Synopsis: Durbin has always dreamed of becoming a swashbuckling adventurer like his legendary father. But unfortunately he's stuck in the secluded valley forest of Verdancia, far away from the sway and swagger of the sea. On one fateful evening a mouse named Clove and her spear hog companion Herod stumble into his village. They had escaped from the terrible lion Sinvicious who wants to stop Clove before she can gain the full power of a geomancer--a mage with the ability to control the elements. Fire, water, wind, lightning, all can be controlled by a geomancer. They can fly, turn themselves invisible, make their skin as solid as rock, shift the earth, and even control life... Although all Clove can do at this point is make weeds move.
The next morning when Durbin awakes he finds Clove and Herod gone. Unable to resist the call of adventure, he journeys out into the woods to find them, dragging along his reluctant friend Morro the hedge hog, who would rather be sitting at home eating scones and berries. On their way they meet other new friends such as Reverie, a wounded sparrow who can mesmerize animals with his singing, and Bailey, a courageous and boisterous young squirrel who is hunting for a dragon to tame. But as Durbin and Morro seek Clove and Herod, so does Krochek the Hunter--the most vile, savage rat ever to emerge from Sinvicious's kingdom. Along with his horde of bloodthirsty rodents he will tear the forest apart in his effort to find them.
Magefable is a beautifully illustrated fantasy adventure. It is the first book in an epic tale filled with magic, treasure, humor, and friendship, as well as many ferocious enemies and the dangerous elements of nature.
I really enjoyed this book, it is aimed at a middle grade audience but even as an adult I really liked it.
There was a nice balance between action scenes and slower scenes, with time spent on showing the characters personalities and developing them. The action scenes did get a little repetitive as they were almost always battles between the good characters fighting against the rats or some other evil foe.
The descriptions were a good, they didn't go into great detail but were descriptive enough to give a good idea what they world looks like. They were short enough that the pacing was quick.
The characters were great and very suitable for the target audience. The main good characters were kind, funny and brave. While they are all have these traits they also each have their own quirks making each of the unique.
The artwork in the book was a cute touch. Nicely drawn, fairly simple pictures that go well with the story and writing style.
It should be said there were some violent scenes and death, while it doesn't go into any detail there were some parts, such as animals getting chopped in half, animals eating other animals or main characters dying, making this book unsuitable for young children.
There were some similarities between this book and the Redwall series, although there were plenty of differences to make this book worth reading even if you have read Redwall already.
In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I also got an adorable book mark, featuring artwork of Durbin and Morro and a cute little plastic leaf on it.