Haven by Katherine Bogle
Series: Chronicles of Warshard #1
Publication: May 10th 2016 by Friesen Press
Format: eBook Pages: 208
‘Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.
Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.
With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.
As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.’ – Goodreads
Haven is just over 200 pages long and for the first 100 pages (basically half the book), nothing really happens. The plot is incredibly slow to develop, and that’s why this 200-page book took me weeks to read.
As the first book in a series, I anticipated a slow plot filled with character development and world building, since it’s a fantasy book. However, I was left underwhelmed by the amount of detail provided about the six Warshard kingdoms. I would have liked to learn more about the kingdoms and their different cultures. Bogle provided some hints about Seaburn’s history and customs, but they were shrouded in mystery. I expected to have been well acquainted with at least one kingdom by the end of the first book in a series.
The protagonist, Haven Fyre, begins uncertain of her newly acquired position as Queen of Rythern, but her character develops as the story progresses and she starts to grow into her role. Despite her development, Haven didn’t have much of a personality; I found her boring and I didn’t feel any attachment towards her or any of the other characters.
I liked the amount of strong female characters in the story, and I enjoyed reading the combat scenes, but I noticed that the kings from the other kingdoms were pretty much idle the whole time. Haven was the only monarch actually doing anything. The action revolved entirely around Haven, the other (more experienced) monarchs didn’t even bother to speak up and left everything to Haven, a newly appointed nineteen-year-old queen. I’m all for girl power, but the other characters’ actions were reckless, and they didn’t make sense.
I thought that the combination of superpowers mingled with a medieval setting was pretty cool, and that’s what caught my attention when I first heard about Haven. Haven’s immortality led to some crazy scenes, and it didn’t stop her from experiencing pain. The antagonist, Queen Kadia, used shadows as soldiers and had other dark powers, her character was eerie and psychotic; I would have liked to have learnt more about her past. I believe that’s something Bogle is reserving for the next instalment due to hints near the end of the book.
There was a little romance and sometimes confessions happened at ridiculously inappropriate times (like when one of the characters’ dad died). I didn’t care much for Haven’s love life, but I did like the little snippets revealing the relationship between two of Haven’s female guards, Blythe and Malka. There were some attempted rape scenes dotted along the book and they played a significant part in the storyline; I’m putting that out there as a trigger warning for anyone considering reading this book.