There seems to be a generation of Harry Potter fans who are looking for the fun, adventure, and growth that we experienced in that series. When cop-outs like Percy Jackson came out, we snatched them up in order to quench our thirst for more. What we got from these wanna-be stories is a sense of fun and adventure, but a lack of something deeper.
Don’t get me wrong. I both read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson books. They were adventurous and a whole lot of fun. However, I think most people would agree with my assessment that held up to Harry Potter, it was missing something.
Fablehaven is no cop-out. It’s a fantastic story that bows to no cliche’s without stretching them. It is a story about kids thrown into a world of magic, kids that still have families. (I know right? For awhile there we began to think that kids HAD to be orphans in order to have adventures.) It has the fun. It has the family-friendly appropriateness for all ages. It has the depth of character and theme. One of the strongest themes of the series is in the different types of heroism displayed by the two main characters.
Kendra vs. Seth
Kendra appeals to the sense that purity wins. She has her stuff together, she thinks things through, and she follows the rules (unless it would be more prudent not to). Throughout the series, this attribute, combined with her pure intentions, have won the day several times over.
Seth, on the other hand, is headstrong, rambunctious, and a little bit of a troublemaker – a man after my heart. In another world, he might have been named Calvin. Seth is consistently breaking rules, with the best of intentions, and making a mess of things. His mistakes needlessly throw others into danger, and though Seth does care, he doesn’t ever seem to gain his sister’s cool head.
Both are heroes. We have the pure hero, and the one who screwed up and has to fix it. Thematically, we have two lessons; first, that it is better not to screw up in the first place and second, that if you’ve already screwed up, you can learn from this by doing what you can to make it better.
But theme isn’t the only thing the book has going for it. With a world full of fairies, demons, Eternals, powerful artifacts and satyrs who are addicted to TV and junk food… well, to quote a certain Star Trek character,
“You don’t have to take my word for it”
Go pick one up for yourself. Or better yet, for us students, borrow from a friend – this is a series worth discussing with buddies.