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97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Observe, Preserve, Conserve - but in the end you'll get what you deserve
This starts off as a routine fantasy footprint - two kids, Kendra and Seth, get palmed off on their grandparents for a visit that becomes a lot more than they ever dreamed. As they soon learn, Fablehaven is no ordinary country estate, but a protected area for magical creatures, and their grandfather is the current caretaker. As if that weren't enough, their grandmother...
Published on August 29, 2006 by Amanda Richards

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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not what I was hoping for.
I find it very difficult to write a review for this book. I suppose I'll start with the fact that I'd expected the book to focus more on the actual "Fantastical Preserve" - ie, what a caretaker actually does day-in and day-out to care for magical creatures. However, there really wasn't any of that. Or very little at least. It was more like a giant patch of land where...
Published on May 26, 2008 by A. Williams


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97 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Observe, Preserve, Conserve - but in the end you'll get what you deserve, August 29, 2006
This review is from: Fablehaven (Hardcover)
This starts off as a routine fantasy footprint - two kids, Kendra and Seth, get palmed off on their grandparents for a visit that becomes a lot more than they ever dreamed. As they soon learn, Fablehaven is no ordinary country estate, but a protected area for magical creatures, and their grandfather is the current caretaker. As if that weren't enough, their grandmother has disappeared, and granddad isn't telling the truth about her whereabouts.

But here's where it really gets interesting - Brandon Mull overturns conventional thinking on fairies, and when Seth makes a terrible mistake, the retribution is swift and merciless. At Fablehaven, a giant cow gives enchanted milk that allows the fairies to be seen, naiads frolic in a lake, satyrs drop by for adult parties, and a witch sits in a shack in the forest imprisoned by magical knots.

Soon it's Midsummer Eve, one of the nights when magic reigns free, and when the children break the rules, the aftermath is chilling. As a result of their disobedience, the two children find themselves alone except for a hen, and it's up to them to rescue their grandfather, the housekeeper, and Fablehaven itself, before a powerful demon is released from his prison.

Wildly imaginative, this is a wonderful debut for Mull - may he write many more chapters, and very soon.

Amanda Richards, August 29, 2006
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The next BIG hit!, June 28, 2006
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This review is from: Fablehaven (Hardcover)
As a school librarian, I was sent an advance copy prior to publication and I shared it with a number of students. I already have a long waiting list of kids who can't wait to read this wonderful book! It has magic, family, problem-solving and enough scariness to make it fun. Nothing inappropriate here, but best suited for readers 4th grade and up, I think, just because the language (like Harry Potter) would be too difficult for younger kids and the scare factor is probably better for the older kids. Buy it, read it and know you're reading a book everyone will be talking about!
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, February 6, 2007
This review is from: Fablehaven (Hardcover)
It's very rare, in this day and age of Harry Potter mania (and yes, I admit I'm a very devoted victim!) to find a fantasy story that can actually hold your attention. With FABLEHAVEN, though, new author Brandon Mull manages to do just that from the very first page to the last. Not to mention, thank the fairies, that there's already another book planned in the series.

The premise is simple enough: two siblings, thirteen-year-old Kendra and her eleven-year-old brother, Seth, are relegated to spending time with their paternal grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson, while their parents enjoy a seventeen-day Scandinavian cruise. At first glance, that might not seem so strange, but you have to understand that their family's relationship with the grandparents Sorenson is sort of an odd one. They don't visit much, they don't call; in fact, Kendra and Seth don't really know their grandparents that well at all.

This is a forced, mandatory vacation though, so the kids don't have much choice in the matter. And when they finally reach Fablehaven, where, unbeknown to them, their Grandfather is the caretaker, they're a little overwhelmed. First, there were the No Trespassing and Private Property signs that gave way to one that said Certain Death Awaits. Now, they find out that however pretty and secluded Fablehaven may be, there's no television, no radio, and a ton of rules -- not all of which make sense.

What follows is two weeks of more adventure, trouble, suspense, and magic than the kids could have ever dreamed of. When their rash actions, and disobedience to some important rules, leads to retribution from the magical world of Fablehaven, Kendra, Seth, Grandpa Sorenson, and even Grandma, who seems to be missing, are in for a ride.

FABLEHAVEN is a great fantasy novel perfect for everyone, from young adults to those young at heart. With a cast of characters ranging from witches to fairies, satyrs to imps, strange chickens and conniving trolls, there's definitely something for everyone. I plan to give my copy of FABLEHAVEN to my ten-year-old son to read next, and I'm pretty sure he'll enjoy it as much as I did (not to mention my mom, who gets it when he's done!). Kudos to Mr. Mull for such a great debut fantasy novel, and for giving me something absolutely wonderful to read during my Harry Potter-deprived winter. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not what I was hoping for., May 26, 2008
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This review is from: Fablehaven (Paperback)
I find it very difficult to write a review for this book. I suppose I'll start with the fact that I'd expected the book to focus more on the actual "Fantastical Preserve" - ie, what a caretaker actually does day-in and day-out to care for magical creatures. However, there really wasn't any of that. Or very little at least. It was more like a giant patch of land where the magical beings could exist. Which, is fine, just not what I'd expected.
So, now for the unfortunate things - at least, in my opinion. I didn't really like the main characters all that well. I thought I did, for a while, but then they were just annoying. Everyone had their promising qualities, etc., but nobody really stood out to me as someone you were rooting for. The children were constantly disobeying "rules" as well as annoying each other. And while this had ramifications, it didn't seem to register with the kids... at least not as soon as it seemed it should have. On a similar topic, I found the lack of communication with the children just as disappointing, and again, the ramifications didn't seem to fit really. I wasn't very happy that one of the "messages" seemed to be "follow the rules because they are the rules." Perhaps this will be addressed in later books, but it wasn't satisfying for me in this book. Additionally, the ramifications for not telling the children all they needed to know was pretty sever, and again, I'm not sure how well the characters "learned their lessons." But, again, it is a series... so....
Also, the writing style was okay, but nothing that really astounded me. Sometimes it felt like a lot of time was spent on things that weren't really that important.
Also, a warning for squirmish readers, some parts are rather nasty. There's nothing really, really, bad, and it's fine still as a young adult fantasy story. But there are some fairly gross descriptions, and some somewhat sad moments.
Finally, I could never really grasp the "world" of Fablehaven. I wasn't clear on how and why magic did or did not work. It felt, and perhaps this is unfair, but that the author was making the rules to fit the plot he wanted, instead of working it the other way around. Some things just seemed too convenient. But again, 'tis a series.
So, why give it three stars instead of none? Because, for whatever reason, I was still interested in the story. Because the initial chapters and the final five or so were well done and held my interest quite well. Because some descriptions were very pretty, and I loved the Lake setting as well as the descriptions of the fairies! Also, I was impressed with how well things came together for the "climax" and thought the author did a better job of tying things back together than I would have expected.
So, oddly enough, I find myself curious to read the next book, but unfortunately I was not nearly as impressed as I was with other fantasy stories. Hopefully the next few will be better!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I call this a perfect fantasy!, July 6, 2006
This review is from: Fablehaven (Hardcover)
My 10 year old loved FABLEHAVEN and so did I! It has just the right amount of adventure, mystery, humor, suspense, and imagination. Chapter 10 especially kept us wide-eyed and captivated! In fact, many chapter endings did the same thing. It was like a sling shot that launched us through the rest of the book. The characters are fantastic. Apparently, this is the author's first novel. Bravo! The writing is superb. I've recommended this to our school library! Although I'm not sure this would suit children under 9. There are some very intense moments (although my ten year old just ate it up) that may be a little scary for younger children. But the ending was wildly exciting. We were sad to finish the book because we fell in love with Kendra and Seth, Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson, Lena, and this special new place called FABLEHAVEN! Book 2 can't come fast enough!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Five star ending. But the first three quarters were barely one star., August 13, 2009
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This review is from: Fablehaven (Paperback)
After reading all of the reviews I was extremely excited to find a new author and new series.

First, I'll address the "why only two stars" - by the end of the book I loved it but at more than half-way through it I had to look at the reviews again to make sure I was reading the same book as everyone else.

My arguments and concerns with the book mirror the other low reviews - not only is there no one to like but there is no action to hold your interest either for about the first two thirds of the book. You have a very disobedient child with an adult who doesn't seem to realize that the "I told you not to do it, that should be enough" doesn't work with the kid. So the kid creates all kinds of mayhem while his grandfather keeps admonishing him to follow the rules and his sister is busy wringing her hands because he's doing stupid stuff. Annoying to say the least. Unsympathetic in the extreme. BUT it gets better and the kids develop personalities and things start to pick up.

The last third more than makes up for that, but be forewarned that if you have too many other books on your plate you *will* put this down in favor of the back of a cereal box. IF you stick with it your patience is rewarded because indeed the last part of the book (and I suspect the remainder of the series) is far more enjoyable.

So, all of that said - I'm quite eager to finish the series. The ending is lovely and the children and adults by the end are people you do end up caring about. The world the author creates is interesting, it just takes him too long to pull you in.

I can definitely recommend reading it, but be aware that it moves slowly and somewhat gratingly but there is ultimately a worthwhile payoff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent fantasy for children and young teens, October 15, 2006
This review is from: Fablehaven (Hardcover)
I am not going to compare this book to Eragon, or even Harry Potter. It is not as well written and though this first attempt is rich, it is not on the same quality level. So why did I give it five stars? Let me explain.

This is a book that is a little slow getting into. Not too bad - I had trouble in the beginning of the first Harry Potter as well. But, after that, the story keeps moving and building. It is fast paced with enough twists and turns around each corner to keep you on the edge of your seat to find out what is coming next. The characters are fun and well developed with a little depth as they all show some shades of variance in their different directions. None are perfect, but the good guys are good and basically likeable, and the bad guys are understandable and bad.

The book is involved enough to keep most adult's attention throughout and to keep all kids interested in the same vein as most fantasy novels. My 3 children ages 10-13 are really into this and trust me, this is one of the favorites.

The reason I didn't give it the original 4 stars I had considered, was the content. Really. It tells a moral throughout the story that isn't overpowering. I am not sure how much my kids noticed it until we talked about it a bit.

But, as a mother, I care about what my kids read and what the undertone is or moral is. I get tired of books that are well written with well developed characters and then find some allusion to sex thrown in in an innappropriate way, that may not even pertain to the story. I also don't like strong language thrown in a lot.

So, This book is a perfectly entertaining and a deeply involving story that also teaches that our choices do have consequences always. If we are not aware of the rules, we are less accountable. If we are aware, then we are accountable. If we break them, we pay the price. What a lesson for my kids to learn. The law of the harvest and keeping promises and obeying rules is the heart of this story. Honor and integrity doesn't seem to be the message we are pushing in much media today. But here, it is the crux of the problem. It is a lesson that they enjoy and I think it will stick with them longer than my lectures.

Thanks for a great first novel and I hope this continues into a long series. And I hope the character Seth uses his energy and curiousity and enthusiasm for good, because he is driving me crazy! (I have 2 boys like that in my house. Thinking that if there is a rule, it is there for me to break! Go milk a giant cow!!)

I strongly recommend it.

A side note below:

This publisher also has serpentide and leven thumps books out. Recent books that are fantasy in nature and written for the same age. All of them good reads.

I would also recommend gregor the overlander, charlie bone, artemis fowl - make sure you finish the series when he turns from bad to good - and of course the pendragon series is alright if a bit ruder in the language and attitude. Excellent entertaining reads. (I also liked Cornelia Funke's books, though some minor strong language may turn young readers off, and I like eragon for prepared readers who are ready for more intense books.

Buy Fablehaven and enjoy. The audio version is good but the voice is hard to tell the gender which I found annoying.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Be Swallowed, April 24, 2007
This review is from: Fablehaven (Paperback)
The back jacket of this book features kudos from the author of Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo, a young adult fantasy novel in the same genre as Fablehaven. I have read, but have not posted reviews of, The Gateway to Foo, or its sequel, Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret, because it seemed such a shame to point out the flaws of a book series that could have been so much better*. Better, and more enjoyable, like Brandon Mull's Fabelhaven.

This is a light, easy read, squarely focused on 13 year old Kendra and her 11 year old brother Seth. They are left at their grandparent's estate for a couple of weeks while their parents take a dream cruise. They have rarely seen their grandparents before, and none have ever been to the sprawling house and gardens that lie in the woods. Left with some strict directions from their aloof grandfather ("stay out of the woods!!"), the brother and sister quickly get into some mischief while exploring their mysterious surroundings.

They come to discover that their grandparents' land is actually a sanctuary for magical creatures - a haven for fabled beings. They delight in learning more about each of the creatures, especially the abundant fairies, until things turn a little chaotic and the darker forces on the land seek to take control. They have to work together as siblings, and draw closer to and earn the trust of their grandparents, to set everything right again.

I was surprised to find a reading guide at the back of the book; it brings up questions that I thought were a little too deep given the lighter weight of the book itself. Once I thought about it for a bit, though, I realized there were some valuable moral lessons in the book. Why do we have rules? Do they restrict us or protect us? How do we feel about being able to choose the actions, but not always the consequences? And some other themes on family and relationships.

Altogether, I think this was a very enjoyable book, and I look forward to the forthcoming books in the series.

*For just a word on Leven Thumps: I didn't LOVE it, mostly because I thought it was overly ambitious. So many characters, so many amazing and unique things about each of them. The different worlds - ours and Foo. And what Foo is and how to get there and back. It was a little too convoluted for me, and I thought it suffered from wanting to be too much to too many people. Better to read the crisp, tight Fablehaven instead!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, adventurous, poignant, August 25, 2007
This review is from: Fablehaven (Paperback)
From the depths of the little-explored world of new writers comes this pure little gem that reminds us just how a children's fantasy should be. I'm sorry, but we do not see writing and story-telling like this much anymore. Since the phenomenon of "Harry Potter" children's fantasy has experienced a growth that is in many cases nothing more than a tumor, but "Fablehaven" proves itself a instant classic.

The story begins the adventures of Kendra and Seth, a sister and brother sent to vacation at their mysterious grandfather's home. Each moment they spend their increases in mystery until the truth is revealed: Dear old grandpa is the caretaker of a preserve that protects what is considered to be the unreal: fairies, goblins, unicorns, etc.

Brandon Mull's characters takes his writing in stride, allowing his characters to explore and deal with each new challenge that comes along. He takes care to describe each detail of this world until Fablehaven is a very real and believable place with its own set of rules.

Be warned: this is not always cutesy. There is a creative darkness that keeps up the storyline. It's fresh, original, and deeply delicious. Mull's characters are not always wild and quirky, but they are three-dimensional, real, and delightfully flawed. Kendra and Seth are people with whom kids can identify, and even adults can remember that uncomfort of the adolescent times.

Not only is this story about the traditional fantasy, it is also an exploration of family and friendship.

"Fablehaven" is a masterpiece in every sense of the word.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book In The World!!!, December 24, 2006
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Fablehaven (Hardcover)
I love this book! It's the best book in the world! I love it much more than the Harry Potter books! I'm not kidding! Some people might think I'm crazy, but Fablehaven is better! I can't wait for the next book to come out in 2007! It is first on my birthday list! If you haven't read this bok, you have to! I mean really, you can't just sit there and not read this book! You should order it now! It's worth the money! I'm done talking now. Just promise me you'll read it. Got it? Okay.
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Fablehaven
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (Paperback - April 24, 2007)
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