Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks again, Katherine!
It took me a long time to finish this book, but it was not for the reason you may think. I loved it from the first page, and knew this wasn’t a book I could rush through. I had to wait until I actually had time to sit down and read it in peace. So, that’s why this review is a little late.
Haven is a young woman who has suddenly and unexpectedly been forced into the role of Queen. Having lost almost her entire family, she has to try and cope with this pain and learn how to rule her people very quickly. But this is hardly the most of her problems.
An evil and insane woman, Kadia, is threatening the peace of the world. She is attacking and seizing lands, with an army that is by no means human. Along with the Kings of nearby lands, Haven must join together and try to protect and save her people. She is forced to make impossible choices, with Kadia always one step ahead of her. And this evil Queen is after one thing: Haven herself. Not only Queen of Rythern, Haven was born with an extraordinary ability. She cannot be killed. And so begins the ultimate cat and mouse chase. But who will win? The Insane Queen, or The Immortal Queen?
I was both excited and nervous to give Haven a read. Excited because it’s a fantasy, and definitely had potential. Nervous because it also identifies as YA (Young Adult), and recently I’ve been pretty skeptical of the genre. That being said, I’m always up for giving books a shot, and I am so glad that I did.
The world itself was one I really enjoyed. She created a flurry of beautiful and interesting lands; from Rythern to Salander, it was easy to sink into these places. My personal favourite was Seaburn. Bogle really shined with her description here, completely allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the culture and people. It felt like you were there, among the sights, smells, and tastes, and I really applaud her for that.
Haven herself was a likable and fairly relatable protagonist, and the secondary characters were just as enjoyable. From her guards to her fellow Royals, they were all well developed. Perhaps none more so than King Corrin. I thought it was genius the way Bogle decided to bring this character to life. When Haven first meets him, she says that she “sensed a snake beneath his freckled skin”. With this hint and Haven’s revulsion, we start to feel wary of this character. But he ends up being one of the sweetest men in Haven’s life, one that she and the reader trusts utterly! That was an excellent twist.
Kadia as a villain was great, because she was completely off the wall. She could switch from a sweet little girl to a psychopath in seconds, she was very unpredictable, and that’s really exciting. But I wish Bogle had delved deeper into that character. We see a lot of what destruction she brings, but we see so little of the woman herself! I would have loved to go into her background, find out why she is the way she is, if she actually has some sanity left, or if everything she says is complete nonsense.
In fact, that’s probably my biggest criticism about this novel. It was fantastic, but there wasn’t enough of it! I would have liked to look deeper not only into Kadia, but into her powers. Haven spends weeks in the palace, but we see and experience so little of it. Her time with Corrin also was short, in my opinion. Haven’s growth and development as a character proceeded very quickly, and I wanted to see more of a progression. That would be my advice to Katherine Bogle. She’s a fantastic author, with a great story to tell. Don’t rush through it! Let us walk through the world at a leisurely, though very pleasurable, pace instead of sprinting through it.
Other than that, I would say there were a few instances when the wording felt a little awkward, but overall it was well done and helped add to the atmosphere of this new fantasy world. This is the first part of the Chronicles of Warshard, and I truly hope there is more to come. I definitely recommend this book to any fantasy fans, and any YA fans! I give it a solid 4/5 stars. The only thing that stops me from giving it 5 is the fact that it was so short, but believe me when I say that this tale had me enthralled from start to finish.
Thanks again, Katherine, for asking me to review this fabulous book and please, write more!