Today, I’m very excited to be talking about Sara Holland’s newest book, Havenfall! I was lucky enough to be a part of the blog tour, so today I will not only be bringing you a review, but also talking about some of my favorite quotes!
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Assault, Murder, Illness, PTSD, Kidnapping/Abduction //
Series: Havenfall #1
Author: Sara Holland
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Page Count: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost. New York Times bestselling author Sara Holland crafts a breathtaking new contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Holly Black.
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 . . .
Sara Holland takes the lush fantasy that captured readers in Everless and Evermore and weaves it into the real world to create a wholly captivating new series where power and peril lurk behind every door.
Overall: 4/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
Review in a Nutshell: Havenfall will pull you into a world of betrayal, romance, mystery, and magic.
Writing & Setting
This is Sara Holland’s second YA series, but it was my first time reading one of her books. I really enjoyed her writing style- the inner monologue of our protagonist was very relatable, and the descriptions of the world around her was gorgeous. I guess you can say- Sara Holland’s writing will transport you to another world. (I’m not sorry for that pun). The worldbuilding is truly where this book excels. The concept of portals to other worlds isn’t new, but Sara Holland breathes fresh life into the genre, showing the more political and realistic side to this world. I also enjoyed seeing the history of the different worlds, and the rich cultures each world has. I really can’t wait to learn more about this universe (or is it multiverse?), and one world in particular (but no spoilers here).
The plot itself is good: mostly focusing on a mystery and various betrayals, but I personally didn’t find myself sucked into the book until around the 100 page mark. The beginning is focusing on setting the stage for the rest of the book, and while it sets the stage well, I just struggled to get into it. The pacing was very slow. That said, once I was hooked, I was hooked. The final act of the book really picks up the pace. After it hooked me, I finished the rest of the book in a single sitting because I couldn’t make myself stop!
Maddie, our protagonist, has quite a lot going on in her life- a mother on death row, an uncle she desperately wants to prove herself to, and a big challenge ahead of her. I loved that she was truly flawed– while she is a good leader, she makes mistakes and seeks guidance. She sometimes trusts the wrong people, but she learns from those mistakes. Also, did I mention she is queer??? Yeah, that made my day. I can definitely see a love triangle building up, which I’m not too happy about, but these characters are so interesting, I can’t complain. I can’t go into too much detail on the side characters and antagonists without risking spoiling something, but I will say that they are equally well developed and compelling!
Pros- Interesting concept, good worldbuilding, great protagonist
Cons- Slow paced, can be hard to get into
Overall- 4/5 stars.
Havenfall is a fun read- a great start to a promising series!
If You Like Havenfall, I’d Recommend:
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer – [ Review ]
- The Marked Girl (Marked Girl #1) by Lindsey Klingele
*All quotes mentioned here are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.*
“The dark wound that my whole life has grown around, healed over, but which still festers deep under my skin.”
“But even through everything is so terribly wrong, the inn still calls to me. Omphalos. Where else would I ever go?”
“The magic of Havenfall isn’t just flowers and wine and music. It’s powerful and dangerous, a current that will drown you if you don’t keep a good head on your shoulders.”
“But strife shapes us into who we are meant to be. And places us where we are meant to be. Don’t you think?”
“In a hundred years, I’d want whoever lives at the inn to remember my name.”
“You’d better choose carefully, and whatever you do, do it well.”
“There always has been war; that doesn’t make us all monsters.”
“It’s what I always wanted to hear.
And it feels completely and utterly hollow.”
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.
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If you could travel to one world from a book, which world would you travel to?