Book Tour Review: Haven by Laury Falter

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Title: Haven
Author: Laury Falter
Genre: post apocalyptic, horror, young adult
Series: The Apocalypse Chronicles #1
Pages: 258 
Published: June 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

On an ordinary day in early September, Kennedy Shaw leaves for school unaware that within a few minutes the world she knows will be gone - succumbed to an outbreak of epidemic proportions. After finding a safe haven inside the security of her enclosed high school, she learns that four others have survived, one being a bold, mysterious transfer student from Texas whose unruffled demeanor harbors more than a cool interest in her. As they struggle to survive the dead fighting their way inside, will Kennedy discover there is more to life than survival? And will she and the others find a way to live in this terrifying new world?

As a young adult novel featuring a small group of survivors in a high school during zombie outbreak, Haven bears a strong resemblance to Courtney Summer's This Is Not a Test. I would recommend this short novel for fans of Summer's tightly-wound narrative -- each are smart survival stories that focus on such disparate, fractious teenagers struggling to survive. It's the first in a planned series, and will fit right into the young adult zombie/horror niche.

While there are some key similarities between the two novels, Falter's Haven is far more concerned with action than Summers was. There are plenty of risky situations and narrow escapes, especially when main character Kennedy and her mysterious love interest Harrison are patrolling/scavenging. There are some interesting interpersonal dynamics at play between Beverly, Meu, Doc, Kennedy, and Harrson, but it's not stressed, nor a focal point for the novel. Haven is clearly plot-driven, rather than character-driven. 

This is an entertaining, occasionally brutal read. When it sticks to survival and mystery, Haven is great. It's when the novel gets lost in love stories and romances that I found myself hoping the Infected would pop up. I can appreciate that Kennedy and Harrison at least vaguely knew each other before the events of the novel and that they take at least a few weeks (it's hard to tell -- the passage of time in the story can be uneven) before falling in love. I just don't really buy into them as a couple. They are both so isolated and secretive as people -- I just don't see it as authentic when they claim to be unable to live without the other.

While Haven isn't a perfect read, Falter can't be faulted for trying. Her writing is nondescript but strong, and her sense of action is well-illustrated throughout the novel. Her characters start out woodenly but improve, but none (outside the main pair) have really become more than a name on a page as of yet. There is plenty of time for that to happen in the further books to come and I hope it does as Mei, Doc, and even Beverly have potential to become memorable characters.

I am a big fan of open-ended horror novels, and Laury Falter pulls that trick off rather neatly here. Of course, I expect that there will be some kind of resolution in the next book about what happens on the final page in Haven, but I love that it ended where it did. It was a smart way to end the novel and keep readers in suspense. All in all, this was a very quick, engaging read. If you like narrowly-focused, actiontastic stories of zombies and high schools, you can't go wrong with Haven.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


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