This is one of those fun, light fantasies that are so good to devour over a lazy weekend.
I’m noticing a lot of portal fantasy cropping up recently and I’m here for it. This also had such cozy feelings of home and family…plus, you know, monsters and multiverses threatening to catastrophe and magical conspiracy theories. All the good stuff.
things to look forward to in this book
➢ magical inn that’s the intersection of 4 worlds
➢ Maddie is queer! (Maybe bi?) and three other pivotal characters are gay too!
➢ lots of being attached to a building which is <3 <3 relatable
➢ monsters who just want to be left alone 🥺
➢ flamboyant old ladies who wear dramatic clothes and declare they’re writing a book (me in the future)
➢ excellent magic system!!!
➢ Maddie going from “I want to run the family inn business!” to “I am stressed and can’t do math” within 2 days which is, quite frankly, relatable.
Havenfall might be dangerous, but I am equal to it. I’m part of it. I belong here, more than anywhere else.
I think the premise of this book is the standout! It’s about this inn called Havenfall, which is where four worlds connect: Byrn, Fiordenkill, Solaria, and earth. Solaria has been blocked off because it’s full of monsters who murder people. But the other three are all buddy-buddies and at certain times of the year the inn is busting with people making trades and alliances and doing multiverse meetings. Maddie’s uncle runs the place, and it’s her dream to inherit it.
So of course, everything goes wrong. 😌 She has a lot of PTSD from her brother being murdered when they were kids. And this fated summer, the feared door of Solaria is cracked open. The book has one of those closed-house murder mysteries feels (like Westing Game) where everyone goes into lockdown while they figure out who the real culprit is. Just add a magical setting and magical people with other customs. Monsters are roaming. The staff keeps being eaten. Who is to blame. 👀
It also felt nicely like younger-YA? There’s murder and such, but it was all very off-page and just didn’t feel super dark at all.
Maddie narrates and she’s pretty nice! She’s very stressed as a lot of the weight of the inn falls into her lap during this crisis (not her choice!). Her maybe-boyfriend vanishes and there’s a cute mysterious butch lesbian girl (we love Taya) and Maddie’s gay uncles are not in control anymore and ohhhh disaster. And can we talk about The Heiress?! Who literally goes by THE HEIRESS. She’s this enigmatic, flamboyant old lady who wears a cloak and is writing a mysterious book and just…I love her. Whole book about her thank you.
There’s also very little romance, which was refreshing.
I didn’t feel I got to really know the characters though. The book is short, the emphasis is on the plot and magic system. It’s set over a few days, so it’s mainly just rushing from event to event — which I felt was fine for what the book wanted to be. Although I felt Maddie didn’t get much of a personality.
This was a fun, light and lovely fantasy read, the kind you whip through and get engaged in trying to solve the mysteries! It’s crying for a sequel too, and I’m very intrigued to know what’ll happen next now that we’ve been slapped with some truth bombs and cliffhangers!
Thank you Bloomsbury for the review-copy! HavenFall by Sara Holland releases March 3rd, 2020.
Maddie loves spending summers at her uncle’s Inn at Havenfall. But the Inn is much more than a Maddie’s safe haven, and life in Havenfall isn’t without its secrets. Beneath the beautiful, sprawling manor in Colorado lie hidden gateways to other worlds, some long-sealed by ancient magic.
When a body is found on the grounds, the volatile peace brokered between these worlds is irrevocably compromised. What’s worse is that Maddie’s friend Brekken stands accused of the murder. With everything she loves at stake, Maddie must confront shocking truths about the dangers lurking beneath Havenfall – and discover who she really is.
do you like portal-fantasies?! (when you jump from our world to another?) would you visit another world if you had a chance? and is this one on your TBR?