Gel’s little side note: Hey guys! The category “A book you haven’t read since high school” was very easy for me. I just graduated from high school last year, so it should be a piece of cake. I chose to re-read Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I loved that book way back, so allow me to share my reading experience with you!
Edition: Paperback, 351 pages
Price: ₱289.00 (National Bookstore)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Childrens > Middle Grade
Characters: Kendra, Seth
Setting: farmhouse in Connecticut/hidden sanctuary
Do you want to know…
My Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars
Comment on the cover: Being a sucker for fantasy things, I must say that I liked the cover. Back then, my dad and I were going book shopping. After I went around the bookstore, I decided to show him this. I was really delighted, and more when he said, “Ilang books ‘to? Bilhin na rin natin yung kasunod.” (How many books are in this series? Let’s also buy the next ones.) He bought this, #2 and #3! The others have also very interesting covers, so I believe the designers really did a great job.
Plot summary: 13-year old Kendra and her 11-year old brother, Seth, were going on a vacation to their grandparent’s land. They didn’t know much about them, and it became a surprise when suddenly, they learned that her grandfather is the caretaker of Fablehaven — a magical, hidden refuge for mystical creatures. Running around the sanctuary and its boundaries, discovering mythical legends and defying rules, this completely opposite in personalities siblings must do everything they can to save their family…and maybe even all of Fablehaven and the world.
Features: There are 6 pages of gray scale pictures scattered all over the book. I found that fascinating, because of course… PICTURES! The Reading Guide at the end of the book was also helpful for discussions and was well thought-out. I just found myself talking to the air, answering the questions. The themes were skillfully highlighted and were sure to bring out anyone’s engagement. There is also a sneak peak of Book 2: The Rise of the Evening Star and Mull’s new series then, Beyonders.
Book discussion: A book geared for Middle Grade to Young Adult must also have themes that fit on their daily encounters and decisions. Among the themes that stand out are: Obedience, Order and Justice, and Mortality. Seth is a rule-breaker, and most of the conflicts that arose on the book came from his defiance to obey the rules of his grandfather. Too much curiosity can kill. The sanctuary also has covenants that serve as an essential role to maintain peace among all the mythological creatures and mortals. Kendra and Seth, in one way or another, had their fair share of consequences. The journey of a certain interesting character that turned from immortal to mortal was also worth-reading. She proved that truly, life is valuable because we only live once.
My journey: I was surprised by how much re-reading a book after many years can bring so much different insights. In the past, I was only interested on the story and how the main characters conquer the challenges that were inflicted upon them. Now, I was primarily concerned on the themes, the decision-making processes, and how these can help other teenagers on their everyday lives. Being in this age bracket, we were constantly reminded by our guardians to “don’t do this, don’t do that”. Sometimes, what we might think as harmless can brought so much problems on us and the other people around us. Not being properly oriented can lead to misunderstandings and more worries, so I believe by reading this book, we might pick up a good virtue or two. Learning from the mistakes of others can help us in the long run. I think I am pretty excited now when I think about the different kind of journey when I happen to read this in the future. But, that would be quite long. I’m just glad that the read this time was worth it and full of moral lessons.
What I like: This book satisfied my fantasy-filled daydreams. Although the fairies were the ones highlighted in this book, I can say that I’m looking forward for more jam-packed adventures and of course, focus on other mythical creatures. I also liked that I can relate to Kendra, one of the main characters. One, she was hopefully wishing that she might see a unicorn; two, she was quiet mature in her decision-making skills; and three, her crazy relationship with her brother was like just mine. They were constantly bickering with each other, and I can see myself as her. As what is always my problem — getting out of the comfort zone. She and I might not take risks spontaneously, but we are continuously learning. Be courageous and wise — the values I grasped from her.
What I dislike: Can I dislike a main character? It came to a part when I closed the book because I was so mad at Seth, like “Why the hell won’t you learn? Do you wanna get in trouble again?” I just chanted, “I don’t want to see it coming. Ohh this would be so bad. I don’t want to see it coming.” And then the inevitable happened. I think Seth has TOO much curiosity for someone his age. Didn’t Mull overdid his character’s inquisitiveness/adventurousness? Also, the book could use a little more gripping description, though. Some of the scenes turn out to be just nod-worthy because of the long explanations.
Round up and recommendation: Enjoyable and compelling. I was drawn to the story and Mull created memorable characters in this series. The siblings have a good sense of humor in some times, and it was funny for me. Mull’s writing style is good, but I think it can be better for the next few books (well, I have those books… so, let’s see). Uncle Rick (Riordan), the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, also gave it four stars on Goodreads… so I believe this is legitimately awesome.. It would be a great read to your little siblings or your middle-grader kids. And a great addition to your library, too!
Sample excerpt: I find this thought-provoking. I like this certain character and her ideas.
The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.
Brandon Mull, 2007, 146
Gel’s little side note: So yay, we’re done! Just a little update on my life: classes just started this day! I’m now on my 2nd semester as a first year college student, and so far… it was awesome! I’m ready to shine this time. LOL. Anyway, I’m just happy that despite the busy schedule (and the busy days to come), I can still find the time to write on this blog. Of course, it’s always good when you love what you’re doing. So, yeah… thanks for reading and see you soon!