Monday, July 27, 2015

Fablehaven - Brandon Mull

If you follow my blog, you know the occasional spoiler ends up in each of my book reviews.  So, if you don't like spoilers, save this review for later.  Otherwise, read on.
I heard about the book Fablehaven when I was looking for another book to read.  I thought it looked interesting, so I checked it out from the library.  Remember when I read The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer?  And I basically said the book was terrible?  I didn't think I would ever be able to find a children's book as bad as The Land of Stories.  I was wrong.  Fablehaven, the first in a series (help us all!) is just as bad as The Land of Stories.
The book opens with Kendra and Seth's parents preparing to go on a cruise with their mother's siblings and their spouses.  This was, after all, the dying wish of Seth and Kendra's maternal grandparents.  So, since kids are not allowed on this three week cruise, Seth and Kendra are being shipped off to stay with their dad's parents - whom they've only met a handful of times. 
Kendra and Seth get dropped off at Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson's house - where they are met by their grandpa and a couple people who work for him.  They are told that their grandma is "traveling," and are shown to their attic room where they are given a bunch of rules they must follow while at Fablehaven.  After a couple days, they finally figure out the place is magical by drinking a bunch of milk left out for some "butterflies."  Turns out, the butterflies are really faeries, and Fablehaven is home to tons of magical creatures who have nowhere else to go.
The story takes a weird turn when Seth pisses off a fairy and gets turned into a walrus by the other faeries.  He gets turned human again by a witch who lives in the woods - the only hitch is: with every wish she grants another knot holding her hostage gets untied.  So, after saving Seth, she has one knot left.  This worries their grandpa, as it should because later Seth and Kendra need her help and free the last knot.
A whole bunch of other crazy stuff happens, including Seth and Kendra learning that their grandma was turned into a chicken.  During a midsummer eve festival, their grandpa gets kidnapped, as does Dale and the housekeeper. 
Now, I really wanted to like this book.  I mean, magic, faeries, what's not to like?  But I realized not even 10 pages into this book that it was going to be another book I would never, could never, recommend.  The quality of the writing is low, and makes me wonder how the book ever got published in the first place.  Yes, it is true this is a book written for kids, but kids are smart.  They deserve to read books that are well written and have a good story.  This had neither.
That brings me to another point: the first half of the book moves so slowly that I started to wonder if their would be ANY action to the book at all.  There was almost nothing of substance that happened until almost halfway through.  That makes not for a good book - especially when writing for kids!  You think adults get bored with plotless stories?  Add in the short attention spans that children have and it's just not going to work.
When I got to the point in the story where the author made a racist comment about Chinese people, I knew there was no way I could finish this series or recommend it to others.  Save your time for books that are actually well written - this one gets an F all around.

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