Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: The Haven - Carol Lynch Williams

The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams
Genre: YA, science fiction
Published on March 4, 2014
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 224
Read From: 10.18.14 - 10.22.14

For the teens at Haven Hospital and Halls, the outside world, just beyond the towering stone wall that surrounds the premises, is a dangerous unknown. It has always been this way, ever since the hospital was established in the year 2020. But the Haven is more than just a hospital; it is their home. It is all they know. Everything is strictly monitored: education, exercise, food, and rest. The rules must be followed to keep the children healthy, to help control the Disease that has cast them as Terminals, the Disease that claims limbs and lungs - and memories.
But Shiloh is different; she remembers everything. Gideon is different, too. He dreams of a cure, of rebellion against the status quo. What if everything they've been told is a lie? What if the Haven is not the safe place it claims to be? And what will happen if Shiloh starts asking dangerous questions?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I do love the cover art. Simple, pretty, blue! Also love how the title and butterfly are mirrored (very key to the story's plot; try to guess).

Characters: For such a massively short book, I did get pretty attached to everyone. Shiloh was a sensible, reasonable protagonist whose resistance to hearing the truth was understandable and therefore not annoying. And again, since it's such a short book, she can't spend too much time refusing to see the truth. Gideon, of course, was awesome; I loved Gideon. He's a new favorite. He was patient and nice and just an all-around really nice guy.

The Romance: Of course, Shiloh and Gideon end up liking each other. I don't want to say that it's a BIG part of the plot, but it's focused on as equally as everything else. I liked Shiloh and Gideon, so I didn't mind.

Plot: Oh dear; how do I sum it up without giving anything away? [Spoiler] Everyone in Haven Hospital and Halls is a clone of someone outside [End spoiler] Sound familiar? It's very easy to figure out this particular "twist", but I don't really know that it's supposed to be all that shocking. Anyone who has seen/read movies and books with a similar twist will spot it immediately. Even so, The Haven had some creepy aspects and I enjoyed it for what it was. It's a more character-driven book. The plot is well thought out, but it's short and not all that complicated. At 224 pages, how can it be?

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. It was very pleasant, had a nice rhythm, and did a lot to create the surreal, creepy aspect of the story.

Content: None.

Conclusion: Yes, the ending is very abrupt. And there are a couple small, yet important, twists at the climax. My biggest complaint is that the villain gives up too easily. After everything he's done, he's just going to let them walk away like that? Really? Apart from that, I enjoyed The Haven. It's a play on a storyline we've seen before, and I wouldn't say that it's especially new or fresh. But it's a short, entertaining read with really good characters.

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