Havenfall, the latest release from Teen fantasy fiction author Sara Holland, is a somewhat interesting crossover between fantasy and romantic fiction, set between two worlds, that of the everyday world and the ‘otherworld’, a world sealed off and only accessible once a year.
Maddie grows up realising that there is something a little different about Havenfall, a beautiful Inn owned and run by her Uncle. It is not until she comes of age, she is allowed to access the secret world that lies beneath the Inn; a safe haven for those traveling between both worlds.
There is a yearly meeting held between two of the three ancient worlds, Byrn and Fiordenkill, that make up the ‘otherworld’: the third is Solaria, long since banned from attending the meetings. A fragile peace is kept between the three worlds, until a brutal murder occurs, with the body left in the grounds of Havenfall. The body just happens to be that of a Solarian.
Events conspire so that Maddie has to take up her responsibilities early; well before she is really ready, ensuring that she must accept her destiny as the ‘Innkeeper’ and must now undertake to care for those she loves the most. When it is discovered her friend Brekken, someone she has known most of her life, is considered as the murderer, Maddie realises she also has work out who she can trust, as both worlds have become dangerous places with which to be associated.
So begins a what could almost be considered as a prequal for the books to follow, in that the characters are introduced with a strong focus on Maddie, the heroine, a love ‘triangle’ is established and the ancient realms well portrayed. Teen readers will enjoy the messages hidden within the storyline which relate to the very fundamental realities of everyday life.
Woven between two separate realities, Sara Holland has created a very readable and enjoyable novel which is both entertaining and enjoyable without the massive depth of involvement that sometimes seems to plague similar books of this genre.