Fablehaven: Fablehaven Series, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Fablehaven: Fablehaven Series, Book 1



Exciting but flawed fantasy series launch.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive role models

Seth repeatedly disobeys adults as a matter of course, putting everyone in danger.


Battles with magical creatures, some of whom die, and children in danger.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that aside from some fantasy violence, one of the two main characters repeatedly and stupidly disobeys adults, putting himself and others in serious danger, and seems to learn nothing from the experiences.

What's the story?

When Kendra and Seth are sent to stay with their grandfather while their parents take a vacation, they are sternly warned not to go into the woods. Seth does anyway, and discovers a witch, from whom he has to escape. Soon the children discover that their grandfather's lands house many creatures of myth and fairytale, both good and evil.

Warned not to mess with the creatures, Seth captures a fairy, which unleashes a retributive attack on him, and damages the alliance between his grandfather and the fairies. Warned not to open his window on Midsummer's Eve, Seth does anyway, which brings about the kidnapping of his grandfather, the unleashing of an evil and powerful monster, and the collapse of the covenants protecting humans.

Is it any good?


An old subgenre of backyard fantasy is getting a second life these days, and Brandon Mull's variation has moments of real excitement and suspense, and a few original touches. Unfortunately, Mull resorts to some of the hoariest, and most didactic and annoying, tricks in the writer's bag to get the plot moving.

His primary action-inducer is having Seth repeatedly disobey his grandfather, with predictably terrifying and life-threatening results -- from which he seems to learn nothing. Worse is the stereotyping of the two children: Seth is a boys-will-be-boys type who is not only disobedient and mischievous but also blockheaded, while Kendra is good and virtuous and clever, which enables her to save the day after Seth has messed everything up. Let's hope that in the next volume Mull has gotten the stupid-kid tricks out of his system, and can focus on developing the clever aspects of his premise.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea of a hidden world in our own backyards. Why is this idea so popular right now?

  • Is it possible? Have you ever seen anything you couldn't explain?

  • Also, why do some authors use foolish, disobedient kids to drive the plot?

  • Can you think of any other ways to get the action moving in this story?

Book details

Author:Brandon Mull
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication date:August 1, 2006
Number of pages:359

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Teen, 13 years old Written bybooknook23 September 17, 2015


I think this is a really good book! I was really into it and loved it! I'm sad lots of people stopped reading after they tried to read the second book. Out of the whole series, this one was hardest for me to get into, but if you push through to the 3rd book, it gets better! In fact, for me, the 3rd book is one of my favorites. And I know that this site is suppose to be "unbiased", but I've noticed that they give brandon mull a lot of bad reviews. All they say for this is "Parents need to know that aside from some fantasy violence, one of the two main characters repeatedly and stupidly disobeys adults, putting himself and others in serious danger, and seems to learn nothing from the experiences." they don't include the good story told, and how its about 2 kids who learn how to be better! Seth learns to not be so stupid, and Kendra learns to be more brave! This is a great book, and I feel like Common Sense isn't doing it justice.
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written by1Firefly March 20, 2009

Step into a magical world right where you live!

I stumbled upon this book while seeking something to replace the gap left by Harry Potter. While the writing isn't as good, and Mull is just getting started here, I found myself swept up in the magic, and eager for more. I went into it not knowing anything about it at all, which is the way I like to approach new fantasy, so every experience is unexpected. The book is classic good and evil, where two children unite to save the world. Some scenes may be difficult for the very young, but overall, I found it enchanting and something I want to recommend. As far as stereotyping, Mull could have switched the genders, but then it would have been an obvious ploy at political correctness. I've had enough of that to last me, thanks. I give it five stars for multigenerational inclusion and family togetherness.
Parent of a 4, 7, 9, 16, and 17 year old Written byClaireGuthrie September 3, 2009

Awesome......but watch out for the disobedience

Probably the best series I have ever read. My kids from 4 up to 16 enjoyed it. We listened to it on CD on a road trip. The constant disobedience of Seth is not a good role model..... this concerns me. I have had to talk to the kids about consequences to bad behaviour, because this character is not really ever punished for his disobedience.


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