Havenfall by Sara Holland
Maddie wants nothing more than to be named the successor to Havenfall: the inn connecting our world to hundreds more. But when her beloved uncle falls ill, she’s thrust into the role too soon. Now she faces betrayals, secrets, and monsters on the loose and everybody’s expecting her to fix it. Havenfall by Sara Holland is filled with magic, teens taking on the world, and secrets generations deep.
One of the best parts of Havenfall is the magic world Holland has created. An inn hidden in the mountains with portals to all kinds of worlds beneath its floors is an inspiring concept. The different races, magics, and worlds are so much fun and well thought out. I particularly love the consequences of a specific kind of Solarian magic, but can’t say more without spoiling a twist.
Havenfall also has fun characters – both human and not. They are likeable and interesting. However, many of the characters are predictable and lean a bit towards stereotypes. There are two major character twists and I called both of them as soon as those characters were introduced. One involves a love interest and the other the true villain. If you’re looking for twists that keep you guessing, this isn’t your story. But if you’re looking for fun characters, different kinds of magic, and a girl doing her best to hold everyone together, you’ll love Holland’s new release.
Another character issue is Maddie’s sexuality. The author claims she is bisexual, but Maddie is clearly in love with the male love interest and doesn’t act that way towards the female love interest at all. This felt like a forced love triangle instead of a truly bisexual character. I like representation in literature, but it needs to fit the characters and story, otherwise it reads too false. On the other hand, I do believe the female love interest is attracted to girls.
All the other aspects of Maddie’s character and her growth are strong and believable though. Her desire and love for the inn are palpable and motivate her to keep trying. By doing so, she must learn to trust herself over others and find her voice, or the inn won’t make it. Maddie is a strong character.
Despite the two love interests, Havenfall does not have any sex scenes. There is a small amount of kissing though. It also doesn’t contain any gory violence.
Overall, some young adult fantasy readers will LOVE Havenfall by Sara Holland while others will shrug and say it’s okay.