Fablehaven is a refuge for mystical and magical creatures, both ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ I use those terms lightly as a Brownie may mistakenly be considered good when it repairs a broken vase. But it did not repair it out of the kindness of its heart, rather its nature is to repair. It does so without reward. Fablehaven is inhabited by creatures from disparate lore: fairies, naiads, golems, demons, and a giant cow. The story is engaging and evenly paced. The interactions between the siblings (Seth, the young risk-taker, and Kendra, the sagacious elder) are often humorous and always believable.
“Seth had never scared easily. This was the kid who had jumped off the roof under the misguided assumption that a garbage bag would work like a parachute” (p 46).
One of my favorite passages occurs early on (p 38), when Seth happens across a mangy witch tied up with a knotted rope and she invites him inside her shack.
“I better not,” he said again. “I don’t see how you could live out here like this and not be crazy.”
“Sometimes good people grow weary of society.” She sounded a little annoyed. “You happened upon me by accident? Out exploring?”
“Actually, I’m selling candy bars for my soccer team. It’s a good cause.”
She stared at him.
“I have my best luck in rich neighborhoods.”
She kept staring.
Seth’s adventurous spirit sets much of the plot in motion, but he also makes an excellent guinea pig for his older, more cautious sister. Passages like this were gold and so I finished this rather quickly. It didn’t have the excellent structure, buildup and bang ending like the Bartimeaus Trilogy but volume one has left enough breadcrumbs to keep me interested. And it had excellent illustrations (something I normally see in juvenile books). So I will be picking up the sequels.
I picked this up on a recommendation from Rick Riordan at Myth and Mystery.