Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Parent reviews for Fablehaven: Fablehaven Series, Book 1

Common Sense says

Exciting but flawed fantasy series launch.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 57 reviews
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.
Adult Written byApplesnBananas March 6, 2012

It's okay but far from amazing.

I adored the concept of the book,involving mythical creatures and putting it into a somewhat "new" context, but what made me want to stop reading it was the main character, notice I said main character here, not main characters. I find it frustrating that throughout all of the books the girl, Kendra is gifted with powers, adored by not only other people, but also favored by the family. As for the other said main character, Seth, her younger brother, he gets the butt of everything, he works for it and in the end gets a slap in the face ,not getting encouraged or thanked for helping, rather get insulted and criticized for it,completely opposite of how other minor characters treat his sister.Yes,Seth may seem annoying, downright idiotic at times, but that proved he was human, that he has flaws, for along with his bravery, he is fairly annoying, idiotic, while his sister, she is pin-pointed as "perfection" from the very beginning, or at least from the start of the second book to the end of the whole thing. This story had potential, but I couldn't stand the main protagonist long enough to finish it. The worst part is, nobody seems to see that, only that the younger brother is stupid, isn't "special" as his sister and annoying.The very least though, at least the boy has character development throughout while his sister doesn't seem to develop at all, rather the opposite and constantly treated like the princess,which was the reason that made me stop reading. Again, great concept,but the way the characters are represented, in this case mainly Kendra and Seth, it's just pathetic. To say people believe that the girl is a true role-model while her brother is just foolish is downright wrong, if I do say so myself. Humans are far from perfect so unless you don't mind that concept being neglected upon the main protagonist there, than by all means you will probably enjoy the story. Sadly, for me, I couldn't ignore it and thus were unable to finish the story thinking it was that amazing or worth my time.
Adult Written byabookaweek November 4, 2011

Fablehaven: Book 1

This was a great book that I didn't want to put down! The main characters Seth & Kendra are likable and you can't help but wish that they make the right choices when faced with the never ending obstacles and situations they encounter while staying with their grandparents at Fablehaven. Magical creatures abound throughout the story and pay attention because many will resurface in the books 2-5. Although Seth sometimes goes against the rules, his heart is in the right place. A great beginning to a great kids series!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 1, 3, 5, and 14 year old Written byTheDadOf4 July 11, 2013

Great series despite a disobedient kid

We really enjoyed this book. I agree that Seth "just doesn't get it" and the slight spoiler is that most of the series his attitude doesn't change much. The idea behind it can be seen as Set does everything his way (the ways of the world) and Kendra does everything she's supposed to do (God's way). Both get in a heap of challenges. Ultimately (series long), they both grow and save the world (that's not really a spoiler for a kid's series, is it?) Seth's disobedience is addressed multiple times and he has serious consequences because of it. Other characters display other literary archetypes (Kendra the reluctant hero[ine], lots of characters whose outward appearance might not reflect their true selves, and a villain trapped in evil by his own actions). There are open-ended parent/teacher questions in the back of the book that help discuss this book and its important lessons with kids. My only regret is that it 5 books before you can see the total character development. That can be a lot to read for a complete message.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byLili77 June 15, 2010
I liked it very much. My daughter devoured it. It's fary tales , scary stuf, but with a good foundation.
Adult Written byprimarygirl March 5, 2010

Good read for everyone! Including adults.

I loved this book! My kids loved it, even my 10 year old that doesn't like to read. Seth does make some pretty bad choices but I feel like he suffers the consequences for those choices. I like the opposites in Kendra and Seth. It really shows kids that they don't have to make the wrong choices. I love how magical the story is and my children loved escaping into that world when they had a hard day. I also like that I don't have to worry about language or sexual references. Great read...fun storyline and fatastic characters! I would recommend it to anyone.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 15 year old Written byBasketball2404 February 4, 2013

Inspirantional

Alright, so fablehaven the best book plus series, that i have ever read. i picked 10 because 10 year olds are the one who would understand it better, and what the book is actually talking about. but anyway i loved this book because the tone, and the attitude brandon puts towards the audience is wonderful.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 11 and 13 year old Written bymiznina May 13, 2010
This is the book that will get kids who hate to read begging you not to turn the lights out and asking for just 5 more minutes. The series as a whole shows great character development. Characters who make stupid choices pay the price, and learn and grow from their mistakes.
Adult Written bybabydirtybike November 18, 2014

Way too scary

I am kind of surprised at how few reviews found this book scary. the old lady in the woods and that toddler baby/ demon on the roof were way over the top and out of line with other parts of the book which I found really interesting. we listened to it in the car this evening and my kids are all up with their lights on too scared to go to sleep, as we speak! If your kids have vivid imaginations then I think skip this book. My kids preferred Beyonders and Candy shop wars , both of which had their own creepy moments, but nothing like this one. I have watched walking dead and was and I am creeped out too.
Adult Written bycleanmoviemama August 9, 2011

inspiring

I think that this whole series is wonderful. I loved it! It has great messages. The first book is a little slow, but by the fifth one I was thinking it was the best book I have ever read. They all build on each other. They teach kids to dive deep within to find their strength and fight for the right regardless of how much is against you. They also teach that everyone is needed and has their own talents. Our experiences and trials in life help us get through the future. There are magical beings in this book, and lots of them are possibly classified as dark magic, but this book has no evil feel, and instead brings a spirit of hope and joy and that life is worth it and it's worth fighting for what you know is right

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 6 year old Written byadinscore November 24, 2015

Excellent series, despite its flaws

I listened to this entire series with my seven and five year old sons. I agree with the reviewer that Seth and Kendra are cast into stereotypical roles but I can forgive that for a really good story. Each of the kids gets a chance to be the hero, which I liked, although the sibling bickering (though realistic) got a bit old. Overall, though, this was a REALLY fun series to listen to. My five year old couldn't sit through it all, but he had us give him "updates" at the end of each listening session so he could keep track of what was going on. My seven year old and I both loved it --I wouldn't even let him listen to it without me, because I was so hooked on it! It does get a bit violent in the later books, but nothing over the top. Also, Seth does have major consequences for his antics later on in the series which requires some soul searching and further character development. I'd highly recommend this series to just about anyone.
Parent of a 9 and 10 year old Written byKid MD January 30, 2011
Some very intense parts during a chapter title "Midnight Summer's Eve" where a young infant is depicted walking on a a roof to lure Seth to letting demons into the house. Other that one chapter I loved the book and the series. I recommend it highly after instructing parents to read the above chapter and decide if it is appropriate for their child's level of maturity.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent Written byMsKrista September 8, 2010

Fablehaven is a great series!

Loved this book! Actually, I loved the whole series! You can check out Brandon Mull and Fablehaven on FB. or check here: brandonmull.com

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 11 year old Written bywisewoman May 18, 2010

Read with your child - you'll both enjoy this book.

Good and bad role models. As others have stated, Seth's behavior doesn't seem to receive much punishment and he never quite seems to learn. I hope to see the character develop a little maturity soon. On the upside of negative role models, it's a great read and a perfect opportunity to read with your kids. Opens up great dialogue about appropriate behavior and the dangers of breaking the rules. Easy to equate with their own neighborhood and why we have family/friend rules. Personally, I adore these books (all of them) and my daughter does, as well. She loves to read but still looks forward to our reading time together when it comes to these books. I would highly recommend reading the book with your child! It's a great escape for both of you!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byL A January 11, 2017

My favorite book/series!

After seeing the rating this book has received, I actually joined the community at Common Sense Media just so I could write a review. I am a lifelong lover of the fantasy genre and an avid reader (English major, language arts teacher), so I was amazed and impressed that this series offered me new characters, novel experiences and plot twists I truly did not expect. This is my FAVORITE series I have read so far in my life, and I was extremely sad when I finished the "ride." My daughter was a reluctant reader, but this compelling series made her want to read more and more, and now she is a more confident reader because of it! Our whole family (including my husband, who is also a reluctant reader) has thoroughly enjoyed reading this series, and we have also shared it with others, who also enjoyed it. Thank you, Brandon Mull, for such quality entertainment!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 3, 5, 7, and 9 year old Written by6whittingtons November 20, 2009

Fantasy, adventure and family make for a good read.

An imaginative fantastical story! This is a family who works together to preserve magical creatures. I loved the compare and contrast between the main characters Kendra and Seth. Kendra is a rule keeper and is rewarded in the end for it. Seth on the other hand is a rule breaker and suffers the natural and disciplinary consequences of that. Not that Kendra is all good or Seth is all bad but it was good to get away from the typical "ends justify the means" attitude contained in many of the books in this genre. This book contains creatures both good, evil and in between. The evil are scary at times. The series does get a little darker as the books progress.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Parent of a 6, 9, 13, and 15 year old Written byfmlyfn September 14, 2009

Fun fantasy read for older kids and parents too

Even though the boy continues to do dumb things it is a good time to point out the negative consequences that follow. My older girls and I thought it was a fun read and have read all 4 books. It is one of our favorite series.
Adult Written byAdrianaraby1 October 23, 2018

Boring

I am 3/4 into the book and it is BORING. I started skimming areas that are going no where. Also it’s pretty violent and in an unnecessary way. The violence and scary stuff doesn’t add to the story or characters. I just want to finish the book so maybe I can enjoy the second one. The kid I nanny is reading this book and we usually have fun talking about the books we read together but this one? Nothing.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
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 actually found myself siding with Seth more than his grandfather as he learned to take risks only when it's worth it, etc. (Minor spoiler warning) Also, there are plenty of role models. Ruth comes to mind in particular. Lena, Stanley, and in small ways perhaps Maddox could all be considered good role models for different reasons. (Spoiler warning over) I 100% recommend this book. While it definitely has its flaws, the series is very good.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness

Pages