[BBNYA 2022 Finalist Tour] Book Review: Haven by Ceril N. Domace

Happy Thursday, my lovely peeps🐥!

For this week’s review, we have yet another blog tour! This time, we have one in celebration of one of the 2022 Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) finalists. For my stop on this tour, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this imaginative and fast-paced fantasy, full of world-building wonders! Haven by Ceril N. Domace came in 13th place for the BBNYA 2022 competition and you’ll see why by the end of my review! A round of applause please 🎊


BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner.  If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.

Title: Haven
Author: Ceril N. Domace
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy
Age Category: Adult
Length: 280 Pages
Published: 30 April 2021
Publisher: Self-Published

Amazon Canada
: [Link]
Amazon USA: [Link]
Amazon UK: [Link]
Goodreads: [Link]

Disclaimer: Thank you to BBNYA, TheWriteReads, and the author for providing me this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review! All opinions are mine.

Most people think the fae are gone. Most people are wrong.

Owen Williams wakes after a horrific car accident to find his wife is dead—and somehow turned into a gryphon—and his kids gone after a home invasion turned horribly wrong. Shattered and reeling, he vows to do whatever it takes to find them.

When a fae scout appears and promises to reunite him with his kids, he doesn’t hesitate before joining her. But she warns him that if he wants to protect his family, he must follow the fae to their city, the hidden haven of Tearmann.

With enemies on the horizon, Owen needs to set aside his fears and take up arms to defend their new home alongside the people he’s always been taught were monsters—or he’ll lose everyone he’s trying to protect

I enjoyed this read a little too much and by the end, found myself ready to jump right into the next book. The writing was engaging and, if I wasn’t so busy or too sleepy to continue, I probably could have finished this book in a single go. I loved all of the characters, especially Owen, the main character. I’ve read a lot of books that star father, but usually there aren’t so many people in the family: a wife and many a son/daughter with a single sibling. Owen’s family is huge compared to that. He’s got him and his wife, their dog Toto, an older son (Arthur) and daughter (Ashley), a pair of twins (Jen and David), and a younger toddler (Dorothy). Right away, I loved the engagement and interaction between this family. We start the book with the family going to grab ice cream together after Ashley’s violin recital and the bickering and warmth made me fall in love immediately with the Williams family.

And then immediately, having known the summary of the story already, my heart already shatters knowing this is probably the last happy night they’re all safe, happy, and together. As they get ready to leave the ice cream shop, Tiffany collapses in agony with a splitting headache and Owen instructs his oldest son to grab the kids and head home first while he tries to get his wife to the hospital. On the way there, Tiffany undergoes a change, in which a human becomes a fae, and then Owen crashes the car. It’s the last thing he remembers until he wakes in the hospital, his wife declared dead, and when he gets home there’s blood and his children are missing. In a single night, Owen’s life is changed forever and he immediately sets out to look for his missing children.

The story is really interesting and I really enjoyed the twist of history and lore. The world is much like our own with the exception that the fae showed up fifty years prior, went to war with the U.S. after realizing they were being experimented on, and then isolated themselves in havens post-war. There hasn’t been a change, like Tiffany’s, in the last five years and Owen can barely believe it when the nurse tells him that his wife was in the process of this change when she died due to injuries during this vulnerable state.

The world-building here was great and the fae is such an interesting concept. When I think of the fae, I think of fairy-like creatures. Here, they’re not fairies, but rather the collective name for a number of mythological or folklore creatures including shades, werewolves, centaurs, gryphons, harpies, trolls, harpies, vampires, dragons, and so on. A werewolf is a fae but so is a vampire. Usually, they’re just called supernatural creatures, but here that given name would be the fae and that was a neat twist. When Owen eventually lives amongst the fae in their havens, he becomes a sort of audience surrogate and as he learns all about the fae, so do the readers. I really enjoyed reading every little small detail (which says a lot because I generally don’t care for supernatural/mythological plots).

Character-wise, we eventually see the children again and a lot of the story revolves around Owen’s struggle with not just trying to raise his children while the entire family is still hurting and going through grief and loss, but that it’s a whole new world out there and within his family. His wife being fae meant that his children have a chance to go through the change as well and are all partially fae by birth. The fear of knowing one of his kids may die in the process, much like his wife did, weighs heavily on his mind daily. But, they all eventually settle and attempt to adapt to their new life. You can see how caring and doting of a father Owen is. We constantly see Owen worrying over them or going into full papa bear mode, doing whatever it takes if it means his kids can be safe.

Owen is the character that we get to know the most through the book since we only get his perspective of events, but there are occasionally diary entries of different characters as well including a fae queen. The rest of the Williams aren’t forgotten either by the author. Everyone is unique, although some have stronger and bolder personalities than the others in the family; their “stage presence” is just that much brighter. Besides the Williams, the others in the haven are very interesting as well: the queen, the lords, the daycare werewolf, the guides, and even the neighbors.

Another aspect of this book I really enjoyed was that this was a bit of a slice-of-life read. Sure, the fae and the U.S. are getting closer and closer to war almost every day and throughout the story, the air is heavy with anticipation of this inevitable event. However, much of the book focuses on the every day for the family. Getting to know the new place, learning about the new cultures and new things about each other, making friends, Owen heading off to work or attending meetings, the kids going off to school or hanging with friends, walking through town, celebrating in the cafeteria, and so on. I guess, after all these casual sim games with small towns and farm life, getting to read it as a story makes me kind of giddy.

All in all, Haven was a very enjoyable read. I loved the characters, I adored Owen’s protectiveness, the world-building was top notch and the writing is engrossing. Chapters always felt short and I was just flying through the book. Seeing a larger family in a fantasy book, even if it’s more of an urban fantasy, is refreshing. Family is a major theme here and so are grief and loss. The family grows apart at times and then comes back together again. Many have incredible personal growth and they change physically and mentally by the end. The concept was neat and it was interesting to see how it built and added on the traditional supernatural creatures of lore A great read and I can’t wait to get into the second book.

Ceril N Domace is an accountant, the owner of the feline embodiment of violence, and a dedicated dungeon master. On the rare occasions she manages to free herself from an ever-growing and complex web of TTRPG, Ceril enjoys taking walks and griping that all her hobbies are work in disguise


3 thoughts on “[BBNYA 2022 Finalist Tour] Book Review: Haven by Ceril N. Domace

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