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Havenfall by Sara Holland
Young adult

Havenfall

by Sara Holland

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Your magical fantasy with nostalgic-vibes. A peaceful paradise is rocked by evil, throwing a young hero into action.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical

    Magical

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_GraphicViolence

    Graphic violence

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Murder

    Murder

Synopsis

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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Havenfall.
Havenfall

Prologue

The first breath of air Marcus takes in another realm feels like lightning. Human lungs aren’t built for this world, for Byrn. He doesn’t know how long he has before they give up and he needs to stagger back through the shining doorway to Haven.

But every new Innkeeper is duty-bound to visit all the remaining worlds, if only once—that’s what his great-grandmother, Annabelle, who ran the Inn at Havenfall for almost a century, told him before she died. So Marcus doesn’t flinch, not with twenty nobles of Byrn lined up in a semicircle around the portal, waiting with scaled cheekbones glittering in the orange light. All of them are gathered, curious to hear the new portal-keeper speak. Behind them, clusters of metallic buildings shimmer against a sky the color of flame.

Havenfall is all celebration, all pomp and ritual and freely flowing spirits, in stark contrast to this intense formality. Now is Marcus’s time. The book he brought with him is heavy in his hands.

He will only read one page. There is more to the peace treaty that he won’t have time to recite: the names of the delegates who died at the inn when the Solarians rioted; the decree to forever seal the gateway to Solaria with old magic; Havenfall’s promise to hunt down all of those who escaped. A reminder to Haven, Fiordenkill, and Byrn that even after nearly a hundred years, rogue Solarians still roam their realms.

Some still blame humans, blame Haven, for the bloodshed. Marcus knows that. It’s now his responsibility, as the portal-keeper, to keep everyone safe. Not just the Byrnisians and Fiordens, but his beloved Graylin; Marcus’s sister, Sylvia; and her children—who will one day inherit the Inn at Havenfall and all that comes with it.

He must remind everyone of their promises to one another. So he lifts the book, the only time this leather-bound volume has ever left the inn’s library, and begins to read aloud from its old, crumbling pages—to tell the waiting crowd that Havenfall remembers.

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Why I love it

Sara Holland's Havenfall is my ideal spring book. As the world emerges from the winter chill, I want to be reading something a little magical and a little dark, as I prepare for a muddy spring and the heat of summer. Havenfall delivers on all counts.

The book revolves around Maddie Morrow, who, on the run from a difficult family situation, heads into the mountains of Colorado to spend the summer with her uncle at Havenfall, an inn that straddles and provides sanctuary for warring magical realms. In Havenfall, with her handsome friend Brekken at her side, Maddie feels like the most complete version of herself, basking in the freedom the inn’s magic provides. This summer, however, things are changing for good: The refuge at Havenfall is disrupted by a grisly murder, and with her uncle in a magical coma, Brekken suspiciously missing, and beasts prowling the grounds of the inn, it's up to Maddie to keep the peace and protect Havenfall at all costs.

Stuffed full of romance, magic, and an intricate mystery that keeps you guessing, this is the kind of book you’ll miss your subway stop for. I loved Maddie's tenacity, her capacity for love, and the world she inhabits. If you love a dark fantasy world where nothing is quite as it seems, Havenfall is the book for you this spring.

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Member ratings (412)

  • Savannah D.

    PORT ORANGE, FL

    A postmodern take on the classic fantasy novel that offers a glimpse into another world not by escaping into it, yet superimposing it side by side with our own; can't wait to see how Book 2 plays out!

  • Landri D.

    Austin, TX

    I loved this story! There was more exposition than dialogue, which was hard to adjust to, at first. However, there is some beautiful world-building and definitely a whodunit that keeps you intrigued!

  • Alexis G.

    Moreland, GA

    This was a very gripping story from the very first page. The storyline was unique and the characters were very well developed with a little bit of love, little bit if mischief, and a lot of magic.

  • Ken M.

    South Paris, ME

    I've never seen a YA Fantasy so full of twists, political points, romance, and an intricate magic system. Sara Holland has captivated my love for fantasy, and I would be so thrilled for a sequel!

  • Jale G.

    Weatherford, TX

    This was not was I was expecting at all - and I loved the book for it! An unusual world that I want to know more about and a search for a mysterious traitor; this book offers everything you need.

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