Hello, everyone! Today I’m participating in the blog tour for the BBNYA finalist, Haven by Ceril N Domace. This was one of my BBNYA reads last year, and I had a lot of fun participating as a panelist.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.
Book Info & Links
Most people think the fae are gone. Most people are wrong.
Owen Williams wakes after a horrific car accident to find his wife is dead—and somehow turned into a gryphon—and his kids gone after a home invasion turned horribly wrong. Shattered and reeling, he vows to do whatever it takes to find them.
When a fae scout appears and promises to reunite him with his kids, he doesn’t hesitate before joining her. But she warns him that if he wants to protect his family, he must follow the fae to their city, the hidden haven of Tearmann.
With enemies on the horizon, Owen needs to set aside his fears and take up arms to defend their new home alongside the people he’s always been taught were monsters—or he’ll lose everyone he’s trying to protect.
***Thank you to BBNYA for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
My thoughts on this one are mixed. I enjoyed learning about the world the author created, and the characters really tugged at my heart. However, the pace of the story was just dreadfully slow at times, and the writing wasn’t always the best. For example, I had trouble tracking what was going on in some of the action scenes.
I liked the world-building. I found the struggles of the fae to be realistic, and I was fascinated, and a bit horrified, by the process of changing that turned humans into fae. There were so many different types of fae, and I enjoyed learning about each of them. My only problem with the world-building was the delivery. It was really slow and primarily delivered via lengthy dialogue. There was so much telling happening that it felt like I was reading the slowest lecture in history. I found the information on the history of the fae in this world fascinating, but it was a huge drag on the story.
The characters and the family dynamic were the things I loved most about this story. These children grasped hold of my heart and would not let go. The entire family went through so much trauma in this story, and I was in my feelings right along with them. I also liked seeing a story about a father and his kids because it is not something I read nearly often enough. Although, the father, Owen, did get on my nerves sometimes because his characterization was really inconsistent. The text kept saying he was so worried about his kids and would never leave their sight again, and then he’d be off to some new meeting by himself in the very next scene. He made quite a few choices that left me shaking my head.
The themes related to ‘othering’ were timely and important. The story illustrated how important it is to get to know people rather than demonizing entire groups based on preconceived notions and baseless propaganda. The transition of the fae and the persecution they faced afterward reminded me of the challenges facing trans people, who are often demeaned and attacked for transitioning into their true selves. I’m not sure if it was the intention of the author, but that’s what I took away from it.
Was this book perfect? No, but I still enjoyed it. The world-building was clever despite being a bit clunky in its execution, and I would die for the children in this book. I came to love them that much. Therefore, I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.
About the Author
Ceril N Domace is an accountant, the owner of the feline embodiment of violence, and a dedicated dungeon master. On the rare occasions she manages to free herself from an ever-growing and complex web of TTRPG, Ceril enjoys taking walks and griping that all her hobbies are work in disguise.