“Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star,” by Brandon Mull, is the second book in the young-adult fantasy series, and if there was any question before that Mull deserves to inherit the soon-to-be-available Harry Potter audience, this should settle it. It’s even more inventive, more whimsically outrageous, and more fun than the first book.
It’s the ongoing saga of a young brother and sister whose grandparents are caretakers of a magical preserve, and the overarching story has an evil group attempting to collect a series of magic artifacts that will unleash havoc upon the world. Like the Harry Potter books, “Fablehaven” has an unseen magical world existing side-by-side with the regular world, and there are lessons to be taught as the young heroes learn more and more about Fablehaven and its inhabitants.
In “Rise of the Evening Star,” Mull continues to write funny, realistic dialogue for the siblings, and raises the stakes by introducing all manner of death and injury (though not graphically described, don’t worry). His imagination continues to be the most impressive thing about his work, though. This installment incorporates shrinking potions, ax-wielding monkeys, demon poop, and a phantom whose weapon is fear itself, to name just a few. It all makes for a fast-paced, exciting story, one that will have readers breathlessly anticipating Volume 3 — and I don’t usually even read fantasy novels.