“Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary,” by Brandon Mull, is the fourth installment in the five-part series, and if the first three books were a little light on high-stakes risks, things are definitely beginning to crescendo now.
As always, Mull’s writing is breezy and fun, wasting little time on unnecessary exposition or tangents. It is the story, as you hopefully know by now, of a brother and sister, Kendra and Seth, whose grandparents are caretakers at a preserve for magical creatures. A dark society is trying to obtain the keys necessary to open a demon prison, which would end the world as we know it; it’s up to the kids and their fellow good guys to find the keys first and prevent this.
In “Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary,” it becomes necessary to visit the highly dangerous, off-limits-to-humans locale of the title, where much excitement and mayhem awaits. I continue to appreciate the fact that Kendra and Seth talk more or less like real kids do, and I’m glad to see some real consequences starting to turn up as the story nears its finale. (In other words: People die.)
If you haven’t checked out the “Fablehaven” series yet, I highly recommend it. While not as rich and complex as Harry Potter (its most obvious parallel), it’s an enthralling and imaginative — and highly addictive — saga in its own right.