Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull. I so enjoyed Fablehaven that I took my $5 in Borders bucks and dragged Lilah to pick up the sequel! And having finished it fairly quickly, I'm ready to take my 30% off coupon to Borders to get #3. Book Two does not disappoint. The story starts off with a bang. A new boy shows up in Kendra's class at the end of the school year. Her friends all have crushes on the handsome boy, but Kendra realizes that he isn't human. When she and Seth are approached by Errol, who knows all sorts of things about the two kids, they agree to help him get rid of the boy. They are soon taken back to Fablehaven, where it will be safer for them. Their grandparents have assembled a potions master, a magical creatures expert, and a magical objects expert to help protect Fablehaven by recovering a lost artifact. When strange occurrences suggest a traitor is in their midst, Kendra and Seth once again become key to saving Fablehaven. We end on a big huge cliffhanger, so have Book Three ready!
The story was compelling right from the start. Kendra and Seth are believable kids and have the affection and rivalry of real siblings. ("What are you doing?" "I'm thinking. It's what some of us do before we talk.") They care deeply about each other, but still snipe and tease. We see even more of Fablehaven, and I enjoyed seeing the familiar characters as well as the new ones brought in for this story. Mull's writing is simple, clear, and often funny. The plot and character developments move along at a brisk pace, and the suspense is very well carried throughout the sequel. I thought this book might have been even better than the first, but at any rate, I recommend both to those who enjoy Harry Potter and the like and are looking for an imaginative, fun journey to a well-drawn, magical place!
Read my review of Fablehaven here.