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Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

In the fifth and final book of the Fablehaven franchise, author Brandon Mull does not disappoint. Mull is the master of rising action and conflict, hardly ever granting his readers a moment to catch their breath.

Book five continues the story of Kendra and Seth Sorenson, two kids who find themselves learning the family business of running Fablehaven, a magical creature preserve. Previously, they had been inducted into the Knights of the Dawn, a secret organization sworn to fight against the evil Society of the Evening Star, which is run by an immortal called The Sphinx. The Sphinx is attempting to gather the five powerful artifacts that he needs to open Zzyzx to release all its demon prisoners.

Of course, Kendra and Seth are trying to stop him. Consistent with Brandon Mull’s storytelling style, all the main character’s actions seem to unintentionally make the problem increasingly worse up until the very end. By the climax at the end of the book, the destruction of the world by demons seems inevitable. But once again, Kendra and Seth snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

In the Fablehaven series, I’ve always disliked the Seth character. His willful disobedience and bad judgment were a little too over the top for me, and therefore not entirely believable. In the fifth book, however, I finally like Seth. He still makes poor decisions, but he also is starting to show maturity and become more likable due to his other virtues.

I was happy that the satyrs, Doren and Newel, played a larger role in this book. They provided the humorous banter that was essential in diffusing the constantly rising tension in the story. They finally get the chance to experience the outside world and all its glorious junk food. Their courage to fight the demons comes from a sincere desire to save television and junk food from destruction.

I highly recommend this book, along with the previous four books in the series. Mull’s writing style is perfect for the middle grade reader. Lots of action, just enough description (but not too much), and plenty of humor. There is no foul language and no sexual content. There is significantly more violence in this book than in previous books of the Fablehaven series. The stakes are higher and the battles are more fierce. Many people (and magical creatures) die. Interesting new characters are introduced into the story only to be immediately killed off.

Keys to the Demon Prison is, by far, the best book of the Fablehaven series. I’m just sorry that the story has to end. My kids and I would definitely be willing to continue buying new Fablehaven books. It is arguably the best middle grade fantasy series of all time.

Price: $21.99
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (March 23, 2010)
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Binding: Hardbound
Pages: 544 Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-1606412381
Brandon’s website: http://brandonmull.com

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