Book Fairy Review: Havenstar by Glenda Lark

One of our book fairies Tiff in Perth, Australia has shared a lovely review  of Havenstar by Glenda Lark before she hides it for a lucky reader to find and enjoy! 

The Plot of Havenstar

Keris Kaylen is a mapmaker’s daughter. She lives in one of the Eight Stabilities, islands of order, surrounded by deadly chaos. The stabilities are getting smaller as the unstable begins eating away at their borders. The religious leaders of the Chantry are in charge of maintaining the order of the Stabilities and keeping chaos at bay. To assist the religious leaders, people are ordered to make a pilgrimage across the chaos from one stability to the other. In an ever-changing landscape mapmakers who can chart safe pilgrimage routes are a rare and valued commodity.

When Keris’s father is murdered and an entire mountain disappears into the chaos, her life is turned upside down. Betrayed by her brother she is forced to flee into the unstable. Her ordered life will never be the same again as she finds safe haven in a man bonded to Lord Carasma the unmaker, ruler of all Chaos. Her survival depends on a map she cannot make and a place called Havenstar that may not exist.

My thoughts on havenstar

Havenstar Was Glenda Larke’s first published book. Ironically I read all her other books before getting my hands on this one! Unfortunately the book went out of print due to publishing issues in 1999. Thankfully it is now back in print and no longer ridiculously hard to get a copy of!

Havenstar is no different from any other Glenda Larke fantasy, it draws you in and wraps you up in another world. Glenda creates an immersive world letting the story unfold naturally, fleshing out small details of the landscape as she goes. I was really able to picture the world in which Keris lives in vivid detail. The story itself is well paced with a lot of action along the way. It is a real page turner, I spent a few late nights reading it. The plot was well thought out and rather hard to predict the ending. Glenda has a knack of fleshing out almost all of the characters (even secondary ones) creating a very holistic view of the world in which Keris is living.  These characters offer many views of how this chaotic world works. The religious themes Glenda deals with are really interesting. She has a way of making you subtly look at your own world views and question the normality of some practices we blindly accept in our everyday lives.

At first glance one might expect the premise of the story to be predictable. A young woman unsatisfied with her life, running away to find something better. The ‘rule’ stifling women and preventing them from many careers (mapmaking included) and banning change. The enforcement of the ‘rule’ by the Chantry acting like the church. This all sounds very cliché and predictable, however it is anything but. Keris’ problems are not so easily solved by running away. The ‘rule’ is enforced in every stability. The simple solution is to not go to a stability right? The only other option is to live in the unstable, the unstable surrounds all of the Stabilities, and is ruled by chaos. It is a place where entire mountains can disappear, gravity will suddenly stop working and rivers quickly change course. The solutions are, thus never simple, which makes for a gripping story. The presence of the Chantry as a church entity is very interesting. The obvious choice of a corrupt church is not played out here. The leaders of the Chantry really do believe they are doing the right thing. Indeed this is shown through their ability to keep chaos at bay within the Stabilities. The only way to keep chaos out is to keep order in the Stabilities, change or anything like it promotes chaos. However the Chantry isn’t winning this battle as the Stabilities are slowly getting smaller as the unstable literally eats away at their borders. Larke has a wonderful way of taking a predictable theme or well played story and turning it into her own. She weaves a wonderful tapestry of lives in this book and creates something that his hard to forget.

Havenstar has quickly worked its way into my favourite books list. It is most definitely my favourite book by Glenda Larke, which is saying a lot as her trilogies are amazing. If you love fantasy novels you will most definitely love this book. The world is deeply engrossing, taking you on an epic adventure with so many unexpected turns. I honestly can’t recommend it enough.

Thank you to Tiff for your review of the book! Have YOU read Havenstar? Share your thoughts below!

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