One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start–a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future. But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there–every student, every teacher–has psychic abilities, ‘gifts and talents,’ they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend–Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye–much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy–if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
Despite alarming similarities to almost every other vampire book in the genre., I really enjoyed Haven. I have absolutely no clue why. For real, there are the same plot points as Twilight, the Vampire Diaries, The House of Night series, and True Blood. Plus the whole magic academy is so overdone that I practically run screaming when I see a private school uniform on the cover of any book. Then Buffy the Vampire Slayer rears her head. There is almost NOTHING original about it...and yet...I liked it. I had a great time reading it. I liked the way the author played with words and made the story flow without making it too complicated. Things were just too convenient. Violet's friends accepted her without any problems, all of them got along and trusted each other to come through when their lives were at risk, despite the fact that they've only known each other a few months...it just...was too easy. The dialogue was childish and, to be honest, made me scoff out loud. I couldn't stand it. I wanted to literally shake the characters...you will see. I don't want to post here in case you want to read it, but it was rough going.
Other than the dialogue though, the writing was great. Cook really draws you in and creates the air of a creepy Gothic kind of tale. The boarding school is creepy and haunting, yet it becomes a Haven ( pun intended) for Violet. (On a side note, what is with main characters named violet lately? I can barely turn around in a book shop without knocking over like 8 books whose main character is named Violet.) Unfortunately, I knew what was going to happen for almost the entire book. Aiden's "big secret" is so obvious that it pisses me off when Violet is so dense about his cryptic comments and things. The couple fights a lot too...and not in a romantic, I want to protect you, way...It makes their romance seem super fake and contrived.
Actually, the Buffy part wasn't that bad. I actually enjoyed the vampire hunter bit because lately the vampire is always the love interest and there is never a kick-ass vampire hunter, at least until you move up to the adult Urban Fantasies and Paranormal Romances. The whole destined to be the slayer thing was dumb though, I felt like that could have been altered to be less copy-cat but it was still a really interesting take. The ending left off in a terrible spot I thought...it wasn't a cliff hanger and it wasn't an ending...it just stopped. That is the worst kind of ending for me. It makes a series seem just like chapters of one book and just drives me nuts.
Rating: Like I said, I really did like this book. However, I can't justify giving it anything higher than a 6 because the entire thing is like a cut and paste from the cannon of vampire literature. I will be reading the sequel, but I probably won't buy it. I'll Library it or borrow from a friend.
Alright, I'm SUPER sleepy from staying up reading all night so I think I'll turn in.