Sep 22, 2010

Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven, book 2), by Brandon Mull

Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Intended Age-Group: 9
Issues of Violence: fantasy violence, some scary creatures and descriptions
Intimacy Level: non-romantic kiss
Language: none
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven, book 2), thrusts Brandon Mull's imagination into a labyrinth of creativity and he dominates once again. Kendra and Seth knew Fablehaven could be in danger in the future, but "future" suddenly becomes "present" when the last week of school ends with a literal bang.

A 'kobols' (a type of goblin) appears in Kendra's classroom the last week of school, only she sees him for what he is--an enemy. Creatures are after her and she doesn't know why. Desperate escape takes her and Seth back to Fablehaven where their injured grandpa introduces them to magical professionals. These professionals train Kendra and Seth right away in the use of different potions, protections, and magical skills. These skills will help them protect the secret artifact hidden on the Fablehaven preserve--an artifact that the Society of the Evening Star wants to steal. When a traitor is revealed in their midst and takes over the house, Kendra and Seth are forced into the thick of things again, relying on their limited knowledge of Fablehaven to save the preserve and possibly the world.

First Impression: *****
Naturally, book 2 is not as good as book 1. But that's not because of writing. It is because book 1 will always hold that special feel of "discovery" that happens when opening a new book and entering a new world. But Rise of the Evening Star is packed with even more adventure, magical creatures, and twists. It takes a more serious turn, however, delving into the darker side of Fablehaven--glutton demons, vampires, traitors, and buffalo-devouring giants (but of course!) Some sections are predictable, but others are full of nice (then again, maybe not) surprises. I enjoyed discovering more about Fablehaven (even if it was nail-biting at times) through Kendra's new talents, Seth's insatiable curiosity, and Mull's unending humor.

Characters: *****
As usual, Kendra and Seth are a delightful example of realistic sibling interaction. I'm growing more and more attached to them. I admire the way they have to push through their annoyances and differences to tackle serious topics and dangers together.

Spiritual Content: *****
Book 2 is not without its setbacks, however. Many of the enemies of Fablehaven are demons or involved with demons, which can cause a Christian reader to pause. In reality, demons are not something to be joked about or dwelt upon. But in the Fablehaven series, they are twisted into a more fantasy-type description and not necessarily as dark as real demons.

There are no Christian themes in this book, just as with the first. But for a secular children's fantasy, it remains relatively clean--no language, no romance (except for one non-romantic kiss), and no gore. 

Writing: *****
No descriptions go into unnecessary gore. Mull just brings the reader into a more serious and slightly darker fight within Fablehaven. He makes sure the reader feels the same amount of fear, tension, and gravity as the characters do.

There are a few...*ahem*...'less appetizing' descriptions. One creature has a nail lodged in its neck, another creature devours a buffalo with disgusting relish. At one point, several enemy bones are broken *shudder*. I've never liked the thought of, sound of, experience of, or description of breaking bones (but at least it's the enemy, right?)

Overall Recommendation:
I enjoyed Rise of the Evening Star and have started book 3 already. The stories are truly a work of creative imagination, from the description of faeries to the creation of a three-headed, horse-sized, venom-spewing, flying panther. Do not read at night, it's hard to put down. :-)


Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, releases 2014 from Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at


  1. I have not yet read FabelHaven, although I have listened to the autio version on the internet and from what I've heard, it seems like a very interesting and well-written book! I love fantasy so I'm sure, whenever I get the chance to buy it, I'll most likely love it as much as the Harry Potter series, Warriors Cats, Eragon series, and all my other favorite fantasies!

    1. I really enjoyed the series--probably one of my favorites after Harry Potter. I hope you are able to find time to read the series! You won't regret it.

  2. I put the first book, FabelHaven, on my Christmas list for this year. I hope it's as good as you say it is! I'm always looking for good, well-written fantasy books to read to help improve my own writing of my own fantasy stories. Anyways, I can't wait to read FabelHaven and I really hope it's an EXCELLENT read!

    1. I loved it and I hope you love it, too! That's awesome you write fantasy stories. Do you have a website or blog? Please come back and let me know if you liked Fablehaven!

  3. I bought FabelHaven with my Christmas money this January, but haven't yet had the time to read it. I'm still reading the second Gaurdians Of Ga'hoole book and I want to finish it before I start on anything else. But I'm still really excited about it! And to answer your question above, no, I do not have a website or blog going yet. I'm very unfortunately not at that point yet. I'm still in the beginning stages of my story. I haven't even finished writing the first draft yet and I'm slowly editing the chapters that I get back from my crit. group every month. The reason I'm "slowly editing," is because I can only send in one chapter a month, which can be no more than ten pages and we only meet in person one night a month to exchange feed-back, so it's a very slow process. but everyone LOVES my story!

    I can't wait to start reading FabelHaven and when I do, I'll definitely check back in here and let you know what I though about it!

    1. That's awesome! And it's especially great that you already have a critique group. It took me a long time to get involved in one because I've lived in many places with low population. Looking forward to your thoughts about Fablehaven. :)