Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull
Kendra and Seth have to spend the summer with grandparents they hardly know. Their grandparents warn them not to wander off into the woods and don’t give a good reason why. But a series of little tips and riddles around the house and grounds finally clue them in: Fablehaven is a reserve for magical creatures, good and evil alike. And even the good ones will kill you if you cross them. When rules get broken and everyone’s lives are at risk, Seth and Kendra have to save the day themselves.
I keep hearing good things about this series, and it’s slated for a movie adapt here in the near future. So I got in line at the library and finally managed to get my mitts on the first couple of books.
Kendra and Seth are like kids you’d like to hang out with. Seth wants to take stuff apart, or blow stuff up, and gets into trouble when he manages to catch a fairy in a jar. Kendra, his older sister, is more cautious and reserved. By the end of the story, the only person who hasn’t broken one of the (myriads) of fairy rules is Kendra, which keeps the magical creatures from hurting her.
I think fairies must be coming back into popularity, because I’m running across them more and more. Fablehaven features fairies prominently. (The second book focuses on other critters.) There’s also naiads, imps, a golem, and an eeeeevil witch. The book would be a fun read-aloud, actually. The kids say some hilarious stuff.
My main gripe is that the adults all sound the same. Mostly, they talk without contractions, which makes them sound like a legal document. But that’s a small gripe! I was entertained the entire way through, and was even surprised by some of the plot twists.
The nice thing is, a few things that went unresolved in book 1 got fixed in book 2, which in turn leaves a few things unresolved. It seems to be a tightly-meshed series that builds on itself the further you go. I can’t wait to dig into book 3.