ARC Review: Havenfall by Sara Holland

Havenfall (Havenfall, #1)Havenfall by Sara Holland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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 . . .

Warnings: gun violence, death of loved one, mild gore, implied child abuse

I know this will be a niche comparison to understand, but for me this book was a mix of Restaurant to Another World (Light Novel) Vol. 1 and A Castle in the Clouds. Havenfall Inn is a magic-bounded place high up in the mountains that is the site of portals to other worlds, and currently only two worlds have access to Haven aka Earth. Beings from one world can’t stay in another world for long, but the magic at Havenfall allows it to be a perfect site for hosting the annual summit for the three worlds involved in the Alliance, and also a neutral ground for them to discuss trade. Maddie’s uncle is the current Innkeeper and this year, when he becomes ‘indisposed’, the duties of the Innkeeper fall to her. Between the tensions brewing politically, and the threat of a killer on the grounds, Maddie already has her hands full, but then she also comes across secrets of the world.

Maddie, as an outsider in her life back home, becomes a fitting protagonist for a story that needs someone who loves the ideals of Havenfall. She feels like she belongs there, and hopes to one day take over the running of it, becoming Innkeeper. The position is not only limited to the mundane running of an inn in a town with guests from multiple worlds and keeping their existence a secret from the rest of the world, it also involves between a neutral arbiter between the different worlds and protection of the doors that lead to those, so there is power in it. She finds herself unable to meet the challenges of taking up the position when her uncle is supposedly attacked the night before the official start of the summit, and there’s the threat of a shapeshifter from a fourth banned world, Solaria, loose. That, and her childhood friend/crush-she-just-kissed disappears, while a new temporary employee at Havenfall draws her in, and Maddie is running around alone, putting out fires and hoping no delegates are attacked. There’s also a subplot regarding her whole worldview changing, and finding out that the things she learned growing up were not as black and white as she thought.

On the mystery of the attacks, the book delivered some wonderful twists, that’s for sure! The identity of the main antagonist was obvious since they had the most to gain from things getting disrupted at Havenfall. I however, must mention that there were a couple of plot-holes that didn’t make sense. Spoliers: (highlight to read) [For instance, Taya and Nate have red blood, and while for the latter I could understand because of age, for the former, her blood is exposed after she had shifted, so it makes no sense that she has red blood when wounded in her human form, but dark blue blood when in her beast form. That little thing kept me from suspecting her of being Solarian, tbh. Another thing I am not clear about is how Taya got caught by the Silver Prince – was it the bracelet that he used as a tracking device or something? Also, how in a hundred years, did no one think – hey maybe Solarian blood can open the Solarian door!]The love triangle is interesting, but I feel both romances could have used a bit more pagetime.

Ultimately, though, the fast-paced action, the good world-building and the relatable protagonist make it an enjoyable fantasy read.

Is it diverse? queer (bisexual) main character; sapphic love interest

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Bloomsbury YA, via Edelweiss.

Also by the author

Everless (Everless, #1)

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

Releases on March 3, 2020

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Havenfall by Sara Holland

  1. Pingback: February 2020 Wrap-Up | YA on my Mind

  2. Pingback: Diversity Spotlight Thursday #87 | YA on my Mind

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