I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Haven by Katherine Bogle
Release date: May 11th, 2016
Publisher: Friesen Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.
Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.
With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.
As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.
I requested this book because the blend of immortality, magic and a medieval setting sounded fascinating. It had all of the components I really love: fantasy, romance and strong kickass female characters, but it sadly fell flat for me.
The story is quite short. At around 200 pages I should have been able to zip through it, but instead it became a slow grind. After DNFing two other books in October I really didn’t want to give up on this one so I stuck it through. The action is very slow to build. Nothing really happened in the first 100 pages. By the midway point I still didn’t know very much about the setting or the characters. This made it extremely difficult for me to care about what would happen to them later on in the story. I NEED A CONNECTION! I NEED TO CARE!
Part of the reason why there wasn’t a connection was because EVERYTHING is about Haven. Yes, her name is the title of the book, but the entire plot revolves around her. The other characters were just window-dressing. The story opens with Haven being crowned queen of Rythern. Her entire family had been killed and she wasn’t prepared for the burden thrust upon her. This should have made for an interesting storyline but to be honest, Haven was extremely boring. Everything was about her immortality and how she was afraid to fall in love. How her personality started at the beginning of the book was how it ended…NOTHING changed. UGH!
What I did love was all of the strong female characters! Haven’s personal guard were all females and the villain, Queen Kadia, was fascinating. Kadia was unbalanced and very, very dark. She used dark powers to attack the lands around her. She wanted to achieve world domination, but I wish we knew more about her. What made her the way she was? Hints to another land or world were given, but not much informational was revealed. Maybe this will be revealed in the sequel but you still need to give a little to keep the reader interested.
So, this book was promising but it never really went anywhere. The plot lines were predictable and cookie cutter, the characters were flat and the writing stuffy and blunt. It was slow to read but it did have some good moments, such as the battles scenes, where I quite enjoyed it. I honestly though wouldn’t recommend it. It was a huge let down and that makes me very sad. I wanted…no expected…so much more!
Katherine Bogle’s debut young adult novel, Haven, came second in the World’s Best Story contest in 2015. She has written four full books, attended Holland College for Photography, and travelled to Ireland, Scotland, England and Cuba. She currently resides in Saint John, New Brunswick with her partner in crime, and plethora of cats.