havenfall by sara holland is a ya fantasty fiction book. my copy came through from my illumicrate march ‘world’s collide’ box and is a beautiful copy with blue sprayed edges, signed bookplate and ribbon bookmark. here’s the synopsis:
“maddie morrow knows that havenfall is more than it seems. beneath the beautiful sprawling inn lie the hidden gateways to three ancient realms. byrn, fjordenkill and solaria. maddie’s destiny is here, rooted in her family’s promise to protect the fragile alliance between the worlds. but when a brutal murder shatters the peace and someone she loves stands accudsed maddie must step forward to protect the place – and the people – she cares for the most. her safe haven will never be the same again.”
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first impressions of havenfall by sara holland
i’ve seen this book all over bookstagram and i absolutely love the cover, it’s gorgeous. the book is pretty small for a hardback and just over 300 pages long. for me this is a great sized read and one i can tackle in just a few days i’m sure. the synopsis sounds really intriguing. i’ve read other work by sara holland before and enjoy her writing so my first impressions are positive.
the first few chapters
these were really full of detail in the writing and you already know a lot about maddie, where and why she’s going, a bit of a secret she’s carrying and that she’s kind of not supposed to be doing what she’s doing. she comes across as pretty introverted yet someone that has found and knows her place and just wants to be there. i completely empathise with her rebellious reasoning. the first couple of chapters introduce havenfall really well too and had a feeling of anticipation for what was waiting for maddie at the inn. even though it’s in a realm without magic, it felt magic, as maddie says.
havenfall book review (may contain spoilers)
Frustratingly, I ended up giving this book about three stars. It started off so well but throughout the middle I was just getting so frustrated with Maddie. She comes across as so naive and indecisive, the kind of person in real life that would really frustrating. I get that she’s only 17 and not every 17 year old knows exactly what they want to do with their life. I know they have moments of being distracted or not seeing the big picture. I also know I wasn’t like that at 17 and so it really frustrates me reading about something I actually can’t really empathise with. I just can’t get into the story as much or in the head of the character. Maybe that’s because I’m older? I don’t know. I know this frustration was shared.
I found some of the plot points really predictable too and quite obvious. When the reader finds things obvious ages before the protagonist I just find it’s not good planning really. Sometimes it felt like the book was trying to go into another direction but because of Maddie’s character I just ended up getting annoyed and frustrated with her not seeing what was truly obvious. I think my partner suggested I DNF (do not finish) the book at one point but I’d already invested my time into the first half and hoped it redeemed itself.
The book does redeem itself but not in the all compassing way I found, for example, Crescent City did, which I ended up giving a five star review because of how it pulled through and blew up in my face. Haven Fall just didn’t do that for me. There were a couple of little surprises and turn of events that weren’t completely predictable but it just didn’t lift the plot as much as I wanted it to.
In the end I didn’t hate the book but it isn’t one I’ll be rereading any time soon. The writing itself is really well done and interesting. The concept is brilliant and some of the side chracters are really compelling. I would like to know more about the world, a few more of the whys and perhaps a more confident Maddie or even another character taking the helm.
One of my goals for 2020 is to read 52 books or around one a week. Some might be new, some are ones I’ve had for a while or been meaning to read, some I haven’t quite finished yet and some will be recommendations from others. You can see all the books I’ve read so far on my Good Reads 2020 Reading Challenge.