Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull


Orson Scott Card calls Brandon Mull a "writer who is clearly going to be a major figure in popular fantasy." And I must admit that I agree with him after reading Fablehaven. Fablehaven is at its simplest the story of a pair of siblings--Kendra and Seth--who go to visit their grandfather for summer vacation. The two did not know their grandfather well. He's always seemed elusive, guarded, unsure. To put it quite simply, a strange man who doesn't act like a grandfather.

He puts his two grandchildren in the attic room. It serves as both bedroom and playroom. The two are given strict rules to obey. Rules that Kendra--for the most part--respects and obeys. Rules that Seth has no intention of following.

For the first sixty pages or so, Fablehaven doesn't seem that magical. It seems strange. Seth in his disobedience finds an unkempt, old woman in the woods living in a shack that he thinks might be "a real witch." And Seth and Kendra both briefly visit the woods and discover a park--a beautiful park--that looks like it came from a dream. Both of those events are weird, strange. But it doesn't get full-blown magical until the two decide to drink some milk.

Bet you didn't expect milk to play a big role in transforming the ordinary world into a magical one!

Seth and Kendra disobey another rule--one prohibiting them from drinking milk--and suddenly get turned on to the world of fairies. Their grandfather instead of being angry is well pleased with his clever grandchildren. For you see, their grandfather's secrets have been waiting and wanting to be discovered.

I don't want to spoil this one for anyone. So I won't tell you what kinds of adventures these kids have while visiting their grandparents. . . but it's exciting through and through. I don't think many will read it and be disappointed.

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