Fablehaven: The Secret of the Dragon Sanctuary (Book #4)

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, the fourth book in the five book series of Fablehaven, is another fast-paced fun story sure to please any middle-school student.  Alongside the standard cast of characters Mull has added the expected dash of new personalities that are unique to this book.

For me I am guilty of reading with an overly critical eye.  I’m getting the vague impression that Mull didn’t have as much time to refine the phrasing of this book.  It seemed that each page was peppered with my pet peeve – adverbs!  I’m not morally opposed to all adverbs, just the ones that are so painful that they actually make me forget what I was reading.  My personal favorite:

He looked at him searchingly.

Is that even a word?

That old fiend Mr. Repetition is back as well. The  plot line  kept being explained to the reader over and over.  It was as if Mull didn’t trust his writing enough to let the reader draw their own conclusions.  It gets especially thick when the characters are about to do something dangerous.  Before facing a dangerous situation they hold a figurative staff meeting to discuss all the different ways they can die.

The books are starting to become formulaic. The story, settings, and new characters are interesting enough that it’s still readable but after reading the first four you have a feeling for what will happen next. 

Kendra and Seth are at home or some place safe living their normal lives.  Something happens that forces them to go to Fablehaven.  There, they be forced to face a threat to the sanctuary or to one of the artifacts, either one in their possession or one they need to find.  An Indiana Jones type quest follows to find the artifact forcing the characters to face peril after deadly peril.  Someone will die, someone will betray them, someone will be an unlikely hero.  Roll Credits.

Same story, four books.  I hope that the last book in the series shakes things up a little, I would hate to be proved right.

Don’t get the impression that I didn’t like the book, I did.  It stayed interesting throughout with enough twists to keep the pages turning.  And it had dragons, which are always a perk.

See my reviews for the other books in the series:

Fablehaven (#1)

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star (#2)

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague (#3)

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison (#5)

About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, was published in November 2018 and rereleased in Jan 2020. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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10 Responses to Fablehaven: The Secret of the Dragon Sanctuary (Book #4)

  1. nrhatch says:

    Excellent balance in this review.

    He looked at him searchingly = one horrid sentence

    I prefer a scathing glance to a searching gaze.

    Good eye!

  2. OK, OK, Jodi, you win. I’m getting the Fablehaven books. Why should you have all the fun of taking them apart? ))

  3. aardvarkian says:

    I like dragons. Where do I sign up?

  4. Anonymous says:



    I read a Star Wars book (yeah, I know) that not once but twice used this construction:

    “[dialog],” he said feelingly.

    I’m not making that up.

  5. Are formulaic books bad if there are readers who love them and can’t get enough of them?

  6. Sounds like the problem is that very little in the previous book is influencing what is happening now. The characters repeat themselves because they haven’t learned, changed or grown. Having not read the series I don’t know that this is the problem, but from your description it sure sounds like it.
    I don’t mind searchingly. Though quizzically would probably have been better, or probingly (if they had to have an adverb).

  7. Its really very useful.

  8. Pingback: Fablehaven: The Keys to the Demon Prison (Book #5) « My Literary Quest

  9. Pingback: Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (Book #1) « My Literary Quest

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