Haven Awakening by Gryffyn Phoenix
Publisher: Avalerion Books
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (261 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
What if you were blind and your parents gave you new eyes for your sixteenth birthday? Suddenly, all the world is back in glorious colorful detail. . . but what if there were more? What if you opened your new eyes and saw your doctor and parents smiling at you, full of love and joy… but attached to the doctor’s legs are hideous squirming monsters that no one can see but you? And the nurse has a dark pit on her chest spitting acid … and those are the easy ones.
Verity Chambers is seeing these things with her new eyes, horrible monsters that couldn’t possibly exist in her world, but do. In shock, Verity discovers she can now see past the barriers that protect Earth from the countless creatures she thought existed only in nightmares.
Throw into the mix a blood feud, two mega-hot not-quite-human boys, and a nasty girl who may be a demon, and you’ve got a difficult road ahead for Verity, who thought her toughest challenge in life would be color coordinating her outfits for school.
But hey—if Verity doesn’t make it to seventeen, at least now she’ll see it coming.
The new veil-seer has been made
A mortal female.
Now the game has changed.
And planet Earth is the prize.
Every action has a consequence, but not every consequence can be predicted ahead of time.
Verity is a such a well-developed character that I knew exactly what kind of personality she has by the end of the first scene. Her snarky, intelligent commentary on all of the unexpected things that happen to her after her cornea transplant lends a healthy dose of skepticism to her experiences. The fact that she doesn’t immediately adjust to her surroundings makes a lot of sense given how violent, unpredictable, and sensual this new world is, although the inclusion of these scenes makes this a book that should not be passed down to younger readers.
I would have preferred to see more well developed secondary characters. So much of what I learn about their individual personalities comes from how focused they are on everything that happens to Verity. While I understand why they find her so fascinating, the idea of one person attracting so much attention didn’t always fit in with what I learned about their society. It would have been helpful had more time been spent on the difference between what the secondary characters say they value versus what they actually pay the most attention to as the discrepancy grows more distracting over time.
The world building in this book is incredible. Ms. Phoenix develops so many different species, alliances, and old, festering wounds between various groups simultaneously that I was nearly as disoriented as Verity is in the first few chapters. I was especially interested in how the author uses myths and legends from a wide variety of cultures to flesh out the narrative. They work quite well with the original creatures that she throws into Verity’s path as the plot progresses.
Haven Awakening is a wild ride that is as much fun for adults as it is for young adult readers. Why not give it a try today?