Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MINI REVIEW: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull (Fablehaven #3)

Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull
Fablehaven #3
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Genre: Fantasy

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

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

Strange things are afoot at Fablehaven. Someone or something has released a plague that transforms beings of light into creatures of darkness. Seth discovers the problem in its infancy, but as the infectious disease spreads, it becomes clear that the preserve cannot hold out for long.

In dire need of help, the Sorensons question where to turn. The Sphinx has always given sound advice–but is he a traitor? Inside the Quiet Box, Vanessa might have information that could lead to a cure–but can she be trust?

Meanwhile, Kendra and members of the Knights of the Dawn must journey to a distant preserve and retrieve another hidden artifact. Will the Society of the Evening Star recover it first? Will the plague eclipse all light at Fablehaven? Find out in Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague.

The Mini Review:

Darkness has fallen on Fablehaven, thicker perhaps than ever before. When Seth encounters some of the most peaceful creatures in Fablehaven that have turned vicious and evil, he knows something's afoot. Of course, he wouldn't have encountered them at all, if he'd been following the rules. So that's a fun conversation with Grandpa Sorenson. (Hint: We definitely learn what Seth's middle name is.)

Surprising absolutely no one, Seth once again dominates this story in my eyes, but he is much more a driving force of this book than in the past. Seth continues to broaden and develop, still struggling with the balance between 'fun' and 'reckless'. I love, love, love the way Mull develops his character. Mull really plays up the role of opposites with Seth and Kendra -which is fantastic and serves the story magnificently. Coming back strong after Seth's key involvement in the last book, Mull continues to push Seth as much as Seth continues to push boundaries as his sister Kendra is ushered deeper into the magical world of the preserves and he's left behind. While Kendra gets to meet the Knights of the Dawn and travel on a dire and important mission to another preserve, Seth is left twiddling his thumbs back home and desperate to prove that he's valuable enough to help solve the mystery of the mysterious plague taking over Fablehaven and -more importantly- that his grandparents can depend on him to do the smart and right thing.

The only problem is, Seth seems to keep encountering gray areas where the
'smart' thing and the 'right' thing aren't always the same thing. And that's a thing I love to watch him deal with.

But enough about Seth the Magnificent because, while he's getting another decent chapter of character development (and a few special new tricks), Kendra is too, and we get to meet a whole slew of great new characters, including Gavin, Dragon Tamer Extraordinaire!

Also, you know, dragons.

But most importantly, we get to learn more about my favorite character, self-proclaimed World's Greatest Adventurer and understandable role-model for my beloved Seth -Patton Burgess! I love how Mull works Patton's influence into this story. (FYI, I would LOVE to see some Patton Burgess prequel adventures.)

Mull continues to expand his magical world, as he sends Kendra out to meet with the society behind the preserves and the single hand keeping the Society of the Rising Star at bay. I also love exploring a new preserve, made especially interesting by its local in Arizona and the native creatures that reside there.

The story is great, the twists are phenomenal, and the continuing development of Kendra, Seth, and the Fablehaven world make this my favorite Fablehaven books so far.


  1. Ooh a centaur! And dragons? That's a bonus! I've always liked the idea of a magical preserve but have never read these. This one sounds really fun. And I love those names- Knights of Dawn, Society of the Evening Star. Yes please. :)

    1. The centaurs are pretty cool, too; I really like the way Mull chose to depict them. ^_^