Havenfall by Sara Holland
Book reviews

Havenfall – Sara Holland

Release date: 3 March 2020
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4 stars

Havenfall (Havenfall, #1) blurb:

Maddie Morrow knows that Havenfall is more than it seems.
Beneath the beautiful sprawling Inn lie the hidden gateways to three ancient realms:
Byrn, Fiordenkill 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 accused, Maddie must step forward to protect the place – and the people – she cares for most.
Her safe haven will never be the same again.

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This book had so much hype, which I must admit, put me off slightly when I first got the ARC of it (which I have to admit was in 2019…) Then I totally forgot that I had it for a while, and we were coming up to release and it started being EVERYWHERE again… And then Bloomsbury (god love them) sent me a finished copy as well – so I dived in to read it. And it was totally worth the wait. I am invested, and I cannot wait for book two in this series to hurry up and come!!

the good

The book is written in a really clever way. It’s kind of like a fantasy book had a baby with a whodunit-mystery-murder, and I was totally here for that. I was guessing who the bad person was from the moment it happened. And while I did guess correctly (eventually), there were so many elements and things happening and alliances revealed that I second-guessed my pick and changed my mind a lot. Especially in that first 150-200 pages.

This is an exciting book to read. The story is fast paced, and highly plot driven. I kept wondering how Maddie was going to figure it all out on her own in the time to finish the book, and was desperately hoping there wouldn’t be a cliffhanger ending (FYI, there isn’t). But because of that, I flew through it much faster than I was expecting because I wanted to be reading it.

There is great representation in the characters, particularly with regards to LGBTQIAP+. Maddie herself is bi (and Holland did it really well which was so nice), her uncle is gay (and in a loving relationship) – certainly no bury your gays tropes here.

I actually thought Maddie was a bit annoying to begin with. But then she grew on me as the story developed. She’s put in these really tough situations, especially for a 17-year-old, and so I really get why she made the decisions she did (even though I, in all my infinite wisdom of being twice her age, didn’t like the decisions!!). But she learnt from them, and so you can’t fault her for growing and learning.

the not-so-good

There is a ‘creepy’ factor to some of the characters. At first I was just perplexed by it as one of them in particular is introduced very early on in the story (like chapter 1), but don’t be put off by it!! It’s intentional. There’s also some racism, but between the people of the different realms – not mixed races on Haven / Earth.

Because of all the mystery elements as well as learning about three new realms, there was a lot of stuff going on so it can seem too busy at times. I didn’t think that, but Roz (my buddy-reader) mentioned it to me a couple of times as we were reading. I guess this is personal flavour type of issue.

my thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. It is just a seriously good read, and I’m really glad that I ended up getting a copy to review.

I’d recommend Havenfall for those of you who enjoyed books like A Darker Shade of Magic and The Lunar Chronicles.

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I knew it was the Prince guy from Byrn because he was just so slick with the whole “helping” a lot / trying to take over the Inn.

But there were parts that I didn’t guess, mostly around the Solarians and the Heiress. It was interesting to see the fallout between Maddie’s uncle and the Heiress when neither of them really understood what the other was doing. I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!!


until next time, happy reading! Meeghan xo


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