Hello all! Today we are so excited to be a part of the Havenfall blog tour hosted by the amazing Fantastic Flying Book Club! Make sure to check them out for all the other fun posts as well.Havenfall (Havenfall, #1) by Sara Holland
Published by Bloomsbury YA on March 3, 2020
A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it--at any cost.
Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds--each with their own magic--together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.
For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie's brother. It's where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it's where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.
But this summer, the impossible happens--a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She'll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she's letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie--no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .
So let me set the stage. This is a portal mystery with a plethora of GLBT+ characters. So, basically already an amazing set-up for a novel and I was so excited to get my hands on it early! Havenfall is a place deep in the mountains where all of the various multiverses converge and leaders from the various worlds come to parlay and work together.
Maddie is a human girl who has grown up hoping to take over from her uncle and become the leader of Havenfall. However, when violence starts happening within the walls and her uncle is down for the count, Maddie has to step in far earlier than she expected, and with virtually no actual information about how the worlds actually work.
There was a lot I liked about this book. I liked that Maddie acted like a real teenager — she made bad decisions, took things personally that maybe she shouldn’t, and fully admitted that she wasn’t ready to be a leader. We also saw a bit of her struggle with PTSD after witnessing a violent incident involving her brother, which I thought was handled very well. So often in YA novels, we see teenagers get thrust into the spotlight and suddenly they can do everything perfectly. This is definitely not that book, and I appreciated that.
I also enjoyed the interplay between the characters. They were all well-developed and surprised me at one time or another. The LGBT+ representation (mostly bisexuality/lesbian/gay rep) was well done — it wasn’t the focus of the book, it just WAS, which I liked for how realistic that seemed. The individual characters could have used a bit more depth — we are just thrown right into the drama involved without a lot of time to get to know people, but overall I thought some of the character interactions made up for that.
Haven itself is a great setting, and Maddie’s love for the place is tangible. In this way it reminded me a bit of A Treason of Thorns, which is a novel I LOVED that focuses on the symbiotic relationships we sometimes have with places we love.
That said, I personally found the pacing to be a bit on the slower side. I have to come clean here — I’m in the middle of a giant reading slump, so pushing through a novel with slower pacing definitely could have been a case of right book/wrong time based on my own reading issues. I had to force myself to come back to it a few times, but I was glad I finished it.
I also thought some of the twists and turns were a bit predictable, and could definitely see where things were going pretty early on. I would classify this as a bit younger YA, sort of an older middle grade. There isn’t much romance or violence (on page) and Maddie definitely reads as a younger character to me. We see a lot of her thoughts around her first kiss and first love and that sort of thing that read more juvenile overall.
Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable read and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. Even though some heavy things happened, it overall felt like a light read to me and I think if you’re looking for a fantasy novel with some twists and turns that’s not as heavy as some of what is out there right now, you will enjoy this one!
Sara Holland grew up in small-town Minnesota among hundreds of books. She graduated from Wesleyan University and worked in a tea shop, a dentist’s office, and a state capitol building before heading to New York to work in publishing. These days, she can be found exploring the city’s bookstores or finding new ways to put caffeine in her bloodstream. EVERLESS is her debut novel.
What About You?
Have you had your eye on this one and do you plan to pick it up? If you got to read it already, what did you think? We can’t wait to chat with you about it in the comments!