February 3, 2011 § 3 Comments
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I liked Kristi Cook’s debut novel Haven. Haven seemed to be a combination of a lot of elements that I really liked from other books. The MC Violet has a gift, although it doesn’t seem like much of a gift to her since she has absolutely no control over how it affects her and while she just wants to fit in, her “gift” continues to make her stand out and not in a good way. When her step-mother decides to move to NY, Violet thinks that maybe things could be different. She feels drawn to Winterhaven, a private school, where she hopes she can finally find a place for herself. Turns out that Winterhaven is hiding some secrets as well, such as, all of the students there are “gifted” in one way or another, and some of the students just may not be what they seem at all. While Winterhaven’s classes are just normal acadamia and don’t really address the student’s special abilities, Violet has a tutor that trys to help her gain some control over her gift, or at least learn how to utilize it more effectively. In the mean time, Violet is thrilled to find herself part of a lively group of girls and even drawing the attention of the most mysterious boy at school. Just as Violet thinks that she’s finally found all that she’s been hoping for, things seem to veer far off course and she finds herself part of some prophetic paranormal showdown and nothing is what she thought it was.
I really enjoyed reading about the school. Winterhaven and the students were what fascinated me most about Haven. The different gifts and the ways in which they were used was really well thought out and intriguing. I thought that the characters were likable enough but could have had a bit more depth. I was a bit disappointed about Violet’s love interest Aiden, but that is only because I didn’t expect Haven to go in that direction and that wasn’t really the kind of book I wanted to read. There was, of course, the immediate obsessive attraction, boy sees girl, boy can’t stay away even though he tries to for her own sake. Those were the few eye-rolling elements for me. However, the plot was entertaining and kept me involved in the story.
While I would not describe Haven as a fast-paced page turner, it moved along at a steady enough pace to prevent me from wanting to put the book down. I liked the characters but wanted to understand them a little more. The plot was interesting if not entirely original, there were some unusual twists here and there. Overall, I think this was a solid debut novel from Kristi Cook and I look forward to reading more from this author.