Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series was one of the series that made me truly love middle grade books as an adult. I had read a few others, but this was the first series that I couldn’t stop reading until I finished it. When the series ended, I was sorry to have to let it go, so I was thrilled to learn of the coming sequel series.
Picking up where Fablehaven left off, Kendra and Seth Sorenson are adjusting to a calmer life on the Fablehaven reserve. Kendra is navigating the beginnings of a relationship with the son of the Fairy Queen. Seth finds himself a little bored with the adventure over and finds ways to amuse himself (READ: to get himself in trouble). But trouble is stirring. Their actions taking in Fablehaven have set off a chain reaction. The dragons are restless, tired of being trapped in Wyrmroost, the Dragon Reserve. When the wizard Agad comes to the Sorensons for help, Seth and Kendra find themselves in the midst of a dangerous game of politics in which they must use all their knowledge and experience to survive, with the world in balance.
The strength of this new addition to the Fablehaven world rests in its high stakes, tension, and the strength of its characters. Kendra and Seth have grown up a lot in the time we have known them. They were introduced to us as bickering siblings in the first Fablehaven book. Seth was immature and selfish (not in that he was mean to others but in that he was more concerned with his own amusement and entertainment than with others). He is still a risk taker and has a rebellious streak, but he is also caring and willing to do what it takes–even it means risking himself–to what’s right and save others. Kendra was naive and obedient, not nearly the confident teenager she has become.
One of my favorite things about the original series was the way it made you constantly questioning the nature of trust and friendship. How could you know who to trust? Who could betray you more devastatingly than someone you opened up to? What secrets should be kept? This series touches on those themes as well and I am excited to see what new lessons we can learn.
Finally, the series introduced some new characters: the large-for-a-nipsie Calvin and two new Sorenson family members, Seth and Kendra’s cousins, Tess and Knox. Calvin may be small in size but his contributions to the team are valuable. The cousins have only a small role in this first book, but it is safe to assume that they will grow to be more important as the series continues.