Blog Tour: Havenfall by Sara Holland

2 March 2020


—.:* Synopsis

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 . . .

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Before continuing to read this book and review, I recommend you to check the provided trigger warning below in case you're actively avoiding certain sensitive issues. 

Trigger WarningAbduction, attempted murder, death, death sentence, imprisonment, loss of loved ones, profanity.

—.:* Quick Recap!

☆ This book is about Madeline Morrow and her journey in the magical inn that runs by her uncle, Marcus. 
☆ Read this book if you're a fan of well-built parallel universes, the trope of the chosen one, and (possible) love triangle storyline.
☆ You might want to consider it because it features some repetitive tropes, such as teenage runaway, the chosen ones, love triangle, magical doors as portal to other universes, and it also has inconsistent pacing.

—.:* More Thoughts!

While this is my first time reading this author's book, I'd be lying if I say I never heard of many praises towards her previous works before. Words about Holland's Everless series, both positive and negative, was often appeared in my social media feed. Though I haven't read anything from this series yet, I was particularly excited to join this tour since the moment I read the book synopsis. Some might be considered this book to be old-school for featuring many heavily-used tropes, but I personally still eager about them. 

Havenfall starts with the history and origin of the four realms. Fiordenkill, where the land covers in frost and snow, the sky exposes beautiful auroras and thousand stars, and its people have power to healing flesh and growing plants. Byrn, where the land is constantly in danger for being unstable, the sky exposes two suns and three moons, and its people have the power to control elements. Solaria, where the land is full of mythical and vicious creatures, the sky exposes blazing golden lights, and its people are shape-shifters. And lastly, Haven, also known as the Earth, where the land labels as the magic-free territory, appointed as the hub that connected the other realms to conduct trades and political agreements, while its own people have no capability of doing magic and entering the other realms or even know about the existence of those other realms. Although one of the realms, Solaria, was banned from entering Havenfall after a deadly incident that took place a hundred years ago, and the door to their universe was sealed off ever since.

Havenfall isn’t about power, it’s about peace.

Everything seems to go right for 16 years old Maddie when she went as per usual to The Inn at Havenfall which runs by her uncle to spend her summer break. Everything, except the fact that her mother is currently imprisoned and on death rows for getting accused of murdering her brother. And the fact that her uncle was found unconscious after getting attacked by a mysterious creature that escapes from Solaria. All of sudden, she's in charge of protecting The Inn, a responsibility that she's been hoping for to inherit from her beloved uncle but wasn't expected to achieve this soon.

Havenfall might be dangerous, but I am equal to it. I’m part of it. I belong here, more than anywhere else.

The first aspect that stole my attention when I started reading this book was a list of descriptions about the magical parallel universes that exist along with our mundane Earth. While some people considered this particular part as an unwanted info-dumping, I personally appreciate and favor it. It was concise, well-written, and delivered important historical points that I need to know about these realms before I start devouring their storyline. It definitely helps me a lot to grasp everything that's going around the characters, especially to understand their backstories and reasonings. 

I also enjoyed the short and sweet inclusion of romance in this book. While it featured a bi representation and I'm fully glad that it did, I was more invested in the general storyline of protecting The Inn and saving other characters. 

We all see what we want to see, love, but there are no monsters, just people who do horrible things.

Now, while I cherished the wonderful concept of portals to other worlds and many intricate histories between all of them, there are other things that prevented me from fully enjoying this book. First and foremost, it's coming from the main character herself. Although I admire her bravery and boldness in such a volatile situation, I couldn't deny the fact that I wish she'd have more dimension in her characters. Teens are hella smart and to make her trusting everyone so easily, wasn't an original move in my opinion. This description has been used many times before, and I think it's about time for authors to be using something else in their story, rather than repeating the same old 'naive' trait in their protagonists. 

The other issue that bothered me quite a bit was the inconsistency in pacing. I appreciate it when a book goes either fast-paced or slow-paced mode, but to combine these two with such an unbalance proportion, wasn't doing any favor. Well, at least for me.

However, despite all of those lacks, Havenfall was a thrilling urban fantasy from start to finish. It was a delightful first of the series that left me wanting more exploration from these magical realms.

Thank you to The FFBC & Bloomsbury for providing me with a review copy for joining the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. The quotes above were taken from an advanced review copy and are subject to change upon publication.

—.:* The Verdict

—.:* About the Author

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. Find her on: Website | Twitter

—.:* Tour Schedule

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