29 March 2011

Book Review: Fablehaven

Title: Fablehaven
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher/Year: Aladdin / 2007
Date Finished: 9 March 2011
Source/Format: Bought / Print

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Kendra and Seth are forced to spend two weeks with their estranged grandparents. Neither is looking forward to it. But shortly after their arrival, the two find out that things are not what they seem. Fablehaven is quite literally a haven for fables, mythical creatures of all shapes and sizes and sensibilities. 

A Bit of a Ramble
I adore fantasy YAL as a rule, but Middle Grade is more often a hit-or-miss for me. Unfortunately, Fablehaven was a bit of a miss, and I finished the novel feeling rather meh. The really sad part? I bought the first three in the series as a box set, and now I'm not sure I even want to read the second and third. May I just say aaarrrgggg.

Trying to specifically state why I didn't love it is difficult for some reason. I've actually been putting off this review for the better part of a month which is very unusual for me. Typically, I write my review immediately after finishing the novel. I think, honestly, I was just a bit bored. The characters weren't fleshed out enough, the conflict wasn't complex enough, and the world-building wasn't deep enough.

And now I sound like I hated it and it's a bad book, but that's not the case. I just think I am not the target audience. After all, I am 30 years old, not 10. And I clearly didn't hate it because I finished it. In other words, I'm meh. But do I think a ten year old would like this? Absolutely. The action moves at a relatively quick pace and the story is full of interesting little tidbits (like a grandma chicken - hilarious - and the milking of a giant cow - kind of gross and funny).

Question: Have you read the second and third books in this series? Should I continue on?


  1. I've heard several people have this sort of reaction to the book. I'm sorry you bought it if you don't end up liking the whole series. :/

  2. Oh, I've done that too! I.e., anticipated I would like a series and gotten the books all at once, only to find I didn't like the first at all! I totally sympathize with your word aaarrrgggg!!! Kind of cute cover there, though, in an icky kind of way....

  3. My kids read all the books in this series, and had much the same reaction to them as you did to this book. It seemed that they thought it wasn't really sophisticated and a lot of that feeling had to do with the fact that they were way above the target audience range. I'm sorry to hear that you already committed and bought the other two books, and I will be interested to hear if you continue on with them. Thanks for your unflinching honesty in this post. It was much appreciated!

  4. I think it is hard to review books that are not for your age group...I struggle with YA books so forget about middle grade readers. Too bad you got the box set! Maybe you can eBay it.

  5. Oh, I hate anticipating great glory in a series, only to be disappointed when it doesn't quite stack up. I know what you mean- the book wasn't horrible, but in a few weeks/months, you may well forget you ever read it- that feeling. It's ok, though- there are more than enough good books to make up for the bad ones :-)

  6. I think you should skip FH and move to The Beyonders. My daughter is also loving The Candy Shop Wars.

  7. Loved it! Super intense. Mystery with some action as well. A must read.


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