Book: Fablehaven


For centuries mystical creatures were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary is one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite…

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother must face the greatest challenge of their lives to save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world.

Half the time I was reading this, I wanted to wring Seth’s neck out. That kid has a serious complex about authority. And I understand why author Brandon Mull wrote him to be that way, but… Well, all the conflict we come face to face with in Fablehaven happens because Seth is an infuriating git who doesn’t care to follow rules or orders.

Half the time I’m reading about Seth, I wanted to throw him off a roof. Or feed him to whatever unimaginably dangerous creature exist in the gated woods. Or lock him up inside one of the many rooms inside their grandfather’s house. And, to be quite honest, reading about Seth’s many, many, many instances of disregarding other people’s safety detracted from my overall enjoyment of Fablehaven.

Doing something out of curiosity is one thing. When you get turned into a deformed walrus, you don’t do anything more to infuriate the magical beings who can turn you into something worse. You start following rules. If the fear isn’t enough, the trauma should be. But what does Seth do? He decides he wants to see something scarier.

And that’s my main beef with Fablehaven. We have a hero, and I’m using that term very loosely, who just doesn’t know how to follow rules. A hero whose outright disregard for rules is barely punished. Seth is not a hero I want kids to be reading about.

But, the other half of the time, I was engrossed with Kendra. Kendra is boring, but she knows how to pay attention. Kendra isn’t adventurous, but she is more courageous than her brother could ever be. Kendra is the hero you want your kids to look up to because she knows actions have repercussions.

Reading Fablehaven was a chore for the most part. Combined with a character I actively disliked, I don’t know if I would want to recommend this book to anyone.

And yet… Brandon Mull shows off his storytelling skills when we finally latch on to Kendra as the true hero of the story. With Kendra, he weaves a magical tale about bravery because of fear, because of consequences, and because of hope. Once we focus on Kendra as our main character, the story becomes more bearable, and the adventure becomes more thrilling.

Mull’s writing of Kendra will make you want to pick up the sequel. Which I will be doing. Here’s hoping that there will be less Seth in the second book. Or, at the very least, I hope there will be a more mature or more reasonable Seth.

In the meantime, let’s check out what other people have said about the book–
Thriving Family
Wondrous Reads

I must say… This is the most interesting collection of reviews I’ve come across so far.

artemis fowl: the atlantis complex

"the atlantis complex" by eoin colferhow the mighty has fallen.

in the beginnning, artemis fowl was a criminal mastermind — and he was only twelve years old.  three years later, nine in our time, he is fifteen years old and is not the boy he used to be. for one thing, he no longer thinks like a criminal. which should be a good thing, but when you’re reading about a young criminal mastermind, you kind of expect criminal thoughts.

then again, THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX doesn’t promote artemis as a criminal mastermind anymore.

Artemis has committed his entire fortune to a project he believes will save the planet and its inhabitants, both human and fairy. Can it be true? Has goodness taken hold of the world’s greatest teenage criminal mastermind?

Captain Holly Short is unconvinced, and discovers that Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, a psychosis common in guilt-ridden fairies, not humans, and most likely triggered in Artemis by his dabbling in fairy magic. Symptoms include obsessive-compulsive behavior, paranoia, multiple personality disorder and, in extreme cases, embarrassing professions of love to a certain feisty LEPrecon fairy.

Unfortunately, Atlantis Complex has struck at the worst possible time. A deadly foe from Holly’s past is intent on destroying the actual city of Atlantis. Can Artemis escape the confines of his mind — and the grips of a giant squid — in time to save the underwater metropolis and its fairy inhabitants?

ARTEMIS FOWL: THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX seems to be an exercise in futility. i have enjoyed the previous six books of the ARTEMIS FOWL series immensely, and i was excited to read this latest installment because of the catchy blurb. and for the first time since i met artemis fowl, i was disappointed. heck, i had to fight off sleep throughout the time i was reading the book. and that’s when i know the book had lost my interest. i feel asleep twice while reading.

but why do i say it’s an exercise in futility? well, first of all there’s “the project” which the blurb describes as something that would save the world, for both humans and fairies. it reads and feels like a plot device, and for all intents and purposes, it was a plot device. to make sure that artemis and a few other characters would be at a certain place at a certain time. and then, when it does get mentioned again, it is only mentioned in passing.

this is the first time i start questioning the book. “the project.” it gets described in detail, and it is mentioned that artemis has spent quite some time developing it. since they’ve mentioned that the atlantis complex was doing things to artemis’s mind, i would’ve have chalked up the simplicity of the plans as a result of artemis’s deteriorating condition. but foaly, the genius centaur character, is actually impressed with the plan. and i don’t buy it.

the plan is child’s play for the old artemis. and the old foaly would never be impressed with the simplicity of the plan, because he would’ve already thought of it.

don’t worry, that’s not a real spoiler. “the project” really doesn’t play a part in the main story thread of the book — which i also found problematic.

once the villain is introduced, the book begins to pick up pace. and i would be lying if i said the book was not enjoyable. it was. it just wasn’t as good as the previous books. and things begin to get predictable near the end. i guess that’s the problem when you have to keep upping your a-game as you progress in your series.

but having been impressed with the complexities of THE TIME PARADOX, which was the book preceding THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX, i was expecting something in the same level. or at least around that level of genius. okay, maybe genius is too strong a word. but i was definitely looking for something that doesn’t cop out in the end.

THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX builds up this villain that would do anything — anything — to get what he wants. and in the end, well, the end was just disappointing. with a few pages left, i was wondering how the author would tie up everything. i wasn’t expecting a neat tie-up, but a good one. what i got was a cop-out. and i can’t really extrapolate without giving the whole plot away.

and don’t get me started on the actual atlantis complex. it’s a great psychosis, actually. i just didn’t like how it was played up for its comedy. it had so much potential for tension, for suspense — but instead we get a bumbling alter-ego, and a lot of numbers mumbo-jumbo.

also, this is my first ARTEMIS FOWL book with the new cover. while it does look better than the old covers, i really dislike the fact the publishers would change the look of the books midway through the series. the least they could have done was released a version with the old look as well. it’s as if they want die-hard collectors to repurchase the old books just so everything would look uniform. which i don’t plan to do.

oh well.

to conclude, ARTEMIS FOWL: THE ATLANTIS COMPLEX is definitely a disappointment to me.