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Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star Hardcover – May 1, 2007
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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Featuring plenty of heroism and hilarity, this follow-up to Fablehaven ... is rich in creatures, magic-working, hard-fought battles, plots within plots and chemistry. --Kirkus Reviews
This sequel has all of the ingredients to not disappoint. Mr. Mull has mastered the recipe for an exciting fantasy with plenty of plot twists, bravery and dashes of humor throughout! Hope you have a huge appetite for excitement because once you start, you won t want to stop! --Columbia Daily Tribune
"Crafty 'Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star' is a page turner…Brandon Mull has conquered the 'sophomore slump.'" --Deseret Morning News
About the Author
Mull s Imagination Can Take You Places Tour, is showing students the power of reading and creating. From California to Indiana, from New Hampshire to Florida, Brandon listens as kids share their dreams for the future. His message is READ to grow your imagination.
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This was such a fun roller coaster adventure to read. Just like the first book in the series there are so many cool creatures to learn about and some great lessons to learn.
It's been a year since Kendra and the fairies saved Fablehaven from Muriel and her demon. While Kendra and Seth still think of returning, they never expected the creatures of Fablehaven to come to then. That's just what happens when a kobold posing as an attractive classmate enrolls in Kendra's class at school. With the school year almost over and no way to reach Grandpa the children must figure out how to deal with the creature on their own. Unfortunately not all those offering help are really on their side and in their quest to rid the school of the kobold Seth unknowingly unleashes a demon determined to devour him. The children are soon whisked away to Fablehaven but will the reserve's protections be enough to save Seth from his pending doom? And are all the dangers really outside the gates?
You know I debated a while on the rating for this. I initially intended not to give this book anything higher than three stars simply because even though the action begins soon I had a heck of a time getting into this novel. It took me four sittings to read this book and while that may not sound like much for me it really is. If I'm reading alone which I am most of the time if a book grabs me the only way I wouldn't finish it in one sitting is if I was so exhausted I was falling asleep standing up. For example I never picked up a Harry Potter book until the fifth novel was already released. I borrowed the first five from a cousin and didn't sleep for two days while devouring all five in that time period. I read Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers Trilogy in one sitting and the first three novels in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series in one sitting. Actually, with that it was the first four if you count Winter's Passage. The reason I'm able to do this blog is that most of the time I can read the book in a couple hours, write the review in about 20 to 30 minutes send it to Ed to post and go on about my day. Of course that speed only comes if a book grips me. Most nonfiction novels will take me weeks to read because I have trouble making it through chapters without falling asleep. For it to have taken four sitting for me to finish this book tells you I really did have a difficult time getting into the book. What saved this novel from receiving a lower rating than its predecessor is its spectacular ending. Fablehaven-Rise of the Evening Star has the kind of ending that makes you sit back and go wow, I wasn't expecting that. And when you reach those scenes toward the end you can't turn the pages fast enough to discover what will happen next. While the ending of the finale of the first novel was excellent before it slowly wound down and lets you walk away calmly, with this second installment it was phenomenal and then over. There is no quite drive away from the preserve, there's just shock factor then lights out. Obviously that's one of my favorite parts of the novel but to really describe what happened to you in that scene and explain why the ending was enough to bump my rating up to four stars it would ruin the effect of said ending. This is one of those you'll know what I mean if you read the book moments.
Before I go into the portions of the novel I make an effort to comment on I want to make a comment on something I normally wouldn't mention. I'm not one who pays a ton of attention to illustrations, I'd rather rely on my own mental picture of things. The illustrations in this book however I found distracting and not in a good way. What particularly bothered me was the drawing of Kendra who is supposed to be almost fifteen. In the drawing I would peg her at maybe eight years old. If the novel is going to be illustrated the drawings should at least portray the characters somewhere near the age stated in the novel. It's distracting to see drawings of teenagers in which they appear to be small children. I'll give you that this is a middle grade novel and kids enjoy pictures but I would think this portrayal of Kendra was probably distracting to even those that enjoy pictures in their novels. I know this doesn't have anything to do with Mull's writing, but if a publisher is going to add illustrations to a book said illustrations should portray the characters as described in the novel. It left me wondering if the illustrator even read the novel.
While the plot was well written, interesting and proceeded in a logical order, something about the opening that I can't quite put my finger on didn't grip me in the way it was meant to. This novel basically gives you action from page one so it should have been extremely fast paced, but to me the pacing came across as quite slow. I really can't explain the why of it, but if someone else knows what I mean and could clarify for me it would be greatly appreciated. Like the first novel it does cater to the younger reader and while adults may enjoy a onetime read, I don't see them reading it over and over the way a child would. However since the novel is a middle grade novel that's probably a positive attribute of the work. This is the kind of book you give to your 8-12 year old that likes to read. I personally plan to pass the series to my soon to be eleven year old daughter, the only one of my children who shares my love of reading. I think what made this novel harder to get into than the first novel is that in the first novel Mull sort of slowly led us into the world of Fablehaven through Kendra's eyes. With his mostly slow paced style of writing easing into the world and wrapping it around a reader is an excellent method of gripping the reader. I don't feel jumping right into the action without that lead in works for him as a writer. One thing I can say about the plot is that nothing was really predictable. Every scene was unexpected from the very first shocker of a kobold walking into Kendra's classroom. I was just as surprised as Kendra when I learned who the villain of the tale was and of course as stated above I was shocked by the ending. Each surprise made sense as Mull explained it but it certainly wasn't how you expected the novel to progress.
As I believe I mentioned in my previous review Kendra and Seth are memorable characters however they really needed more fleshing in the first novel. In this novel these leading characters got a little more flesh on their bones than in the first though we still didn't get a lot of insight into other characters. I don't think this matters as much to a child reader as it does to an adult so I still think this will work for him. I don't remember being presented with many intricate characters in the books I read as a kid and I still loved reading them, so I don't think this is so much a negative trait, more another feature marking the book as a novel meant for children. One thing I will mention though about the characters is that Mull himself seems to sometimes forget the ages of his characters when he brings us into their minds. Kendra comes across much younger than almost 15 at points, though I will say Seth seems to fit nicely with the average 12 year old boy. I think what needs to be remembered is that on average girls mentally mature faster than boys and at times my almost eleven year old seems vastly more mature than Kendra who is in her teens. No Kendra isn't an adult and shouldn't come across as one, but she's missing that 14 going on 40 mindset which is common in girls her age. For me this detracted from Kendra's believability as a character. I don't know if this would be the case for a child reader since it's been a while since I've been a child. But I think even Kennedy would notice that Kendra is a bit immature on how she thinks of things. However one thing I did like in terms of maturity was that Seth did actually complain about sharing a room with Kendra in this novel which made that whole arrangement a little more realistic.
To get the entire feel for this novel I think the first novel in the series needs to be read before this one, only because you don't get that nice lead in to the world that you received in the original Fablehaven. I mean I guess it could work as a standalone, but you'd really be missing a lot if you didn't read the first book in the series.
Overall it's a good novel with more action than the first, in fact even though it came across with slow pacing the book is almost nonstop action filled with surprise. However like I've previously stated an adult may enjoy this novel once, but for the most part its audience is the middle grade reader. If you don't have kids to pass the book on to I recommend checking it out of your local library so that you can experience the adventure without having purchased a book you're probably not going to read more than once. If you do have kids who enjoy reading I will say it's money well spent, but not as much if you're just an adult reader of children's and young adult fiction.
The second book of Fablehaven is really quite good and its a wonderful followup to the first one.
Two of my favorite lessons from the book:
1) Kids can learn that confidence fixes a lot of problems. This manifests itself in many places in the book. And its true in real life, too.
2) The machinations of evil follow a pattern that holds a lesson. I don't want to give anything away, but its regarding other people's motivations and not to be too naive and trusting. This surfaces at least 3 times in the book and then its spelled out for you. Its a wonderful lesson for teens to use in real life, especially at the age my daughter is.
So, I'm very happy with this book on those levels. There are many other lessons, but you'll have to read the book to find them.
Otherwise, i can only tell you that its an interesting read, entertaining, holds together well. Nothing too scary, but scary enough to be cool and fun. On rare occasions people seem to speak in a bit of a stilted way when they are explaining things, and lack some character depth, but lets not be too picky.
The author does a wonderful job of tying in concepts and mysteries introduced in the first book, as well as laying the groundwork for new concepts and mysteries. For example, you find out how Grandma became transformed in book 1, yet he leaves it at that, leaving the concept to be more thoroughly plumbed in a future book. In short, the series has been thought out ahead of time, which is always a good sign.
These mildly complicated story patterns will be enjoyed by "young at heart" adults as well as children.
All in all, at $6.99 delivered (I'm with amazon prime) its a no-brainer "buy".