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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized9 Comments

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
Publication Date: 22 Feb 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone (for now)
ISBN: 1442407603
Format: ebook (ARC)
Pages: 418
Place(s) Traveled to: Upstate New York // New York, New York

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

First Line: I’ll never forget that first glimpse of Winterhaven as we pulled up the long, curving drive – gray stones bathed in the lavender haze of dusk, looking like an old European university, all flying buttresses and stone spires reaching toward the sky.

Related Posts: NA

Where do I begin with this one…this is a tough one to review because it was a book that I was really excited to read. After reading Kim Harrington’s book Clarity (my review) I’ve become more interested in the psychic side of the paranormal genre. These days when one thinks of paranormal the first things that pop into mind are vampires and werewolves and then maybe witches if you think a little longer. So the idea of a psychic boarding school just really appealed to me. 
The first few chapters of this book were great. I loved the writing and the introduction of the characters and the world building was pretty solid. But then Violet meets Aiden and the whole book just begins to fall apart. Violet starts out strong but the moment she meets Aiden she falls instantly in love with him and her entire world becomes revolved around him. Their relationship is filled with such agnst and hot/cold moments that it gave me a headache trying to keep up on if they were together or not. And who had just broken up with who. Her friends, which were never really described, totally took a back seat and faded into the background. Except when if became convenient to the plot to have them there. Then it was usually just to hear Violet whine about how much she loved Aiden and couldn’t understand why he was avoiding her for the upteenth time. 
Then there is the big twist, which I won’t reveal here, and things moved away from psychics and focused more on this other paranormal aspect. To me this hurt the novel more then helped it and if this had been a physical book I totally would have tossed it across the room. But since Alis the eReader is fragile I just shook him and talked allowed to the book as I read. I also found Violet to be a dumb bunny throughout most of the book even though throughout it all we are constantly told just how smart she is by the super advanced classes she takes. But yet she can never seem to realize when her visions start to come true. She never gets that by trying to prevent her visions from coming true she actually makes them come true. And she is just so clueless about the most obvious of things. 
The story is also very time jumpy. On one hand its nice that the entire series of events don’t occur over a few days but within a single chapter its not uncommon for an entire month (or more) to pass.  It just was difficult sometimes to figure out when something was happening. I also hated how Violet didn’t seem to have a life outside of Aiden. We know she had one as there would be references to her just coming back from Spring vacation that she spent with her grandmother. But we never got to see who Violet was without Aiden. I really would have liked to see how she was when she wasn’t dealing with his angst and his push/pull attitude towards their relationship.
What bugged me more than anything else in this book though was the phrase “you know.” You wouldn’t think one simple phrase would be eye twitch inducing but this was. It was used by every character several times, often with in paragraphs of another using it….and once or twice it was even used in the SAME SENTENCE. It was used as a way to pause, for a character to gather thoughts among other things. But mostly it was used to describe sex. It was always “did you and x…you know…” or “I wanted to spend the night with him but not…you know.” It seriously made my eye go all twitchy and had me yelling at poor Alis the eReader again for her just to say the word sex….just once. I mean she said the word sexual and hard-on…but why was sex so hard? That said the book was very clean. There were no swears or sex scenes, although there was this one scene in which Violet came close to the big O….but it was done in such a way that I, as an adult, was seriously creeped out.
I could go on but I think my feelings on this one are pretty clear so why beat a dead horse? Haven is currently a standalone but as not all of the questions raised where answered there is serious potential for a sequel. Never fear though dear reader, the main story ARC of this book is closed out so you won’t be left hanging on anything major. Also, if you liked Twilight then I can honestly say that you will like Haven especially since it is better written. Even though, as with Twilight the character descriptions are all pretty blank at least the heroine is less annoying and the hero a lot less creeptastic. I think Haven can best be described as a hodge-podge of all the major paranormal novels out there. There is a little bit of everything so there is a wide range of things contained in the story to appeal to many different readers. Alas, this one just didn’t work for me. It was predictable and eye-twitch inducing and I kinda amazed that I made it to the end. Always though don’t just take my word for it. I encourage you all to check it out yourself and then come back and let me know what you thought.

Quick note: For a great GoodReads update that totally reflects my thoughts as I read the book check out Danielle’s status updates here.

Reviews from people who thought differently than me

Miss Page Turner’s City of Books – “In my opinion, a very good novel is always marked by a very good writing style. Cook applied a writing style that supported the story very well. Although I noticed several word repetitions, I find Cook’s writing just right.
My Reading Room – “Fun characters, a plot that sucks you in and great storytelling make Haven one of my favorite YA books this year.”
The Book Sp(l)ot – “The beginning of the book was a fast, engrossing read that really drew me in. Then, a little bit of the middle did go a little slower, but definitely stick with it because the ending (and middle/end) really gets going again and draws you right back in!”
The Crazy Bookworm – “Haven is very magical. It wisps you away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life and transports you into this whimsical place. Not all of it is lollipops and rainbows though, there is a great deal of suspense.”
Between the Covers – “Haven was a quick, enjoyable read. Cook’s writing easily engages the reader, finding just the right balance of description and action and refined style and teen voice that brings the story to life.”

9 Responses to “Haven by Kristi Cook”

  1. Melina

    I like that you were honest about what didn’t work and then gave links to other reviewers who felt the opposite.

    … know…..

    I think that might, you know, drive me crazy too.

  2. April (BooksandWine)


    I read one review that was like this is so original and brings so much to the genre, and I was sitting there coughing bullshit the whole time. But then, that’s from a person where the lowest rating is a 4/5 and btw why even rate if you don’t go lower than 4/5?

    Anyways that rant is inappropriate.

    Thanks for being honest, and also for letting me know what happened in the book after I DNFed it!

  3. Lauren M

    Dang, I’d been looking forward to this one. But from your review (and from things I’ve heard), I can tell that Haven is probably one I wouldn’t enjoy. =/

    Thanks for the honest review! 🙂

  4. Danielle (Overflowing Shelf)

    Those pretty much sum up everything you said in this review.

    I’m planning my vlog review, don’t know how i’m gonna keep it under the youtube video limit….

  5. Irish

    Melina – I’m always honest and try my best to explain what didn’t work for me. Then to be fair I like to link to positive reviews as my review is just one voice.

    April – I don’t trust blogs that are 100% positive. There’s got to be something that they don’t like. I too also wonder sometimes when I dislike a book so and then read the 5 star reviews if I read a whole different book. But that’s what I love about reading. Everyone thinks something different.

    Lauren – I was looking forward to it too but for me it didn’t live up.

  6. Michelle

    I’ve been on the fence on this one given all the chatter I’m hearing on Twitter about it. I think I’m going to bypass it.

  7. Water Filter

    I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. As i read your thoughts they tends me to leave an opinion regarding appreciation.