Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Fablenhaven: The Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven: The Rise of the Evening Star
by Brandon Mull
YA Fantasy
456 pages
published: 2007
#2 in the Fablehaven series
For: Fun! (And I also get to post this in my Support Your Local Authors Challenge  by Suey and finally feel qualified to grab the button. :)
5 of 5 stars


At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? Can they overcome paralyzing fear? - from Goodreads


I loved these books. This is my second time reading this, and this time it was out loud to my two oldest kids who begged each night for more of the story. They would literally hang on the edge of the their seats or hover around the book as if they could hear it faster by getting closer. There was also much jumping in excitement, pleasure, and terror.

Let me tell you some of things I love about this series, speaking in generalities as best I can:
  • Other than the first book, which started out a bit slow for me (setting up an' all), these books are nearly non-stop action. When there a short lull in the adventure, intrigue and mystery and stuff fill up that space. No slow parts, no skipping, no dragging. Awesome right up to the next awesome. They are perfect read-alouds because nothing is ever boring.
  • Fabulous fleshed out secondary characters, and fabulous "creatures" fully equipped with their own ideas and personalities and history and culture.
  • Great dialogue, witty and fun. Especially between Kendra and Seth.
  • Great sibling relationship portrayal. They are polar opposites and often can't stand each other, and yet love each other too deeply to articulate. They understand each other and barb each other like nobody's business. (See back to dialogue comment.)
  • The logical world the inhabit. Yes, you might snicker at my referring to this made up world as logical, terms of internal logic and well-that-makes-sense-ness, these book rock. The explanations of magic and rules and such are short and well...logical. 
  • There are consequences to your action in this world! Real consequences. Not just "you're grounded" or "now I need to be rescued," but consequences related to the magical logic mentioned, and trust, and all that good stuff.
  • Weaknesses and faults in characters are weaknesses and faults, and sometimes also strengths.
  • Great opportunities to discus things with your kids. (Like that consequence thing, and that weakness thing, and that logic thing, and lots more.) We have frequent in depth discussions about what we are reading.
  • Character development. These characters experience a lot. They grow and change and learn. But. They don't learn too fast. The don't get "fixed" right away. They take steps just like real people do.
In The Rise of the Evening Star specifically,  some of the things I loved and just couldn't wait to read to the kids where: Hugo and his new self, sneaking into a funeral home that may or may not have zombies, potions, brownies, the dungeon, the cursed grove, Warren, the traitor, the leader, the temple and that dang demon cat, the pod, the glutton...

Oh. my. so. much. that's. awesome.

I highly recommend this book to, well, everyone, but especially those boy readers who want lots of adventure. Sure there is a main character that is a girl, but push them past that. They will like her. And there is also Seth. Just wait till you meet Seth. When you're not fantasizing about slapping him, you're loving on him.

source: home library


  1. I've added it to the list. Thanks!

  2. I really need to read this series. But when? :)

    Your spring blog looks lovely!

  3. I have the first one on my shelf. Hope to eventually get around to it. :P

  4. Great review :)

    Side note: Kim's right, your spring look is so lovely.