By The Wiz
First, I want to say that I am a Fablehaven fan. I have been since the beginning, and I think each book is better than the last. My daughter and I fight over who gets to read it first (and I totally win, thank you very much). This last one is full of adventure, right from the start, and it’s a page turner - don’t pick it up unless you have some time to devote to it.
That being said, my one beef with Fablehaven the whole way through is the grandparents’ role, specifically the grandfather. He basically does NOTHING in all five books. Kendra and Seth (well, more Kendra than Seth) go to him for help, and all he does is call meetings and talk about trying to reach the Sphinx. It is Kendra and Seth that go and actually do stuff. The grandmother does a smidge, but once she’s negotiated with a troll in book one, all her help is done.
I understand this. It is a series for children, so making children the protagonists makes absolute, perfect sense, and I would be MORE angry if the kids just sat around and whined to their grandparents, who then stepped in and fixed it all. HOWEVER, these are not books where all the adults take a back seat. Warren, Tanu, Trask, Mara, and more - all of them go out with the Sorenson kids, they all participate in the adventures, and risk everything for the sake of the Knights of the Dawn. Why can’t Grandpa go somewhere and do something? He has to have some skillz, or else he wouldn’t be caretaker, or a Knight. (I mentioned this to my husband, who paused and said ”he makes pancakes.”)
At the end of book 4, Grandpa Sorenson is made the new Captain of the Knights of the Dawn - FINALLY! He’ll actually get to do something in book five! Nope. He spends all of the book sitting in prison, having been captured five seconds into his first mission. Patton Burgess runs things from his deathbed, from the past, when he’s close to 100. Patton is basically Indiana Jones without the whip - Grandpa can’t have any spunk?
Barring that minor quibble, I of course loved the book. The action begins right away, startingly so. I loved that Seth healed Graulas, only to have the whole thing backfire on him AND the Sphinx (although I thought the demon would have killed him on the spot, but of course that couldn’t happen or else there would be no story). I loved the writing on the wall in the cell (You’re in a Turkish prison! Seth rules!) - I loved that the only really predictable thing was that you were sure it would end well, solely because, well, it just HAD TO, but you weren’t sure HOW it would get there. I kept waiting for someone else to turn traitor, Warren specifically, and even though he didn’t, I loved that I was wondering.
What was with Seth carrying around Thronis’ figurines the whole time in his emergency kit, only to have them be complete nonentities? Hmmmm? I’m just mad because I thought they would figure prominently (like be the key to the last preserve) and every time they were mentioned, I thought “ok, here it comes” but…nope. Red herring. Curse you, Brandon Mull, for not making my theories plausible!!!
How fun was it that Kendra’s love interest used to be a demon prince who was really a dragon in human form and her next crush turned out to a fairy prince who is actually a unicorn in human form? She’s learning to pick better, people. Team unicorn!!
I would have liked to see Seth grow as a shadow charmer a bit more, he didn’t really acquire any new skillz even though many were mentioned. Maybe next book. Oh yeah. This is it. What a bummer. The author does say the characters might show up now and again in future endeavors, so maybe then Seth will be able to do majorly cool, Seth-like stunts. You know, that aren’t evil.
So there you go. I’ve now talked about it, and I feel much better. Two thumbs up. Have any of you read it yet? What did you think?