Havenfall by Sara Holland is a perfectly decent young adult fantasy with a bit too much hand-wringing for my taste. This was always going to be the case when you have a main character suffering from a severe trauma that tore apart her family when she was younger and when this main character must act like an adult for the first time ever. Except, it proved to be a little more than I could handle.
Another aspect of Havenfall which I found a bit troublesome is the fact that it is a bit predictable and repetitive at times. This is especially true for all the scenes in which Maddie must make decisions as the Innkeeper and not as an employee of the Inn. As with the hand-wringing and angst-laden drama, I understand the reasons for the predictability and the repetition because they emphasize how poorly Maddie is handling the situation into which she has been thrust. While I understand the reasons, it doesn’t mean I enjoyed it.
One good thing about Havenfall is the bit of steamy heat between Maddie and another character. Ms. Holland certainly knows how to build chemistry between her characters, and it pays off in the scenes with Brekken. While I understand the slow progression of their relationship, I do wish we could have enjoyed more of it if only because I enjoyed those scenes so much.
I also enjoyed the fantasy aspect of Havenfall. The idea of other worlds hiding behind doors found in deep tunnels within the mountains is intriguing and fun, especially when those worlds are nothing like Earth. I really hope we get to explore these realms in the next book because they were among the highlights of the book.
I can’t say that I hated Havenfall, but neither did I truly enjoy it. I repeat my statement that it is simply a decent young adult, rather generic, fantasy story with the high points being the fantasy element and the romance. I do plan to read the sequel if only because I want to find out if Maddie grows a spine and some common sense after her experiences in this one.