ARC Review – Haven by Mary Lindsey

I have some book reviews to catch up on, so buckle up, buttercups! I’m going to try to get as many written and posted in the next couple weeks as possible. So here we go – I’m going to continue this little spree with Haven by Mary Lindsey, which I’ve been talking about for a couple months already, so I was so ready to actually read the book (which is out today, by the way!). I hate to say it, but I was… disappointed. I’ll get into it, though.

Haven is about Rain Ryland, a troubled teen from Houston. His mom dies and he is sent to live with her twin sister, his aunt Ruby, in the small town of New Wurzberg, Texas. Rain isn’t used to small towns and has trouble keeping a low profile, especially since his aunt is one of only 3 employees of the local police station. And then Rain meets Freddie.

Friederike Burkhart is different – Rain can sense that from a mile away. A strange sort of power swirls around her, and he’s drawn to it immediately. But nothing is what it seems in New Wurzberg, and Rain is in for the ride of his life.

haven


32 Things I Loved

Oof. There were only two solid characters I liked in this book and not much else, so I’m just going to run with that.

  1. Freddie. Despite the many flaws I found in this book, Freddie was a fun love interest. She was up-front with her sexuality, she owned being a leader, and she oozed self-esteem. Granted, the story is told from Rain’s perspective, and Freddie is his love interest, but still. She was one of few characters who didn’t fall completely flat.
  2. Petra. The only other character I really enjoyed was Petra, one of the Weavers (I’ll explain the Weavers/Watchers thing in a second). Everyone is afraid of Petra and she is kept locked away in the funeral home, where she seals the bodies of the magical dead (again, I’ll explain). And she’s hilarious. I absolutely loved her. I wanted more Petra, less of the other weird shit that happened in this book.

Dislikes/Problematic Content

I’ll start with the obvious – the whole book was only white people. Even the beginning, where Rain is living on the streets of Houston? White people only. SUPER realistic. Also, only straight people, which is just boring to me now because it’s so not true to life. So, yawn. More diversity is desperately needed in books. But in terms of problematic content, that’s all I really saw, because the rest of the book was just… UGH.

This is my dislikes list. Are you ready for it? (Note: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.)

  • This book is about werewolves. That should be in the effing premise and synopsis, because I really don’t like paranormal romances (I’ve tried), and I wouldn’t have touched this book had I known it was about werewolves. It automatically makes my rating subjective, because I don’t like the subject matter or genre. Sigh.
  • The writing was so cheesy that I was physically rolling my eyes while reading. Here are some examples:

“She wasn’t traditionally pretty, like prom-queen pretty.” Eye rolling so hard.

“He sat on the foot of his bed and buried his face in his hands, frustrated by this helplessness caused by his unfamiliarity with this world he’d fallen into.” There is just so much unnecessary exposition. An editor should have trimmed this.

“Without another word, she U-turned, just like had in her decision to include Rain…” Again, an editor should have trimmed this or helped refashion it.

“At least it was only a flesh wound and hadn’t shattered a bone or hit a major artery.” Eye roll again. Like, thanks narrator who is still alive and can move around, for that reasoning.

“You must have one kickass beast inside.” Vomit. Cannot.

Okay, I’m probably being a little harsh, but I was the most disappointed in the quality of the writing. I was told Mary Lindsey won a RITA! So I figured I’d be in for a fun love story! Speaking of…

  • As with most werewolf books, the premise of the love story hinges on one character being human and the other being a werewolf. I did like that it was flipped on its head – the girl was the werewolf here – but still. Think about this. Pretend that being a werewolf is like having an STD or something. The only possible way to be together is to give your partner the STD so that you can both suffer, right? I just. It’s so wrong to me, and I hated how damn excited Rain was to become a werewolf. It didn’t ring true for me.
  • Okay, I promised some Watcher/Weaver bullshit, so here we go. The Watchers are the werewolves who protect the Weavers, who are the witches. That’s fine. But the Weavers OWN and BREED the Watchers as they see fit. And the guy who was trying to change that (Freddie’s father) was murdered by his own brother because HE PRESUMABLY WANTED TO CONTINUE TO BE OWNED AND BRED BY THE WITCHES. The whole end sequence is built on the fact that a werewolf wants to continue to be owned and his own son bred by some witches. THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO ME.

Okay, that’s probably enough to get my point across. I didn’t like this book. But hey, check out other reviews if you enjoy paranormal romance, because a bunch of people really dug it.


Rating

A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

Okay okay. You should have all seen this coming. I’m giving Haven an ORANGE rating. Not for me. Maybe for you! Go check it out for yourself (and sorry if I spoiled part of the ending for you).


Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Sorry if I was a little too honest – I’ll just avoid the werewolf books in the future.


Happy reading!

-A.

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