Friday, March 31, 2017

MINI REVIEW: Rise of the Evening Star by Branon Mull (Fablehaven #2)

Rise of the Evening Star
Fablehaven #2
Author: Brandon Mull

Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: Fantasy

4/5 stars
PG: Mild fantasy action/violence; monsters, demons, ghosties, and other frightening mythical creatures.

Recommend to fans of The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Ever Afters, Artemis Fowl, and their ilk. Good middle grade read, but still enough plot and character development for older readers -like me!

At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? Can they overcome paralyzing fear? Find out in book two of this bestselling series (via Goodreads)

The Mini Review:

In the second book, the magic doesn't remain in Fablehaven; instead, I love seeing the effects of the magical preserve and its mission leeching into the normal lives of Kendra and Seth Sorenson.

Comparatively, the plot of its predecessor moved at a slower pace while ushering the Sorenson siblings -and readers- into the world, but Rise starts off at a race and continues in exciting bursts. This is where the overarching plot of the whole series starts to take permanent root, expounding on several hints and expert foreshadowing tricks dropped in Fablehaven. While the Society of the Evening Star lurked in the background of the first book, it is here that we officially get to meet them face to face. And my are they dastardly and devious!

There were so many fantastic twists in this story, and a good many of them I had forgotten. Of all of these, my favorite probably has to do with Warren, because I somehow managed to forgot this character entirely and I kind of adore him now.

But honestly, this book for me was all about Seth. He absolutely takes the cake! I love his constant struggle between courage and stupidity, between recklessness and brilliance. How many boys do you know who do the stupidest things just for fun? That's who Seth is. But he's got this underlying courage and heroic nature beneath all that stupidity and I love when it gets to shine through.

Seth, for the time being, is definitely his own worst enemy. His heart is in the right place, but he's also got selfish tendencies. It puts him into a bit of a 'boy who cried wolf' position because his family isn't sure when or if they can trust him with really important issues or tasks. Look back at Fablehaven. What did they say to ABSOLUTELY NOT DO on Midsummer's Eve?

And what did Seth ABSOLUTELY do?

But he really gets his moment here and what I love most is that his most courageous and glorious moment to date was also probably the stupidest thing he's ever done. Seth is this roiling ball of recklessness, bravery, bravado, and good intentions, packed into an infuriating, stubborn, and hotheaded adrenaline junky who, in all honesty, doesn't always deserve the trust or benefit of the doubt he so longs for.

So, yeah. I kind of love Seth. I don't think I truly appreciated in entirety on my first reading of the series, but I definitely recognize the wonderful depth and development of his character now, step by step, and book by book.

Rise of the Evening Star has the same great upbeat tone, moral fiber, and new creatures, plus it continues to expound on the fascinating mythical side of this world.

What's your favorite part about rereading books?

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