I stumbled on this series by chance when reading an interview on Shannon Hale's blog. Hale was interviewing Brandon Mull, and she talked about liking his Fablehaven books. Well, I'm a huge fan of Hale's, so I decided to give this book a try since she recommended it.
Author: Brandon Mull
What it's about: Kendra and Seth have to spend three weeks with their reclusive grandparents. But what at first seems like it will be a boring visit soon turns out to be riddled with mystery and fantasy, because their grandparents' estate is Fablehaven, a magical creatures reserve filled with naiads, satyrs, fairies, and much, much more. But while Fablehaven is a place of wonder, there's also plenty of danger lurking in the recesses of the forest. Kendra and Seth have to use all their skills and everything they've learned at Fablehaven if they want to save the day.
What I thought: For a book that seemed like it'd be for kids, this story is surprisingly savvy. I liked Kendra as a protagonist because she wasn't dumb; she understood the importance of following the rules and thinking things through, even if she was sometimes too timid. The world of Fablehaven was interesting and well-developed, combining lots of different myths. The book doesn't skimp on danger, and the adult characters don't withhold knowledge from the kids for no reason, to create a false sense of suspense. There's definite character growth, and though this is part of a series, Fablehaven has a nicely self-contained story.
Overall: Definitely a series to keep an eye on. I'm reading the sequel right now, and it has me hooked.