an amazing first book and going slowly downhill.