Ann's Reviews > Fablehaven

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
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's review
May 26, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, katie-and-annie-bookclub, young-adult
Recommended to Ann by: Multple people!
Read in May, 2008

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!
I'm so curious about this book! It's Katie's and my next "to-read-together" book:)
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04/13 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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message 1: by X (new)

X This sounds familiar, like I thought of reading it once but never did. I hope it's good!

message 2: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann I hope so, too!!:\

message 3: by Qt (new)

Qt Ooh; looks intriguing!! I haven't heard of it but will be interested to find out what it's like!

message 4: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann Maybe I'll read it in early 2008 (which, ack, is just one day away!!)

Kathryn Oooh, this sounds so neat!!! I will be very curious to hear your thoughts (or, if it looks good when you get it, maybe we'll have to read it together!)

message 6: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann Okay cool!!:D I think it's part of the 4-for-3 Amazon promotion, so maybe we could come up with a good order;)

Kathryn Wow, I love your review, Annie! Great job. I think that, taken together, both of ours give a pretty good description of the book! ;-)

message 8: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann Yup! Totally!:D

message 9: by X (new)

X I guess it wasn't completely bad if you think you might read the other books. Still, it doesn't sound like a fine piece of literature or even a good cheap fantasy. I'm glad there was some small merit to it, but I hope the others are better if you should read them.

message 10: by Qt (new)

Qt Good review! I'm glad you liked it, although too bad it wasn't better--it did look quite good....maybe the other books will improve, if you read them.

message 11: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann It's strange because so many people liked them... I'm just glad Katie and I read it together and we each had the same opinion - otherwise I'd start to wonder about my reviewing skills!! lol

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