Title: Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison
Author: Brandon Mull
Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Age Range: Middle Grade
Synopsis: Brother and sister Seth and Kendra Sorenson are no ordinary teenagers. Seth and Kendra’s grandparents are the caretakers of Fablehaven, a wildlife preserve– for magical creatures. The kids and their grandparents are members of the Knights of the Dawn, an organization devoted to saving the world from the Society of the Evening Star, which wants to open the demon prison Zzyzx and unleash pure evil and chaos on the world. Seth and Kendra have been working for years to stop the Society from gaining five magical artifacts that function as keys to Zzyzx, but too many of the artifacts are in the Society’s hands. All of their work may be for naught–resulting, ultimately, in the end of the world as we know it.
Review: Ah, Fablehaven– that glorious series that has come to an end at last. Okay, fine. It came to an end a long time ago; I’ve just been too cheap to buy the hardcover edition of Book 5. If anyone, like me, has been waiting for the paperback, it is now available at your friendly neighborhood bookstore.
Fans of the Fablehaven series will need no convincing to read this last installment. Throughout the series, the characters have been compelling, the action fast, and the plot just convoluted enough to be endlessly intriguing. All of the clues dropped and the mysteries left half-solved culminate in this epic series finale.
I’m baffled (in the best possible manner) by the polar-opposite nature of Seth and Kendra’s powers and overall personalities. Kendra is fairykind, a force for good in the world, and always fair and obedient. Younger Seth is a shadow charmer, with the ability to communicate with and have some measure of power over the undead and demons. The differences between the two of them are very interesting. It would be cool to have a girl shadow charmer in there somewhere, though. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the exploration of that idea in a different book or series.
The characters, plot, action, overall premise, and general awesomeness of the Fablehaven story as a whole are fantastic. The only thing I’ve noticed, the only thing that’s bothered me, throughout the series is Brandon Mull’s tendency to over-describe, and that a lot of the dialogue isn’t very realistic. It “kicks me out of the story,” you know? While it doesn’t detract much from my enjoyment of the books, the lack of fluidity of the writing can be tought to grapple with. It’s the same thing I’ve noticed with young author Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle (commonly known as the “Eragon books”). Choosing the right details to include in the story is everything.
Did you know that Brandon Mull is coming out with a new series soon? Beyonders: A World Without Heroes will be released soon. I can’t wait! Anyway…just felt obligated to mention that.
If you haven’t yet read Keys to the Demon Prison, but have read the rest of the Fablehaven series, don’t wait another moment. Middle grade (and teen, for that matter) fans of the fantasy genre should check out the series. It’s not to be missed.
Recommended for: Everyone who’s read Fablehaven 1-4, of course!
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 possible stars