Title: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)
Author: Sara Holland
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
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.
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.
“Lots of things that can kill you are beautiful.”
I’ll start off by saying Sara Holland is one of my favorite authors. Everless, her first book, had me hooked from the first sentence and from there, she easily became an auto-buy author. So, you can probably imagine my excitement when she announced her next book, Havenfall. And to me, this book did not disappoint.
In Havenfall, Holland introduces a new world to her readers, one filled with many magical worlds and captivating people. And a storyline that quickly takes a dark turn. It’s a book filled with hidden darkness and intriguing interactions; it’s a story that may easily capture the hearts of many readers, like it captured mine.
“The great thing about Havenfall–well, one of them–is that I’m the least remarkable person here.”
Maddie is the protagonist in Havenfall, and throughout the whole story, she felt real, even if most of her problems had to deal with magical beings and hidden worlds. She’s always wanted to be the Innkeeper of Havenfall (a place where magical beings can seek refuge), it’s been her big dream for as long as she can remember. And it was still her dream after her brother was murdered and her mom was placed on death row. But when that position is unexpectedly handed to her, she doesn’t know what to do. She’s not ready for the role but she accepts it to keep the peace and to figure out what exactly happened that fateful night a Solarian escaped.
One of the things I liked about Maddie is that she fought for what she wanted, even if nothing turned out how she expected. She’s a fighter and a survivor and those things made her a strong character in her story. Her relationships with some of the characters, like Brekken and Taya (especially Taya), really brought her characterization to light and I really enjoyed those heartfelt interactions. Taya was most definitely my second favorite character. She’s spunky and sassy and I was rooting for her the whole time (and, yes, she is very much a love interest :D). But overall, I found everyone’s characterizations to be on point and fit well with the story, even if some did prove to have a dark and dangerous past.
“What happened to her family was no one’s fault. Mine, though–those secrets are ugly. And looking down at the water, at who I could be, I know I want none of those memories at Havenfall. They are my past, but this place is my future. It has to be.”
I loved the whole idea behind the concept of these ancient worlds being held behind doors, and that they’re hidden unusual, yet beautifully scenic, inn. The depictions of each world were great, and I liked how Holland included many worlds, but only focused on four (the fourth being Earth). I didn’t know I was craving a book about multiple worlds until I read Havenfall, and Holland easily brings a unique idea to life with her storytelling.
Holland’s writing, as usual, is elegant and visually stunning. It’s a book filled with beautiful prose and lush world building. I could easily picture the many worlds and characters. I loved her world building, especially with the depictions of each world outside of Haven (Earth). The worlds felt magical, and Holland created some beautiful scenery that easily made Earth feel magical. I will say I found the pacing to be a tad slow, but I felt that the characters and the plot twists made up for that. There were a few plot twists I guessed were coming but there was one that threw me through a loop and, because of that twist, I immediately devoured the last several chapters.
All in all, Havenfall is an exciting new addition from Sara Holland, filled with some illustrious magical characters, a charming scenery that readers are sure to get lost in, dark secrets that beg to be let out, and unforgettable prose that will have Everless readers remembering why they fell in love with Holland’s writing.
With how this book ended, I can’t wait for the sequel. I’m so excited for my hardcover preorder to arrive on Tuesday because this book is definitely going to be part of my 2020 favorites collection.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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