Matt's Reviews > Fablehaven

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
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's review
Nov 15, 11

bookshelves: kids, young-adult
Recommended for: hmmm
Read from April 25 to September 19, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

I may be the wrong person to review this, since I read it to my kids (aged 7 and 8), and they both loved it. I, however, had some problems, annoyances, with it. Here goes.

Brandon Mull is an excessively descriptive writer. And not in a beautiful, prosey, rich dialogue and deep scenery way. More like spending two full paragraphs cataloging the contents of a room that is never visited again. Or peppering a scene with characters and first and last names that never pop up again. He is a master at using other words for said or asked: stammered, inquired, questioned, mumbled, barked -- things which make the writing appear amateurish and word count-based. My other complaint with the book is the plot. I felt like the whole book he was just feeling out the plot, seeing which may the story might take him, like we the readers are following his thought process as he tries to build a story, instead of reading a thought-out and complete tale. This could be very distracting at times. Characters kind of come and go, things slow down all the time, nothing happens then bang something *does* happen, then it slows and comes to a quick head at the end.

These complaints aside ... my kids loved it. Each night when I would stop they would beg me to continue. So, obviously, Mull knows a little something about what he's doing. (Or he's reading this with a sly smile inventing a character named Sidney Snoodles who's going to itemize my use of various words throughout this review and write it all out then disappear into a hole in the ground, all chalked up to a disturbance in the magical veil in my realm of the world.)

P.S.: We've started Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven #2), which was released just shortly before his The Candy Shop War (which I liked quite a bit more than Fablehaven, even with some similar complaints), and the plot already seems somewhat derivative of Candy Shop War: the kids meet a seemingly innocent but odd stranger who sends them on a "mission" of questionable legality late at night -- very video gamey. But, that might be a whole separate rant. We'll wait and see.

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Reading Progress

04/26/2011 page 7
2.0% "Started reading this to the kids."
05/01/2011 page 36
10.0% 1 comment
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather haha, some people were just asking for this in the bookstore yesterday! it is very popular right now, hm?

Matt well, we got it to read to the kids. it has taken us forever--i started reading it to them in april. we just finished it a couple nights ago. it's a fun modern fantasy story, but i really have issues with his writing style (so much so that i literally have to withhold signs of annoyance basically). we read another of his books (listened to the cds on our texas trip) called the candy shop war, and it was a much better story in my opinion--really cool actually--except same lame writing techniques and cliches. oh well. the kids loved it.

message 3: by Heather (new)

Heather okay good to know. it was funny, a mother and son were looking for it, the son was maybe 12ish and they were kind of offended that i called it YA, they wanted to say it was regular adult fantasy fiction. sooooo many adults are into the YA stuff right now, and they are a bit embarrassed to admit it oftentimes. weird.

Matt that is really weird, but--with Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc., it does seem that the moneymakers are the crossover YA/adult stuff. crazy. i hate being TOO hard on Fablehaven--it is exactly what i expected--and in that sense i guess it would be great if a 12-year was into it. at least it's age-appropriate! haha

Tawni I'm super late to this conversation but I just read them all. :) I loved them and couldn't put them down but when I get into a story I don't end up focusing on the actually writing unless it seriously drones on. My imagination takes over, I'm in the story and nothing else matters. :D

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