Every few days the handsome stranger comes into the café in Lowtown for an hour a time. Most of the time he keeps himself to himself – one drink and he leaves. Sometimes people meet with him but about what remains elusive, the edge of mystery and danger adding to his allure.
Not that Ember is allowed to think about him. She’s finally on the cusp of gaining her citizenship and escaping Lowtown for good, so she can’t be seen to be involved with a vampire – evidence of one single bite would be the end of her prospects. But when those prospects are rocked by her links to the district’s dark underbelly, the stranger she must avoid could be her absolution – and she could be his . . .
Worldbuilding: I liked the layered world of the Lowtown, Midtown, Blackthorn society, with gangs and corrupt officials and a general sense of doom and decay that comes with every good dystopian setting. There was a lot of tension in the setting itself, but I might be in a sans-dystopia sort of mood because it didn’t come through as exciting for me, rather gloomy somehow instead.
Characters: I liked Ember, though I won’t say I loved her. She was ambitious and determined, always a plus, and also a closet romantic which was kind of cute. As the story unfolded, her romantic side came through more and more, though it also had this authentic, down-to-earth vibe that should have won my heart but for some odd reason it didn’t.
Nate’s bad-boy-ery and well-guarded soft core were also a good combo, though it didn’t elicit my general fangirlism. I enjoyed his badass moves and mad skills. He acted as more of a tough guy than he was at times, making him a layered and strangely sweet sort of guy in a bit of a twisted sense, I guess.
I didn’t really feel their chemistry or them as characters, so I wasn’t that invested in their romance as a result. I should have liked them, by all accounts. It’s just one of those cases where you can’t say exactly what it was, but it didn’t work as expected for some reason.
Plot: The story has a nice active tempo, though it felt slightly slower in the very beginning and picked up pace soon after. The story of Ember’s life and its tangents were pretty dramatic, and the curse thing added another layer of tension to the combo. Plus the ending was very hot vampire romance action galore for a pretty slow burn romance.
Writing: Third person, past tense narrative, his/her POV.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my vampire PNR moods.
All in all, I had fun reading Haven and enjoyed a lot about the story and world, and the characters as a construct. Something about the combo didn’t click all the way for me so I didn’t end up having as much fun as I was hoping for, I think.
I recommend Haven to fans of vampire PNR with a dystopian spin.
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