Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1)
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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > BOTM for October is FABLEHAVEN

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message 1: by Jemima (new) - added it

Jemima Pett | 1350 comments Mod
Welcome to October!

Our book for this month (as voted for on the What shall we read... thread) is Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. This has been on my list for some time, so thank you for picking it and moving it up my list!

The theme for nominations was supernatural animals, and it looks like we've got an excellent choice. After you've read it, put your comments here, and tag any spoilers you include with the < sign to open the word 'spoiler' and a > afterwards. Finish with the same phrase in arrow brackets, but with a / in front of spoiler. (view spoiler)

So hunker down, avoid the wet and windy leafblown alleys outside, and enjoy a cosy read. Or if you're in Australia or New Zealand - welcome to spring!


message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Looks like I may not be the only one who just isn't getting to this. I can't say the genre appeals much, and I am not keeping up!


message 3: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 304 comments Unfortunately I can't get the book at my local library, again. :(


message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
:(


message 5: by Manybooks (new) - added it

Manybooks | 299 comments Rebecca wrote: "Looks like I may not be the only one who just isn't getting to this. I can't say the genre appeals much, and I am not keeping up!"

Ditto for me, not really all that interested and already majorly booked and thus not really wanting to make the effort to read the book.


message 6: by Jemima (new) - added it

Jemima Pett | 1350 comments Mod
I can get Fablehaven online at my library, but not in the flesh, so to speak. I was hoping to read it this month, but I've just started to read something I'm due to review at the end of October - and its HUGE :O


message 7: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 3 comments My husband LOVES Fablehaven. I did not, awful narration aside. We were hoping to see what others have thought of it here.


message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "My husband LOVES Fablehaven. I did not, awful narration aside. We were hoping to see what others have thought of it here."

I hope someone did, and can share an opinion!


message 9: by Carmel (new)

Carmel | 72 comments I could only get it as an ebook. I will only read an ebook if it’s extra good. I read the chapter and it wasn’t all that motivated to continue.


message 10: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Jaeger (jsjaeger) | 168 comments I haven't had as much time to read lately so I'm glad the BotM is one I've already read so I can comment. Overall, I really enjoyed the Fablehaven series. Unfortunately, that was after I forced myself through the first book. I felt the first one was very slow and didn't pick up until the last five or so chapters. Also, the brother's actions drove me crazy. I had to keep reminding myself that he was a younger child and prone to bad decisions. From then on, the series moves well and I couldn't wait to finish it. So, if you can get through the first book, you will be rewarded.


Stewart Hoffman (thebugboys) I'm 35% in and I'm enjoying it. A great adventure story for middle grade readers and up. Secret keys, gardens, creatures, etc. The opening third world-builds perfectly. There is lots to explore in Fablehaven. I'm sure if I had this book at 12 (ish), I wouldn't be able to put it down.


Cindy Wise | 32 comments This book was okay to me, not fabulous...maybe it has to do with a slower start as someone mentioned. It definitely has potential. I just don't feel like I know the characters all that well, which makes it harder for me to connect to them and want to stay on the journey.

I was a little annoyed by the brother too. He did stuff that was just stupid and thoughtless. That was kind of weird to me-I know they wanted these two to take over but really-- no true anger over his choices? Sure he felt bad after the last one but I don't feel like this was explored well enough somehow. Maybe that's back to the character development.
Another meh for me is that Kendra spent a little too much in her thoughts and worries versus taking action despite her fears. I liked that she figured out a plan to save the day but that shift didn't come until literally the very end. This is realistic...sometimes people aren't moved to action until the very last moment. Except it's not as interesting to read about in story form.
I"m glad I read it, it was on my list. But I don't know if I will be going back for more anytime soon.


message 13: by Paula (new)

Paula S (paula_s) This series (together with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson) were the books that turned my kids into readers, so I have very fond memories of them. I'm not sure I have read the whole book, I used to read a couple of pages aloud and then the kid would take over and finish the chapter, so any book I read to them became very disjointed to me.


Stewart Hoffman (thebugboys) Just finished it! Fablehaven was really good. Certainly a very solid first installment that manages to build its fantasy world while also telling an entertaining story. I do see why some others have complained about the character, Seth - he was a pain - but also fearless, and for me, not so annoying as to stop me enjoying this novel.


Melissa Eisenmeier (carpelibrumbooks) | 74 comments I read it a couple years ago. I wasn't particularly impressed. I didn't think Kendra was realistic. Seth seemed more realistic. (view spoiler)


message 16: by SaraKat (last edited Oct 30, 2017 04:49PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

SaraKat | 161 comments Mod
This book started off slowly and I didn't really get into it until the last half. I thought the story was fun and had plenty of twists and turns, but some aspects of it irked me so the rating is a bit lower. The two children who go to visit their Grandparents are a tad bit cliched-- the mischievous boy and the do-gooder sister--but that is kind of resolved by the end of the book. The boy made me want to strangle him and kick his behind a bit. He just kept on thinking he knew better than any adult ever. He seems to have trust issues. :) I would have left him a while after the fairy punishment and fixed him only the day before his parents came back.

There were a couple of aspects that really bothered me. Fairies are obviously an intelligent race--if conceited--but in this story they were trapped and sold like property. I can't see how that is a good thing to include in a story for kids in this day and age. The good guys should not be engaging in fairy trafficking. Also, Viola the cow is kept penned in a space that is barely big enough for her and can't move or go outside. That doesn't seem like a way to keep a "revered" animal to me. The place is big enough that she could have a paddock somewhere.

I liked the fact that Fablehaven was billed as a conservation measure to help the magical species have a place to live that was safe from intrusion by mortals and it reminded me of wildlife preserves in real life.

The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.

Happy thoughts from the character who used to be immortal and now is in an aging human body. :(


SaraKat | 161 comments Mod
Melissa wrote: "I read it a couple years ago. I wasn't particularly impressed. I didn't think Kendra was realistic. Seth seemed more realistic. [spoilers removed]"

That bothered me about Kendra as well, but the author explained that she didn't like risk and even got an upset stomach when doing wrong things. That pretty much sums me up at that age, so I can see where she is coming from! She was forced to act rather than just do what she was told near the end and I thought that was a big development for her. Now Seth? I don't even really believe his cries of remorse for all the trouble he caused.


message 18: by Melissa (last edited Oct 30, 2017 05:45PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melissa Eisenmeier (carpelibrumbooks) | 74 comments I agree with you on Seth not being remorseful and being arrogant. I also agree about the cow.


message 19: by C.J. (new) - rated it 3 stars

C.J. Milbrandt (cjmilbrandt) | 127 comments Mod
My reactions to our October BOTM are pretty much in line with those of others in this thread. I was so frustrated by Seth that I found myself avoiding my usual reading time. That boy kept throwing off my usual Reader's Absorption by kicking me into Mama Mode. (Some people's kids. Yeesh.) My review is here.

I do plan to (eventually) read the rest of the Fablehaven Quintet, because I like the concept and I want to know more about a couple of the minor characters. (Many have assured me that the series improves.) But I may simply skip along to one of Mull's other series. He's a solid storyteller.


Melissa Eisenmeier (carpelibrumbooks) | 74 comments C.J. wrote: "My reactions to our October BOTM are pretty much in line with those of others in this thread. I was so frustrated by Seth that I found myself avoiding my usual reading time. That boy kept throwing ..."

I was frustrated by Seth, too. I was annoyed by Kendra, too. She seemed like a Mary Sue character.


Melissa Eisenmeier (carpelibrumbooks) | 74 comments SaraKat wrote: "This book started off slowly and I didn't really get into it until the last half. I thought the story was fun and had plenty of twists and turns, but some aspects of it irked me so the rating is a ..."

Haha, yeah. Same.


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