Book in Review: The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams8:39 PM
Title: The Haven
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publishing Date: March 4, 2014
Rating: 2/5 stars
The Haven is a story that deals with the conflict between that of ethics and science and that of morality and survival. Its premise borders around dystopian to science fiction, genres I am very interested in as they mirror our society today or what our society aspires to be in terms of technology and lifestyle. Theoretically, this is a book that I should have loved, especially because the cover is interesting, and the premise sounds intriguing. However, Williams's The Haven failed to produce something original and distinct - and its plot felt washed out and is obviously a poor man's version of a bunch of other YA and adult dystopian books (one particular adult book which everyone else has pointed out, but I will not mention in this review). In fairness, it is quite difficult to come up with something original given the wide array of dystopian literature. Comparisons are not at all fair, but The Haven failed to add or contribute anything new to the overused concept of cloning. I am not quite sure about this book, except that its timing was very bad. If published a few years back, The Haven could've been better received even with the flimsy writing and the flat characterization.
The narrative was flat, something that can be excused as the main character being supposed to be awkward and lacking of emotion.Yet even with that considered, the story itself should still be engaging and interesting. However, this was not the case. The Haven fell short of being extraordinary or even intriguing at the very least, and I found myself being able to guess everything that happened next.
The world-building was quite messy. I don't know if I was just being dense but it felt all too confusing, and I found it very difficult to distinguish the Terminals and the Whole. The characters were like cardboard cutouts. They were all forgettable even the main character Shiloh. The whole book revolves around them just talking but there is no corresponding action. All throughout the book they talk about escaping from The Haven, but they don't even have an actual game plan on how to do it. Even the information they had retrieved about the Haven and outside of it doesn't feel like it was scavenged with much effort; it felt as if things just appeared to them conveniently. The ending is a bit rushed and does not imply anything about a sequel, possibly because I found myself disinterested to the point I did not care about what happens next.
Truthfully, I had no expectations when I started The Haven. I hadn't read anything else about it before so it was a book that I started out fresh with no expectations. I liked The Haven's premise - the conflict between morality and science has been the subject of debates everywhere, and it is something that will stay relevant throughout time. However, this is the only thing I liked about the book. Given such premise, you would expect a story that is intense and emotionally gripping. Sadly, there is nothing that will make your heart thump out of this book, and the grade of 2 stars is only one based on effort, as to write a book like this requires plenty of research, (though also a bit lacking) when it comes to world-building and the scientific theories.