by Brandon Mull

Shadow Mountain
Ages 8-up
368 pages

A preserve to protect, not animals or plants, but fantastic creatures, fairies, elves, and monsters -- good and evil. That's what Fablehaven stands for. A preserve that protects creatures of myths is a new idea for a fantasy plot. However, the book has a few weaknesses. The dialogue, for instance, between siblings, didn't ring true for us, so we recommend not comparing this series to Harry Potter books (As they seem to do with all fantasy novels). That said, when not being compared to Harry Potter books, this book is good!
After you get past the slow introduction (Introductions are slow in a lot of books, but they do have their place), the action is quite fast-paced. You meet a giant man made of dirt, a strange woman who is captured by knots, stunning tiny fairies, and terrifying creatures trying to get in the window. You get to read about drinking cocoa, which makes you want to drink it yourself. And we love that there are no yucky descriptions. (Some like them; we don't.)
Does Seth open the window even after Grandpa said no? We aren't going to tell you. We're not giving away the plot because we want it to be as surprising to you as it was to us. That is the best part about this book -- the surprises. Oh, and don't read the middle part after dark..If you like this book, there is a sequel, The Rise of the Evening Star, and a third book is due out in April.

Review by J & J.

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