Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I admit it. I saw the title of this book and just wanted to read it. I am a wordy girl, and I love the way "Fablehaven" looks and rolls off my tongue. Then, when I was at Book Expo, and Brandon Mull handed over a signed copy of the second installment, I was off to B&N for a copy of the first.
I cannot believe this is a first novel.
Kendra and Seth's maternal grandparents just suffered an untimely death and their wish was that Kendra's parents and all of the adult siblings go on a Scandanavian cruise! Kendra and Seth are to go to Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson's place for a two week stay. The kids have hardly ever seen the Sorenson side of the family, and when they do, Grandpa and Grandma are rarely together. Kendra thinks they may be secretly divorced!
When the kids arrive, Grandpa and his help are the only ones there. Grandma is apparently off visiting a sick relative. Grandpa leads the children to the attic where they will be staying. It's bright and sunny and is filled with toys for the children to play with, art projects to begin and puzzles to solve. There is even a pet chicken to take care of!
Then Grandpa lays down the rules. No going in the barn. Ever. No going into the woods. Lots of ticks, he says. There is a lovely pool, and a gorgeous garden with loads of butterflies and dragonflies. Kendra is appeased by the pursuits provided, but not Seth! He takes his emergency kit, and heads for the woods. He figures he can pull off any ticks he sees. The path in the woods leads him to something he doesn't expect. A cabin of ivy. Inside is an old woman, with matted hair. She smells foul and is chewing on a rope. After being invited in repeatedly, Seth gets spooked and begins to run home. He can hear something pursuing him, but he sees nothing.
Kendra, meanwhile, is figuring out the puzzles left in the attic. At the end of the puzzle is the command "Drink the milk". She knows that this must refer to the milk that Grandpa's helper Dale was leaving at the edge of the forest for the butterflies. Kendra, ever timid, gets Seth to do the deed.
Their lives are about to change.
These are not butterflies in the garden, but fairies! And there are not ticks in the forest, but magical creatures of all sorts. Good and evil. That is why Grandpa Sorenson, who is the caretaker of this preserve, has so many rules.
Midsummer's Night is just around the corner, and Grandpa says that anything can happen on that magical night. Seth, per usual, doesn't take the warning seriously, and soon there are serious consequences.
This is a heart-thumping page turner! I loved it from the get-go. The descriptions are lush without being too wordy, and the plot plays like a movie in the reader's mind. Kendra is a remarkable character, and seeing her grow is a pleasure.
I cannot wait to dive into the second installment!