Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Haven Review

The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 224
Keywords: dystopia, genetics, rebellion
Format Read: finished copy via publisher (thank you!)
Goodreads | Book Depository
For the teens at The Haven, the outside world, just beyond the towering stone wall that surrounds the premises, is a dangerous unknown. It has always been this way, ever since the hospital was established in the year 2020. But The Haven is more than just a hospital; it is their home. It is all they know. Everything is strictly monitored: education, exercise, food, and rest. The rules must be followed to keep the children healthy, to help control the Disease that has cast them as Terminals, the Disease that claims limbs and lungs—and memories. 
But Shiloh is different; she remembers everything. Gideon is different, too. He dreams of a cure, of rebellion against the status quo. What if everything they’ve been told is a lie? What if The Haven is not the safe place it claims to be? And what will happen if Shiloh starts asking dangerous questions?
For a dystopia, this is definitely a well-crafted, different story than those I've been reading lately, and I mean that in a definite good way.

It started out quite mysterious and doesn't try to be expository in telling its story. All we know at the beginning is that Shiloh and a bunch of other young kids are being held in this hospital-like place where they are fed, go to school, and all have medications they take. From there, things slowly start to unfold about scientists and why exactly these kids are being held here.

I was surprised by the serious nature of this book. It brought up a lot of moral questions, and it made it extremely interesting only being told from the inside of the complex — we had virtually no clue what was happening on the other side of the hospital's walls. It moved at a quick enough pace to keep me invested, but Williams revealed information slowly and at just the right time. I was pleased with the suspense.

It also, unlike many MANY dystopias out there, didn't paint one specific character as a hero, which I loved. Multiple people were involved in the story's progression and events that would eventually take place, and each character was developed and crafted carefully. It was much more realistic in its nature because of this, and the fate of the world didn't rest on one teenager's shoulders.

This was such an interesting story, and one of the best dystopias I've read this year, and I was shocked because I hadn't heard of it before it showed up on my doorstep. The science was sound, the characters were solid and believable, and it was definitely a unique concept as far as stories go. I will be on the lookout for more books from Williams, as I was definitely impressed by this one.

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