Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Kendra and Seth have to spend 17 days with their grandparents who they barely know while their parents go on a trip. Dropped off at the huge isolated estate deep in the forest, the kids have no idea what to expect. Little did they think they would discover that their grandparents are the caretakers of a nature preserve for magical creatures of all sizes, shapes and inclinations. But now it seems that Grandma has mysteriously gone missing, and that is just the beginning of the problems the children will have to face.
Fablehaven has a great central concept — what happens when you put all the magical creatures from all over the world in a confined space, and have humans try to keep them secret from the world? This is a great idea, but it needed a better writer. The prose is serviceable, but doesn’t inspire any emotional reaction. The characters are flat and one-dime... Read More
Brandon MullBrandon Mull is the author of the New York Times bestselling Fablehaven series (which now has over 1 million copies in print) and The Candy Shop War, winner of the Utah Beehive Award for Juvenile Fiction. He’s also the author of Pingo, a new children’s picture book illustrated by Brandon Dorman. He discusses his lifelong dream of being an author at his website.
Fablehaven — (2006-2010) Ages 9-12. Publisher: For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite. Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
Beyonders — (2011-2013) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable — until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he’s ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail. In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.
A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull
Jason Walker, an eighth grader, was having a fairly normal day — playing baseball with his friends and working at the zoo — until he heard music coming from the hippopotamus tank. When he leaned over the rail to listen more closely, he fell in and was swallowed by the hippo. Instead of ending up in the hippo’s digestive tract, though, he ended up in a parallel universe named Lyrian. Rachel Woodford, a smart home-schooled girl around Jason’s age, was on vacation with her parents in Bryce Canyon when she followed a strange butterfly through a stone arch and ended up in Lyrian, too.
Jason and Rachel quickly meet up in this strange world and discover that they are not the first “Beyonders” to visit the place, but Beyonders have been rare since the evil emperor Maldor came to the throne. Maldor has horded all magic knowledge and is using it to terrorize his citizens. For Jason and Rachel to be abl... Read More
Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull
In the second BEYONDERS book, Seeds of Rebellion, Jason has made it back to his own world after attempting to destroy the emperor Maldor in Lyrian, the parallel universe he accidentally stumbled into after being swallowed by a hippopotamus at the zoo. Jason is unhappy at home because Rachel is still stuck in Lyrian and being hunted by the bad guys. After doing some research on the internet, he discovers that Rachel’s parents are desperately trying to find her, but Jason feels like he can’t contact them or he’ll be a suspect in the crime. He’s afraid to tell anyone about Lyrian — people will just think he’s crazy and he might be institutionalized. That would make it impossible for him to do what he really wants to do — go back to Lyrian, let everyone know that the quest they were on is doomed, and tell Rachel how to get back to her parents. Meanwhile, he spends plenty of time exercising so... Read More
Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull
Chasing the Prophecy is the final book in Brandon Mull’s BEYONDERS series aimed at a middle grade audience. Jason and Rachel have joined a group of rebels who hope to take down the evil emperor Maldor. An oracle has told them that they have very little chance for success, but she’s also told them exactly what they need to do to have that small chance. Therefore the group has split up into separate teams which hope to fulfill different parts of the oracle’s instructions. Rachel is trying to muster up an army while working on her magic and Jason’s team visits a library (I loved the library!) to try to find the location of an ancient seer who has information they need. Both kids face hard work, difficult decisions, and life-threatening circumstances. Each must be willing to bend a lot to accomplish their goals.
Readers who’ve enjoyed the first two BEYONDERS books, A... Read More
The Candy Shop War — (2007-2012) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Welcome to the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe, where the confections are a bit on the… unusual side. Rock candy that makes you weightless. Jawbreakers that make you unbreakable. Chocolate balls that make you a master of disguise. Four young friends — Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon — meet the grandmotherly Mrs. White, owner of the Sweet Tooth, and soon learn about the magical side effects of her candies. In addition, the ice cream truck driver, Mr. Stott, has arrived with a few enchanted sweets of his own. But what about the mysterious man in the dark overcoat and fedora hat? Why are all these “magicians” trying to recruit Nate and his friends? Who should they trust? The mystery deepens and the danger unfolds as the four youngsters discover that the magical strangers have all come to town in search of a legendary, hidden treasure — one that could be used for great evil if it fell into the wrong hands. The kids, now in over their heads, must try to retrieve the treasure first. And so, the war begins…
Spirit Animals — (2013) Ages 9-12. Publisher: #1 New York Times bestseller Brandon Mull launches Scholastic’s brand-new multiplatform phenomenon. Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts — a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed forever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers… and on you.
This is a book/RPG series. Find Spirit Animals here.