DRAGONWATCH: A Fablehaven Adventure, by Brandon Mull, Shadow Mountain, March 14, 2017, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8 and up)
With a brother and sister team as main characters, the series — Fablehaven; Rise of the Evening Star; Grip of the Shadow Plague; Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary; and Keys to the Demon Prison — quickly became a phenomenon, appealing to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.
After finishing up the series in 2010, Brandon moved on to other projects, but he wasn’t quite finished with the Fablehaven world. In 2015, The Caretaker’s Guide was released, and this Tuesday, he returned to the world full force with Dragonwatch.
Dragonwatch opens the summer after Kendra and Seth defeated the demon king and saved the world from apocalypse. One would think they’d be able to relax, but one would be wrong. There is unrest among the dragons, and that’s one group you don’t want to mess with. The dragons no longer consider sanctuaries home. To them, they have become prisons.
Once upon a time, dragons roamed freely, and those dragons almost destroyed the world. It was then that the ancient order of the Dragonwatch was formed, and the dragon sanctuaries created. Wyrmroost is one of those sanctuaries, and Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, has been named co-caretaker of it. Celebrant sees this as an advantage, and is putting his newfound position — and the freedoms — it comes with to the test.
The Dragonwatch was initially made up of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who worked to confine the dragons. But that was a long time ago, and now nearly all of the original members are dead. With so few resources, the wizard Agad turns to the Sorensons for help. Kendra and Seth have unique abilities that make them critical to the success of Agad’s plan. But the siblings will have to work together, if they’re even going to make it past the front door.
I began reviewing the Fablehaven series with Book 3 in 2008. At the time, I was working as the in-house book critic for a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. I was lucky enough to see the series through its satisfying end. I never really felt the need for more books in the Fablehaven world, but after reading Dragonwatch, I understand why Brandon returned.
First, and foremost, if you haven’t read the Fablehaven series, do yourself a favor and go back and read it before diving into Dragonwatch. While Brandon does a nice job giving a brief overview of what came before, it’s not enough to fully understand the nuances of the world you’re about to enter. In fact, I found myself wishing I could have reread the Fablehaven series again beginning Dragonwatch.
If you’re already familiar with Brandon’s earlier books, then dive right in. Fans will immediately notice that while Seth remains true to his rambunctious nature, he has matured a little bit. Kendra has grown, too. Unfortunately, in Kendra’s case, that equates to an interest in boys that is a touch annoying.
My one larger complaint with Dragonwatch is that the book feels as if it’s leading up to something bigger. There’s still adventure, mystery and mishaps, but it never feels quite like it stands on its own. That said, Dragonwatch is fast-paced with lots of interesting characters and situations. If you’re a fan of the Fablehaven series, this is a must-have.
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