A Fable­haven Ad­ven­ture

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Middle Grade Books -

Bran­don Mull, Shadow Moun­tain Pub­lish­ing Hard­cover $18.99 (384pp), 978-1-62972-256-6

Dragonwatch is the first follow-up vol­ume to Bran­don Mull’s best-sell­ing “Fable­haven” se­ries. Sib­lings Kendra and Seth Soren­son live with their grand­par­ents on a farm in Con­necti­cut, but theirs is no or­di­nary pas­toral life. Ever since they first drank milk from Vi­ola the magic cow, Kendra and Seth have been able to see the fairy world. Their days are filled with en­chanted swords, na­iads, and uni­corns; they see satyrs and ogres where their mor­tal cousins only see goats and bears. And that’s not to men­tion the rest­less dragons be­ing guarded at Wyrm­roost, and the venge­ful demons—roundly de­feated at Zzyzk, the bat­tle where Kendra killed the de­mon king.

“Tur­bu­lent times await us all,” a witch warns Seth: this un­easy post-bat­tle truce won’t last long. A “storm of dragons” will be upon the world un­less some­one can keep Cel­e­brant the Just, the king of the dragons, from break­ing out of Wyrm­roost. When Agad the wizard pays the Soren­son fam­ily a visit, he an­nounces that he is re­in­sti­tut­ing Dragonwatch and in­vites Kendra and Seth to be the next care­tak­ers of Wyrm­roost. The role comes with its fair share of dan­ger, which paves the way for some in­tense ac­tion scenes. In search­ing for one of seven scepters that can cre­ate safe places, the sib­lings will face a gate troll, an as­sem­bly of the un­dead, and a death-de­fy­ing ride on the back of a grif­fin.

Mull sets up an in­trigu­ing con­trast be­tween the hum­drum real world and the ex­hil­a­rat­ing fairy world Kendra and Seth ex­pe­ri­ence. That mix­ture of the fa­mil­iar and the un­known should in­trigue younger read­ers with a fond­ness for Tolkien’s Mid­dle-earth. The di­a­logue and de­scrip­tive prose shine, too: “The stars were fad­ing. A light wind ruf­fled the se­quoias.” With dragons on the loose and key char­ac­ters miss­ing, there’s plenty of scope for se­quels.

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