Kayleigh's Reviews > Fablehaven

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
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's review
Oct 29, 11

bookshelves: young-adult-fantasy
Read from October 20 to 28, 2011

2.5 stars, mostly for potential

Another tragic example of a great idea with poor execution. I'd been warned that the characterizations weren't that good, so I wasn't expecting much on that front. Still, I was more annoyed than I thought I'd be. Seth and Kendra are not merely generic, they're stereotypical. Seth is the rule-breaker whose inquisitive nature gets him into trouble, whereas Kendra, because she's a giirrrl, is an overly cautious honor student who never disobeys rules, keeps her room tidy, and hates dirt, snakes, porcupines, chickens, frogs, and pretty much all animals as far as I can tell, except hummingbirds and butterflies. Despite Mull's attempts at charming quirkiness, however, both characters come across as flat and artificial. The argumentative-sibling dynamic was tedious and unconvincing, and the kids are written awfully young--Kendra acts more like a ten-or-eleven-year old than a girl in her early teens, and if Seth's age hadn't been given (more than once, if I remember correctly) as eleven, I would have guessed him to be about eight.
This book has a fantastic premise, but I feel like the author didn't think it through carefully enough; there were several aspects to the story that felt rather thin. Add to that Mull's fondness for short, choppy, often semirepetetive sentences and complete lack of biological knowledge (goat prints an horse prints look nothing alike, and snake skin does not have a slimy texture; do some research), and you have an underwhelming read. Still, I was intrigued enough by the story to finish it, and may even read the rest of the series. I'd like to see what happens next, and there's always the possibility of improvement.
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