Weak Characters in a Weak World
A World Without Heroes
John Carl @ 2011-06-01
I, like everyone else, am a fan of Fablehaven and (especially) the Candy Shop Wars (which blew Fablehaven out of the water, in my opinion). But this one suffers from a number of maladies.
First, it takes a hundred pages for the hero to finally begin his quest. Yesterday, in fact, I had decided to donate the book to the library because nothing was really happening, when all of a sudden (reading the book in bed last night) the hero finally set off on his quest! But it took a hundred pages to get there. That's way, way too long, in my opinion.
Second, the characters (all of them, not just the hero or the heroine) are weak. Really weak. I don't like them, I don't care about them, I don't believe them, and thus they don't interest me. I actually found myself skipping over dialogue because I didn't want to listen to anything the characters had to say. Try reading the dialogue out loud to your children and you'll see what I mean.
Third, the world itself is weak. Yes, it exists. Yes, it is well drawn out. But, it's simply not believable. Fablehaven's fantastical world grabbed me by the collar and had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The Candy Shop Wars was set in the real world, but involved wonderful magical elements that I swallowed hook, line and sinker. But, this book lacked that same feeling of reality. So much so that I found myself checking again and again to confirm that Brandon Mull's name was on the cover. It just didn't feel like his writing.
If you're interested in reading this book, go to your local library, because (even though the hero has finally started his quest), I'm still donating it to the library this afternoon. It's not really worth the time to finish. And that's too bad.
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