Thursday, February 19, 2009


Title: Fablehaven
Author: Brandon Mull
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2006
Series: Fablehaven (Book 1)

Kendra and Seth’s parents are going on a cruise, and they’re left with their odd grandpa on his large estate in Connecticut. He makes them promise to stay out of the woods and the barn because there are ticks with lime disease and leaves them to their own devices in a room of toys and books, with a pool tempting outside. As with all children, it isn’t long before curiosity gets the better of them and they break the rules.

First, Seth meets an odd old lady chewing on a rope in the forest. Then he and Kendra discover a beautiful pond complete with gazebos. Grandpa, being the adult that he is, finds out and punishes them, although not as strictly as he was going to after being argued down by his grandchildren for lying to them about his reasons. Now, apparently, the woods are dangerous because he runs a wild animal preserve. But then the kids drink some of the milk a helper leaves out for the bugs, and suddenly they can see fairies!

And that’s about where I got bored and stopped reading. I found the dialog (of which there is a lot) trite and uninspired. The interactions between the characters were physically painful to read. They rarely speak in complete sentences but use words that are completely out of what little character has been built for them or words that are overly complicated. It’s almost as though the author was using small words and then looking up ones that sounded smarter in a thesaurus to substitute. It completely distracted me, to the point that I was having to go back through and reread things just to be sure I had understood it properly.

Grandpa Sorenson isn’t a grownup to be respected and consistently lies to his grandchildren or ignores them. He sets the stage for all the other adults in the book, who by turns give lame excuses for their actions and take no notice of the children they’re supposed to be watching. A few times, they even advocate lying to the other adults, which is a terrible thing to teach kids.

The children are insipid and colorless. Kendra is annoying and self absorbed, but no where near as badly as Seth. Seth delights in breaking the rules just to break them, does belly flops and eats a lot of chocolate.

This book is told from third person omniscient, switching between Kendra’s point of view and Seth’s.

My Thoughts:
Well, we have our first “DID NOT FINISH” for the Book Dame Reviews. Even as just a bathroom book, I couldn’t get over the many issues I had with this story. While the blurbs on the front from authors I respect claim that it is like Harry Potter and good for the whole family and the fact that it’s a New York Times Bestseller made me think this would be a worthwhile little trip to fantasy land, it was terrible. I can’t recommend this to anyone I respect because I feel it is a waste of time. The storyline is bland and boring and the characters are worse.

Favorite Scene:
Honestly, I didn’t have one.

Who this book is best for:
Nobody. Go learn to knit or do some leatherworking rather than read this book.

Violence: 0 of 5, but I didn’t finish it, so there may be violence later that I didn’t see.

Stars: 0 of 5.

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