As Twitter and Goodreads have probably alerted everyone, I finished reading Fablehaven, and I gave it a pretty good review. The majority of the reason it got such a high score in my book is because of the creatures portrayed in the book.
I honestly think that years of seeing Tinkerbell and Ferngully has deluded fantasy to the point we actually believe that there are characters devoid of malicious intent. How many fairy stories have the random little cute thing who’s sole purpose is to do good? More than enough.
Brandon Mull brought to our mind what faerie tales were really about. These weren’t the make-friends-with-everything kind of stories we have grown accustomed to, but the kind that gave us great warnings: Don’t lie (Cinderella), trust your parents, they know what’s up (The Little Mermaid), and if something is too good to be true, it probably is (too many to name). Every emotion we as humans have ever felt towards another creature, human or otherwise, these little buggers have probably felt towards us.
There are many books that do a great job telling this, but I haven’t seen a more stark image than in Fablehaven, when Seth broke faerie law, and the faeries of the preserve were then justified in retaliating against him, even though he didn’t know he was breaking anything. The works of O. R. Melling, The Wee Free Men series by Terry Pratchett, some of the classical works of Shakespeare, Finders Keepers, and even the Labyrinth have some great portrayals of the Fae folk.