Book Review: ‘Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison’ by Brandon Mull

Posted: 19 May 2013 in Book reviews
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You’d think that being ill would give me ample time to write, but sadly not so. Rather, I just wanted to chill and lie in bed. Oh well. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that at last we have come to the end of this journey. It has been quite a ride and the climax has yet to come. Buckle up and enjoy the ride for ‘Keys to the Demon Prison.’

Now that they have the key to the Obsidian Waste in Australia, they waste no time in going for the artefact. When they arrive, they are greeted by their guides, siblings named Camira and Berrigan. They take the group to the main house only to actually be leading them into an ambush. The only reason they aren’t captured is because Seth hears the voices of the zombies waiting there. Camira is killed but Berrigan is captured and has a potion administered which sent a message of extreme pain to the narcoblix’s brain to release his hold. Now, the only place they can go is the Dreamstone where the artefact is located.

Like the other hiding places, the Dreamstone is filled with all sorts of dangers. In order to make it into the Dreamstone and through the varying passages, the must use the egg-shaped object they retrieved from the Dragon Temple. Though not exactly dangerous, their first obstacle is following a corridor with no markings.  Next they have to build a champion out of clay to defeat an opponent while they look for a keyhole. They found a keyhole (which turned both creatures to dust when they inserted the key) and made their way to the next room. This room was filled with boiling water with an island in the centre. As they thought, the keyhole was in the centre of the island. After the key is used, the room begins filling up with the boiling water. Because of the potion Tanu gave them, they didn’t die from being boiled alive. In a shaft in the ceiling was the next keyhole. Once activated, the water began to recede and cool rapidly. This is where the first member of their crew was claimed. When the island reappeared, the water around them froze and Vincent got trapped underneath. After another set of magical rotating tunnels they found themselves in a cavernous hall with their last obstacle: two giant mechanical bulls and a mechanical lion. The last keyhole is located underneath the chin of the lion. But that isn’t their only obstacle. Torina (the lectoblix) and the other baddies showed up. Seth got shot through the chest with an arrow and used the gas potion to save himself. Mara used the key for the last time (which caused both the bulls and the lion to fall apart) and found that the translocator (which can transport three people from one place to another place at least one of the people has already been) was in the centre of the egg. Mara and Berrigan get captured and Seth gets sucked into a bottle. The last thing they do is pull Warren from the secret room in the knapsack that Navarog destroyed in the last book.

Hidden in Eastern Turkey is the Living Mirage, the fifth and most secret preserve. This is the secret hideout of the Sphinx. Seth was brought there and healed with the copper teapot they retrieved from Fablehaven. Since they are in the safety of his domain, the Sphinx divulges his plans and attempts to recruit Seth. Of course he doesn’t join him. Instead he gets locked in the dungeon. It wasn’t all bad though. He becomes friends with Bracken, a unicorn stuck in his human form after giving his horn as part of the fifth artefact. He was also able to chat with the real Maddox who was also in down in the dungeon. The largest inconvenience was when the Sphinx took him to meet Nagi Luna, a very powerful demon. She too tried to recruit him, but she was unsuccessful. He needed to get out of there and fast.

A stroke of lucks finds him in possession of the translocator and the sands of sanctity. He escapes to Fablehaven to keep the promise he made to Graulas (to ease his pain with the sand). What he didn’t know was that he was being played. As soon as Seth poured the sand on Graulas, he healed completely and regained his former power. Graulas retrieved the chronometer at the manor (fatally injuring Coulter in the process) and took the other two artefacts and departed for the Living Mirage. He was in league with Nagi Luna and also planned on opening Zzyzx. Unlike the Sphinx who planned on resealing the prison if the demons did not comply with his demands, the two demons had no such issues. The simply wanted to reclaim the world for their kind.

Back at the Living Mirage, Kendra and the group had travelled via the translocator there to try and rescue Seth and Grandpa Larson (the Larson’s were assumed dead but have been alive all this time. They were Vanessa’s secret) and steal back the artefacts. They were unsuccessful and ended up getting caught. Her time there is spent much like Seth’s. She speaks with the Sphinx about his plans and meets Bracken, who takes her to Warren and she never meets Nagi Luna. The three are actually able to escape (thanks to the surprise help from the Sphinx now that he is now a prisoner of the two demons) and travel across the preserve to the fairy queen’s shrine. The speak with the queen and leave to try and save the Eternals (the last hurdle before the demons can open the prison).

Seth to is now on an important mission. He gets instructed by Patton to retrieve the famed sword Vasilis. In order to find it, he needs to converse with the Singing Sisters. They will extend an offer. If he doesn’t accept their offer, he can present a counteroffer. If they do not approve of it, he dies. Thankfully they do and tell him where he can find the sword. Once he has the sword (after passing a handful of challenges) he makes his way to the North Carolina to leave to the Shoreless Isle where Zzyzx is located.

Kendra, Warren, Bracken, and Raxtus do their best to protect the last of the Eternals. They make it to one shortly after he and all his people are killed. The make it to the next one in time, but he is suicidal after having been alive for so long, that he welcomes his demise and so dies. The last Eternal is very elusive and it almost appears that they would succeed, but alas it was not so. There was a massive showdown in which she was killed, but at least some of their major enemies also went down (Torina, Mirav and the Gray Assassin). With their objective failed, they did the only thing they could: the made their way to North Carolina to reach the Shoreless Isle.

It was a joyous reunion for Kendra and Seth. Life had not been easy for both of them over the last while and now they began their final journey. In order to call the Lady Luck (the ship to take them to the Shoreless Isle), they needed the bell, whistle and musicbox Patton had instructed Seth to get from a leprechaun (which he did before he left Fablehaven). It was an eventless, if not nerve-wracking, trip. Once there, Kendra converses one last time with fairy queen. She is given the power the return the Astrids to their former power. They all work on the final preparations through the night. Then, when the sun rose, the prison opened and the final battle began.

Wow. To be truthful, this book had so much more than what I wrote. The other four were easier to summarise, but not this one. Not surprising really. I mean it is the final book of the series. I did the best I could though.

The only two new characters of note would be Bracken (the unicorn) and Nagi Luna (the demon). It’s interesting that they are complete opposites. Bracken is young, good, and a creature of light. Nagi Luna is old, shrivelled, evil, and a definite creature of the dark. Nagi Luna is not seen as much as Bracken, but she is revealed to be the driving force behind the Sphinx and his desire to open Zzyzx. She also betrays him once Graulas shows up. She is a nasty individual and there is no doubt that she is total evil. Bracken is not so. He is almost the epitome of goodness and light. He is sweet, gentle, caring, considerate, but extremely powerful and not one to be taken lightly. Especially once he gets his horn back. Not to mention he has a major crush on Kendra. She does as well. Thankfully, Bracken isn’t really a demon prince hiding the guess of a human. You really can;t help but like Bracken. He is too good not to like.

Overall, this was a beautiful conclusion to the series. Despite loving it as much as I did, it didn’t give me the same longing for more that Inkdeath did (Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke. Read it). It gave me satisfaction, like it was just enough to satisfy. It ended and there was no need for more. The series was well developed. The characters were unique and interesting. The story was expertly crafted. It was an awesome ride. I can only hope my books can reach this standard.

If I were to choose one character that had the biggest change over the course of the novels, it would have to be Seth. He is the youngest there, but his changes are the most extreme. He grows up quite a bit. In the beginning he is an immature, rebellious boy, but by the end he is more mature and understands the extreme weight his actions could carry. He is a risk-taker still, but he considers the risks more than before. He accepts that in order for things to happen, some risks need to be taken. In my mind, he is the most developed character, and honestly the best in the series.

Well we’ve now come to the end. As I’ve said all along, read these books. They are wholesome and a wonderful read regardless of your age. I hope you enjoy or have enjoyed them as much as I did. If you haven’t read them. Do so (the link to get them is posted below) and enjoy 😉

Fablehaven Box Set

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