Author: A. R. Ivanovich
Series: The War of Princes 1
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website:
For hundreds of years, the peaceful country of Haven has remained isolated from the rest of the world. But for adventurous seventeen-year-old Katelyn Kestrel, Haven’s calm has always been a little, well, boring. She can’t help but wonder what lay outside Haven’s seemingly impassible borders, but no one will talk about the mysterious catastrophic event that separated Haven from the outside world. Katelyn has a strange knack for finding things, and when she miraculously finds a passage into the outside world, she thinks she’s solved a longstanding mystery. Instead, she discovers that some things should never be found . . .
The outside world is more treacherous than Katelyn ever imagined, full of monsters, magic, and two princes locked in a bloody, centuries-long battle. The moment she arrives, she is kidnapped and held captive in a nearby keep, accused of being a northern spy. With the help of a hardened young soldier and a handsome lord, Katelyn must try to escape and find her way back to Haven. But there are dark forces at work that Katelyn can’t begin to understand, and she’ll be lucky to make it out of the fortress alive . . .
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I knew what I was getting into when I chose to read and review this book. It's strictly a young adult novel, which meant it would appeal to an age group that I no longer fit into. However, a good book is a good book regardless of the age range it was written for. Given the summary, I thought I would still enjoy it despite being too old. Unfortunately, this was not a good book and I did not enjoy reading it at all.
Katelyn is a teenager struck with wanderlust. She wants to know what the outside world is like and can't stand being confined in Haven any longer, so when she finds an excuse she makes a run for it. The fact that she has made a bad decision is immediately evident, not only from her petulant attitude but also from the strange and injured soldier she encounters. Then she is captured and must find a way to get back home.
Everything in this book was a cliche. Haven is a peaceful place, as indicated by its name. No one fights or hurts anyone. The guard play cards all day because they have so little to do. Everything is the same, day after day, from the happy lives people live to the fact that they all have the exact same color eyes. It's like the Emerald City, except instead of forcing everyone to wear green colored glasses the education system has brainwashed them into thinking this is normal and good.
Katelyn herself is a teenaged cliche. Her ex-boyfriend is a jerk telling horrible tales about her, her family would be happier without her strange wanderlust interrupting their peaceful existence, and her friends are the girl overcome by love of the handsome man and the geek who will make everything right with his inventions. She has a special power that allows her to find things, so when she decides to run away she is able to find the only way out of Haven within five minutes.
Even the enemy was a cliche. He's a bad man doing bad things while hurting good people. Only Katelyn, with her trusty sidekick, can defeat him and find a way home. It's a plot that has been done before by better authors. The entire plot, therefore, was unbelievably easy to guess. I found myself rolling my eyes through most of it.
I did think the story was paced well and overall (if I remove the constant barrage of cliches) it was well written. If the author had managed to tone down the trite nature of the book I might have enjoyed it at least a little bit. I do think it was unfortunate that I was completely unable to get into the story at all, given the potential I saw, but I couldn't overcome all the shortcomings.
I found this book to be utterly ridiculous. It was full of cliches and the plot was predictable. I know that a lot of preteens and teenagers will enjoy this book, so I will recommend it to them, but to everyone else I recommend you stay away.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.