Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds--each with their own magic--together.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Havenfall #1
Author: Sara Holland
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Page Count: 320
Format: Physical ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Cover Artist: John Candell
My Rating: ★★★1/2
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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.
I’m excited to be a part of the HAVENFALL blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club from February 26th – March 3rd, 2020!
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Bloomsbury YA, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Prejudice, Gore/Injury, Death, Attempted murder, Abduction, Imprisionment, Profanity
Havenfall isn’t about power, it’s about peace.
Sara Holland gained my following after reading her Everless duology. Her descriptive voice brought her world to life. I found the same to be true for Havenfall. When I found out about this new series, I had to jump on it immediately, eager to read what new concept and world Holland devised. I wasn’t disappointed.
The world-building in Havenfall is solid. Four worlds converge in the magical inn known as Havenfall. The frozen land of Fiordenkill, the hot, elemental planes of Byrn, and the mysterious and sealed-off land of Solaria, home to shape-shifters, all converge at this special Inn. Of all these places, Haven (Earth) is the only place that doesn’t have magic, which is also why it has become the neutral, safe place for the worlds to converge. Humans cannot enter the foreign lands due to their lack of magical abilities.
The point is, people know that this is a place where you can vanish, even if they don’t know why. We’re hardly in Briar County, Colorado, anymore. We’re elsewhere.
Not all is negative for humans, as they are the only people that can manage the Inn. Maddie has grown up knowing the secret of Havenfall–as it is a secret from the rest of the human world. Her family is endowed with the responsibility to keep the inn running under the radar of the rest of humanity. Her uncle has been the innkeeper for years, and she would go there each summer to learn the ways, protocol, formalities, and whatnot of dealing with delegates from different nations.
This year, Maddie is more eager to get to Havenfall than ever. Her mother recently received the death sentence for apparently killing Maddie’s brother, Nate, years before. Distraught with knowing her mother incapable of committing such an atrocity, Maddie eagerly dives into the responsibilities set before her, as she will be taking over running the Inn for her Uncle Marcus soon.
For Maddie, being at Havenfall gives her assurance. But when her uncle falls into a strange slumber after being attacked by a Solarian from the banned world, she finds that the innkeeper title suddenly falls on her. Not only that, the gate that was previously sealed off to Solaria is cracked, and a threat to the Summit and Havenfall itself. If Earth is open to Solaria, that means that shape-shifters, also known as soul-devourers, may now be among them and can attack at any moment.
There’s a very specific kind of splintering feeling that comes with seeing the people you trust fall short or fall apart. They are the ones who are supposed to take care of you.
Maddie’s story is one about growth and stepping into her responsibility and position even when she doesn’t feel ready for it. Maddie quickly learns that being the innkeeper is a difficult position, as she now is responsible for her guests from the other realms and their safety. With a possible Solarian threat, an emboldened, otherworldly prince, a missing friend, and her unwell uncle, Maddie often times finds herself without support. Her self-doubt is palpable, and she often times is thrust into making decisions for the good of Havenfall first.
What Maddie uncovers is that there is much more at play than the occasional Summit at Havenfall. Betrayal strikes home when Brekken, Maddie’s dearest friend and love interest is blamed for opening the gate to Solaria. Since, his disappearance only incriminates him further as a conspirator against the adjacent realms. Maddie must uncover why the trustworthy soldier would go against everything he has ever stood for since she had known him, and why now.
The thing with Havenfall that I encountered that I didn’t nearly as much in the Everless Duology (maybe this is just because I’ve read many more books since then in this genre) was that it was pretty predictable. I felt like the antagonist could be spotted from a mile away, and the true intentions of a select few characters were obviously not what they appeared to be at face value. However, Havenfall doesn’t fully disappoint, as there is a rather-surprising plot twist revealed in the very end, which I think makes up for some of the previous predictability.
Maddie, and a few other characters identify as LGBT. She is exclusively interested in Brekkin, a boy she grew up with who hails from Fiordenkill, but shows curiosity in a peculiar acquaintance known as Taya.
With the way that the story concludes, it makes me wonder if other worlds will be opened back up to access Havenfall in the future? I would be curious to discover what other worlds were previously engaged with the Haven of the realms because the different worlds are what make this read so ensnaring. Despite some downfalls with predictability and a slower-paced plot, the world-building and ending make Havenfall a good read.
Sexual content: One scene of making-out.
Violence: Moderate with some gore.
My Rating: ★★★1/2
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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.