Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Haven by Katherine Bogle

Haven by Katherine Bogle
Published by Friesen Press on the 10th May 2016.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Received a review copy of the ebook from the author

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'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. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator.'

I was pleased to be contacted by Katherine Bogle asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing her new young adult fantasy novel, Haven. I read an excerpt on Katherine's website and liked her writing style so gladly accepted the book. As we meet Haven, she is psyching herself up for her coronation ceremony, unexpectedly finding herself Queen at the age of nineteen. I liked that she isn't a traditionally regal royal and there are flashes of modern day language and attitudes which I initially thought jarred with the fantasy-medieval feel, but once I got used to the idea, gave the novel a refreshing lift.

Haven has a supernatural healing power which means she can be hurt, but never killed and Bogle explores this in an interesting way through her personal guards' dilemma. Is it brave or daft to lay down your life to save someone who can't be killed anyway? After finishing the book, I tried considering the implications of this myself and think it could make for fascinating Book Club discussions. Haven is set in a time of war so includes frequent violent scenes, sometimes graphically so, although I didn't find any to be overdone or gratuitous. What I would have liked was more time spent setting up the fabulous world that Bogle has imagined. I wanted to know more about Rythern and especially about the Path to Seaburn which we seemed to rush along with unnecessary haste. Perhaps further books will have greater detail? Haven is the first of a series.

I did think Haven was let down by a smattering of silly typos (horses' reigns for example) and continuity issues that should have been picked up in editing, but on the whole it is a good story that I enjoyed reading. I was delighted that it has A Proper Ending too! Enticing story threads are left open leading into a sequel, but our immediate narrative arc has an exciting climax and a satisfying conclusion.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Katherine Bogle / Fantasy / Books from Canada