Haven by Mary Lindsey
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Review copy sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."
Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.
Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.
What I Liked:
It's been a while since I read a YA paranormal romance novel, and an even longer while since I read a YA shifter type of paranormal. In the last few months alone, I've read a few of them - two of which are published by Entangled Teen. Black Bird of the Gallows and Haven are two of Entangled's biggest titles, and I can definitely see why. Both were excellent. Haven was intense, dark, and sexy, and I couldn't read it fast enough.
When Rain Ryland's mother dies unexpectedly, he has no one and nowhere to go. Or so he thought - but as it would turn out, he has an aunt in a small town called New Wurzburg, and she has offered to take him in. Aunt Ruby is sweet and loving and everything Rain never had in a mother. But New Wurzburg is... strange. Eerie shadows lurk in the dark, and nothing seems to add up when it comes to Friederike Burkhart and her bizarre family. Rain doesn't know what is going on, but he intends to find out - especially when the town has plans for him. Trouble has always followed Rain, but this kind of trouble is the kind that could end his life.
This book is told from the third-person perspective of Rain. It's so rare that YA books are told exclusively from the perspective of the male protagonist, and I found it very refreshing. I love third-person narratives, and a third-person male narrative was so interesting to read from.
I liked Rain from the start. He seemed like a troubled kid, running the streets and getting into trouble. But when he moves to New Wurzburg, he tries to better, to not worry his aunt. But both he and his aunt are ignorant to what really goes on in New Wurzburg. Rain is a good guy with a lion's heart. He immediately jumped to Freddie's defense without even knowing her. He was always taking up for her, wanting to stand up for her, wanting to protect her. He knew she could handle herself, but he wanted her to know that he stood behind and with her. He's protective and loyal, but also cognizant of Freddie's personality and her role and being.
Freddie is tough as nails, and a total alpha female. She is so kickbutt and fierce, and she goes after what she wants. I liked her a lot. She isn't the type of alpha female to lord herself over rain and drag him around. I like that both characters were alpha types, but they were both respectful of each other and neither of them tried to control the other or assert their will over the other. I loved Freddie's confidence and her assertiveness.
Rain and Freddie really work as a couple. They immediately hit it off and have such great chemistry from the start. That chemistry spills over and they end up having some steamy times together. The chemistry is great, and so is the romance. Rain and Freddie fall for each other as the book goes on, against Freddie's wishes (she thought she would be protecting him if she left him alone. But of course she couldn't leave him alone!). I really liked the romance - it was passionate and steamy and intense, and very well-written.
The first half of this book is slightly creepy! We as readers are reading from Rain's POV and we have no idea what's going on because he has no idea what is going on. The slow reveal of information is so well-written, and really hooked him. I couldn't stop reading if I tried, because I had to know the what's and the why's and whatnot.
The paranormal aspect of the book involves werewolves and Weavers, people with spell-casting abilities. It was really cool to understand, as information was slowly revealed. I would definitely say that this isn't your typical YA shifter paranormal romance. There is a lot of politics at work, with Freddie being set to inherit the Alpha position of the pack, but a lot of contention and dissatisfaction brewing in the midst. On top of all of that, there is a huge mystery going on, which takes some creepy and chilling turns. This is a paranormal romance novel, but it's also a mystery novel, and there are tiny pieces of horror (not enough to label this as a "horror" novel. This book had my heart pounding throughout many chapters, and my pulse racing in other chapters. At no point was I bored or in danger of not finishing; this was a book that demanded my attention and kept me hooked until the very last page.
It was so hard to tell who were the "bad guys" and who were the "good guys", because the author had a great way of making characters seem bad but end up being good, and vice versa. You can't trust anyone in the town! Freddie's cousins are trouble, as are their fathers... or are there? Who is on Freddie's side? Is Freddie trustworthy? Seriously, the author had me questioning everyone.
The ending is a very good one, which was lovely! After all of the dark craziness that happened in the book, I was happy to see a HEA. I love how the author ties everything together, from Rain's parents, to his friend Moth, to the murder of Freddie's father, to the pack politics. The end is very wrapped up and airtight, which I like. Standalones are wonderful things!
What I Did Not Like:
I can't think of anything specific that I didn't like. I'm not giving this one five stars (you all know how particular I am with a five-star rating) but I really enjoyed the book regardless.
Would I Recommend It:
Any fan of YA paranormal romance would enjoy this book! Years ago, I read a ton of YA novels with vampires, or werewolves, or other types of shifters, and I got sick of those paranormal novels really quickly. Years later, I'm dipping my toes back into the YA paranormal world and I must say, I'm loving what I'm reading so far. Haven is a really excellent YA paranormal novel with a fantastic murder mystery. Another Entangled book that is YA paranormal romance that I'd totally recommend is Black Bird of the Gallows. Super great book, one of my favorites of the year!
4 stars. Haven was new to me up until a few weeks ago, when I saw it on Goodreads. It has loose references to Beauty & the Beast, with the tagline being "Sometimes Beauty is the Beast...", and I thought that was pretty neat. I am very thankful to Entangled for sending me a review copy of this book! It's like they read my mind. I will definitely be looking out for Entangled's big titles publishing in the future!
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