ARC Review | Havenfall by Sara Holland

“You’re strong enough to make hard choices in service of the greater good.”

Rating: 3/5 stars
Format: e-ARC

Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for a honest review!


Synopsis

48342370. sy475 A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

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 . . .


The Verdict

Sara Holland is back with another beautifully written world that combines a lot of fantasy and mystery elements together. I would be 100% lying if I said I didn’t fly through this and read it in two sittings. And despite the fact that I did give it a three star rating there is a lot in here that I think readers will fall in love with. Plus, can we all just agree that the over of this is STUNNING, like, totally gorgeous! It’s also one of those cases where the further you get into the story the more the details on the cover make sense aside from it just being super pretty.

What I Liked

✍🏻 Writing. It’s no surprise that I fell in love with Sara’s writing in this book. She has a way with words and building worlds that makes everything so lush and vivid that it jumps off the page. From the minute I picked this up I was instantly sucked into Holland’s new world and even though I didn’t love everything about this book, her writing still had me flying through this in no time.

✨ Magic system. The magic system/worlds in this was well written and thought out. I loved that in the very beginning of the book we get a breakdown of the magical worlds behind each doorway, the powers their people have, and the history of the way the worlds came together during the war and after. Having all of this information before the story even started made for an easy time piecing people/magic together and I think overall let the story flow at a faster pace without confusing readers.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Side characters were the stars. For me…I loved the side characters more than our main character. They all added so much to the story and I was more invested in Taya, Brekken, Graylin, Marcus, and The Heiress than I was Maddie. I was rooting for them all to get whatever answers they needed on top of solving who the villain was throughout this. And I have to say I would absolutely lay my life down for Taya, no questions asked.

🏳️‍🌈 LGBT+ friendly. I am loving that we are getting a lot more representation in books nowadays. Although we definitely still have a ways to go and there is always room for improvement, this book does have LGBT+ rep that is so casually placed in the story and feels so right. We love to see it.

So, why three stars?

👤 Another bland MCOne of my biggest issues with this story was Maddie. It’s not that I didn’t like her, but she just didn’t do much for me. Now, I’m not trying to take away from the fact that Maddie is dealing with a whole lot in this story. Her plate is full and she struggles throughout this book with the responsibilities of running the inn while her uncle is sick, trying to figure out who the bad guy is, finding out secrets from her family’s past, and working through her feelings for Brekken and possibly a new love interest. So yeah, definitely a lot going on but at the same time she just wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked and I was more interested in who the bad guy was rather than rooting for Maddie to succeed with everything else going on.

😴 Predictable at times. Some of the bigger plot twists in this book like who was the bad guy, what were the secrets of Maddie’s past, and Taya – the newcomer’s secret, were all kind of painfully obvious. For me it felt like the author was trying to dangle information in front of readers and distract us before flipping the story around towards the end. But in the end it was something I felt coming from a mile away making the shock factor pretty minimal. I will admit though, there was one plot twist in the story that really got me.

🤡 The bad guy. I figured it out pretty early on thanks to my sleuthing skills and honestly, just a lot of context clues. I’m not disappointed on who it was necessarily but we get little to no answers on the why part of it. Maybe we’ll find out more in the next book but it was just odd that Maddie and the side characters go to great lengths to catch the villain and then they just…go home? Kind of weird in my opinion and I definitely would have liked a little more clarity on that whole topic.

All in all, even though there were parts of this that didn’t work for me I still had a pretty good reading experience overall. Havenfall ends on a note that makes me feel like the next book should be promising and I’m definitely going to check it out!

Until next time,

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8 thoughts on “ARC Review | Havenfall by Sara Holland

  1. I pre-ordered my cope AGES ago and cannot wait for this baby to finally land into my hands. I loved Everless, even it Evermore was a major let down, and can’t wait to explore Havenfall. Thank you for fleshing out the good and the bad. It always helps my reading experience when I know, going in, that there will be flaws. Especially when Havenfall has been so hyped. ❤

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  2. I’m quite interested in reading this one, since I enjoyed her previous series!
    Great review! Sad to her though that the main characters is quite bland..

    (www.evelynreads.com)

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  3. I feel like the things that bothered you would bother me as well, and why I’m still on the fence with this one. I might wait and try the audio down the road. I typically listen to those while I work around the house, so they rarely get my full, undivided attention. Wonderful review!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. I’m with you doing the same thing with audiobooks haha! Hopefully it will work out a little better for you than it did for me 😉

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