“None who enter will leave unchanged.”
Written for middle-graders, aged 9-12, Fablehaven was pretty interesting. This novel was a fun, great adventure about fairies, imps, witches, and all manner of fabled creatures.
Thirteen year old Kendra and her eleven year old brother Seth are forced to spend some time with their eccentric grandfather when their parents go on an unexpected cruise. They are warned not to stray too far from their house and forbidden to go into the woods beyond the beautiful and vibrant house gardens. Seth, of course, dare-devil and adventurer, disobeys only to face a scary encounter with a wicked witch. Meanwhile, Kendra tries to solve a puzzle involving three mini-keys that her grandfather has given to her, which eventually leads her to a journal inscribed with three words – drink the milk. When she and Seth comply with the instructions, what follows is a complete mystical unveiling of all things fantastic – their grandfather has a huge secret. The butterflies in the garden are all fairies, and he is the caretaker of a preserve for magical creatures called Fablehaven.
When their grandfather is kidnapped (again after an act of disobedience), Kendra and Seth unwillingly free the witch to lift a curse from their grandmother – the only one who can now save Fablehaven and find their grandfather. It is a race against time to save their grandfather, Fablehaven, and the world from a powerful but evil demon that the witch intends to liberate. In the end, Kendra manages to win the aid of the Fairy Queen and her fairies, and with their help, Fablehaven is saved.
Fablehaven is a decent, engaging, and fun read. It is a well-written novel, and is completely appropriate for the age group for which it was written. While I prefer older YA books, I did enjoy reading this one. I do have to say though that the giant cow was just weird (not to mention the unexpected and gross milking by sliding down the udders of said giant cow), and then Kendra’s stabbing of the udder to get blood for the fairy offering was pretty nasty. Ewww. A simple finger prick would have sufficed, but I guess it wouldn’t have been as exciting or as gross. Need I mention the massage thing with the troll? That was just too weird. Way weird and kinda creepy.
All of the icky stuff is redeemed by the ending which is cool and exciting and magical. Overall I’d give Fablehaven 4 stars. I did go out and buy the next two in the series, so stay tuned for my review of those.