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Book Review: Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

Title: Fablehaven

Author: Brandon Mull

Series: Fablehaven  #1

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite … Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

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The Review:

I have been trying to write this review for at least three months. Everything I put to paper just doesn’t do the series justice, and I’m stuck staring at a full page of notes not knowing the best way to put them together. Suffice to say, I love everything about this series and am now reading it again for my fifth or sixth time (which is really saying something given how many books I have on my TBR list). It is one of the best series I’ve ever read even compared to all the mainstream adult fantasy out there. Let’s put it this way, it’s not quite Harry Potter epic, but it is the closest thing I’ve come across since.
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What Brandon Mull does so well is offer adventure and wonder at every turn to capture your imagination and make you feel like a kid again. Every few pages he introduces something fun and creative, but it’s never frivolous. Every scene takes us farther and farther into this brilliant world which only continues to build off itself and get more exciting with each book. I found every last moment captivating and am in awe at Mull’s ability to tell such a great story. It’s weird, too, because he keeps the plot simple enough for kids to really get into, introducing rounded, relatable characters, but writes in a sophisticated enough manner for adults to enjoy just as much if not more than the kids. It’s not a fluke, either. I saw him do the same thing in the Candy Shop Wars – he just knows how to weave wonder and magic into his story in a way that’s accessible to all ages.
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Overall, I’m not sure what else to say without absolutely gushing – it’s clear I love this series. Most people have usually already read it, and I’m assuming that if you’re reading this review you probably have too. All I can say is, if you enjoy fantasy and children’s literature and have not yet picked this one up, it should definitely be next on your list!
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Recommendations:  I recommend this to anyone who says they loved Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. It’s also the first one I gravitates to when parents are trying to get their kids more into reading (provided said child likes fantasy). Personally, I don’t think this series has any age limit so I recommend it to anybody wanting to go on an adventure and feel like a kid again!
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Other books you might like:
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Book Review: Redwall by Brian Jacques

Title: Redwall

Author: Brian Jacques

Series: Redwall #1

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice is threatened by Cluny the Scourge – the evil-one-eyed rat warlord – and his battle-hardened horde of predators. Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army but he hasn’t bargained for the courage and strength of the combined forces of the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends. . . . .

The Review:

If I could say one thing about Jacques, it’s that he was a master storyteller! His books take you on grand adventures that rival the best fantasy novels out there. I’ve read them so many times the covers are falling off! An what’s more, the series sustains itself, with drawn out stories about downright fascinating characters. Bravery and Goodness can come from anywhere, and there are always evil-doers to stand up to. They are such well-rounded stories that I recommend them to even you hardcore fatasy buffs out there. They are often overlooked because people are expecting them to be like “Watership Down” or “Animal Farm”, and while those are worthwhile books in a certian context and place, they do not make for happy fantasy reading like these books do.

Redwall will make you forget you’re reading about animals. They boast creatively awesome representatives of different races. For example, mice are the humans of this world, sort of the standard by which we measure everyone else. The rabbits are the comic relief, and always put off a dwarf-like sentiment. The otters are the graceful archers, and very elf-like in their mannerisms. Even the villians are special – with rats as the cannon fodder and henchmen (orcs) and other creatures such as foxes and weasels who plot against our heroes.

All in all, I can credit this series for sparking my interest in books when I was in the fifth grade. I saw one in the library, and started reading smaller books with the hopes of working my way up to one someday. These are excellent adventures for children, and I’m a living example that they encourage literacy at young ages. As an adult I still love them, and am long overdue for another reread!

Word of warning: do not read these books if you are hungry… you’ll see.

by Niki Hawkes