by Brandon Mull
In A Nutshell
If you thought that the best part of the Harry Potter books was discovering all those cool magical creatures that live in the wizarding world, then have we got a book for you. Fablehaven takes the premise that there are supernatural critters hidden away in our world and runs with it—big time.
Kendra and Seth are doomed to spend a couple of boring weeks at their grandparents' home while their parents are on a trip, but the kids soon learn that the land they're on is actually a preserve for magical creatures—both light and dark ones. And that's when things really get exciting.
Newbie author Brandon Mull published this book in 2006, and has since published four sequels. The books have been pretty darn popular, with big-name writers like Christopher Paolini and Orson Scott Card giving them the thumbs-up. Plus Fablehaven has spent time on the bestsellers lists of The New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal, and it's been translated into a bunch of different languages too, ranging from French and Polish to Persian and Slovak.
If you just can't get enough of these cool magic creatures and the mysterious dangers lurking in Fablehaven, take heart, because there's plenty more where this book comes from. Not only are there four more books in this series, but there's also a five-book spin-off series in the works. So keep your eyes peeled for that. Not literally though, of course—that sounds like something an ogress or demon would do.
And speaking of ogresses, demons, fairies, witches, and more—read on to meet some of these creatures.
Why Should I Care?
Do you ever feel like you live in a world full of confusing and crazy rules that you can't keep track of all the time? Trust us—our world is nothing compared to the world of Fablehaven in that regard.
You think it's bad that your teachers have total control over your test grades? Try learning the hard way that capturing a fairy in the wrong conditions gets you turned into a deformed mutant walrus. Oh, you're having trouble memorizing the various driving laws so you can take the test and get your license? Yeah, call us when you have to make a bargain with a troll to find out who kidnapped your grandpa during a magical night of mayhem. In other words, we've got rules—but it could definitely be worse.
Still, all the weird convoluted rules of magic that Kendra and Seth run into in Fablehaven kind of exemplify how bizarre the rules of own world are. Even if the metaphor's pretty darn exaggerated, surely you catch our drift: kids and teens are forced to follow rules they don't create and really don't have much say in. And ignoring the rules doesn't make them go away, nor does it mean they won't affect you, much like how Seth and Kendra still get stung by the rules of Fablehaven even though they're ignorant about the rules of magic.
On the plus side, we get to see Kendra and Seth pick up some useful survival skills along the way. So maybe we get to walk away with the take-home message that even if you're thrust into a world with screwy rules and maddening practices, you can still come out on top. One thing's for certain, though—breaking the rules always comes at a cost… but sometimes it's totally worth it.