Phoenix Flame by Sara Holland
Release date: March 2nd, 2021
Havenfall Duology #2
Maddie thought her problems were over. She saved the Inn at Havenfall—a sanctuary between magical worlds—from the evil Silver Prince. Her uncle the Innkeeper is recovering from a mysterious spell that left him not quite human. And there are still a few weeks of summer left to spend with her more-than-friend Brekken.
But there’s more work to be done to protect the Inn—Maddie must put an end to the black-market trading of magical objects and open the Inn’s doors to the once feared land of shapeshifters.
As she tries to accomplish both seemingly impossible tasks, Maddie uncovers secrets that could change everything. What if saving everyone means destroying the only home she’s known?
I was very excited to return to a favorite book duology from last year with Phoenix Flame. Both books take place in my home state of Colorado and this time around more than just Sterling got a shout-out. Book two takes place shortly after the showdown with the Silver Prince at the conclusion of Havenfall.
I partially got my wish to explore the other realms that have doorways in Havenfall. I wholeheartedly wish that there was more of it but again there is an explanation as to why that isn’t more of an option. Maddie has grown a little bit from her experiences in the first book but she is still rather reckless to put it nicely. Having Brekken as a supporting character really made me wish for Taya back. Brekken was kind of flat in his personality – maybe it’s because we didn’t spend much time with him in the prior book and I built him up in my head too much? I did enjoy learning more about the Solarians, soul-silver, and Maddie’s family history.
I was not a big fan of the ending and even though I enjoyed the book it felt exceedingly choppy with the timeline. Slow and drawn out mixed in with days apparently passing with just a “three days later” type explanation. It isn’t really explained what happened to Maddie’s uncle or why exactly he was “less than human” now. I’ll be honest, Phoenix Flame, as much as I did enjoy it seemed rushed. I also believe that the Havenfall duology would benefit from being either longer books or a series – there were quite a few items that remained unresolved at the end of the book. Overall I would still recommend this duology to readers who enjoy young adult, low fantasy, mild LGBTQ elements, and duologies. I would like to thank Bloomsbury YA, Sara Holland and NetGalley for the opportunity to read the second book in the Havenfall duology – all opinions are my own.