Havenfall by Sara Holland

HavenFall Book Cover HavenFall
Havenfall (Book 1)
Sara Holland
Teen & YA LGBTQ Fantasy
Bloomsbury YA
March 3, 2020
ebook, hardcover, audiobook
320

"Vibrant." – Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

"An enchanting and thrilling contemporary fantasy." – Brigid Kemmerer, New York Times bestselling author of A Curse So Dark and Lonely

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.

Escape to Havenfall…but don’t drink the wine.

Havenfall by Sara Holland packs a hefty punch for a first book in a series. With as much world-building, plot-building, and character development that happened in Havenfall, there is no doubt that readers will be clamoring for more.

Maddie Morrow escapes to Havenfall looking for a safe place, and training for her dream job as the Havenfall Innkeeper. Instead, Maddie is thrust into a decade’s old plot involving the magical worlds that have been sealed off due to their violence and magic, kidnapping, and the overthrow of the Innkeeper lineage.

What would you do if you were put into a position of immense power on the night of your first kiss? On that same night, the boy who kissed you disappears, the girl you are intrigued by deliberately disobeys a curfew, and your only family is either sick, out of the state, in prison, or presumed dead?

As a teen and main character, Maddie Morrow reminds me heavily of another  badass character: Katniss Everdeen. Like Katniss, Maddie has a smart mind  honed through the survival of a tough childhood. Maddie has one slight advantage: her uncle is the Innkeeper to Havenfall: the safe space and cross roads to many different magical worlds that converge in the mountains in the heart of Colorado. As Innkeeper, Maddie’s uncle must hold a summit each summer where delegates from each magical realm are invited. Think of it as a UN Summit for Mystical Beings.

When her uncle is attacked before the summit can begin, Maddie is left to navigate leading Havenfall on the advice of others surrounding her. Unfortunately, she’s put in a position to put too much trust in them but not enough in herself. There are lessons to be learned here, and at times I thought that the choices and the decisions were too mature for a sixteen-year old. Conversely, there were other points that those choices seemed perfectly aligned with an adolescent girl. One thing I love most about dystopian stories is that there are so many parallels between current realities and those within the books. Sara Holland creates a world where all should be safe, but there are those who wish to take more at the cost of other delegate realms. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on the parallels, but ultimately learning to trust yourself despite what others say is a lesson that even the most beleaguered adults can draw from.

Maddie’s snap decisions ultimately results in some dangerous positions, but also allows her to make some startling discoveries. Not only about why her uncle was attacked, but also about why realms have been sealed off, why others want to keep the secrets quiet, and most importantly Maddie starts to listen to herself.

Havenfall isn’t your typical YA dystopian novel. It feels weightier, and the themes pack a punch. I like the love story angst for Maddie. I like that she was interested in more than one person, and that her story evolves so uniquely within Havenfall. I look forward to see how her story arc plays out in the next book: Phoenix Flame.

 

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