Fablehaven: Fablehaven Series, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Fablehaven: Fablehaven Series, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Exciting but flawed fantasy series launch.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 73 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 starte... Continue reading
Adult Written byLucas C. March 7, 2017

Great book, forgivable flaws.

Your review has fair points but is a bit too unforgiving IMO. By the end of the book, Seth has visibly grown as a character. Further into the series, I actuall... Continue reading
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. Ou... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybuckahanhan September 27, 2018

It kinda sucks; here's why:

*KEEP IN MIND: I did not read the others in the series. Supposedly, they are better than this one. Unfortunately, I wasn't intrigued enough to continue rea... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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