Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
*Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy. This in no way affects my opinion or review*
This book was definitely one of a kind, but I’m really struggling to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing in this case. I had trouble getting into the novel, since the story was slow but there were a few parts (like the stellar world-building) that I loved.
I never really bonded with the main character, Hazel. She constantly made rash and impulsive decisions that just left me wondering what she was thinking! She grew up a bit in the end, but by then it was too late for me. I’m sure that oodles of people will love her anyways, but I just never connected with Hazel.
Her brother, Ben, was much more interesting to me. Including the fact that he attended an arts school for a while (hey, how cool!), I thought he was overall a much more fleshed-out character.
I have to give it to Holly Black though: she can write really well. At first, I wasn’t sure where the novel was set. There was modern technology, high school, and…faeries? I wasn’t certain but quite frankly, I didn’t care. I was intrigued by her writing style, and I wanted to learn more about these faeries and their magical abilities. This is something that was explored really well, and I’d love to read another faerie book by this author.
Speaking of which, the world Holly Black has created is absolutely spectacular. The town of Fairfold would have been a regular town, except for the faeries. They’re completely heartless, and they can kill a human without a second thought. I was utterly terrified of them while reading, and once I met them, I couldn’t help but want to learn more.
One of the things I’ve heard a lot about is Holly Black and her plot twists, so I couldn’t help but be excited for the one in The Darkest Part of the Forest. After all, this is a book about faeries and fighting and magic! So many possibilities! When it came though…I wasn’t really shocked. It made sense to me, and I just didn’t feel the “wow” factor that I’ve heard people rave about. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t heard the build up.
The romance did play a prominent role in this book. Hazel and Jack were similar, and I thought they were okay together. Ben and Severin were compatible enough. I had nothing against either of the couples, but I felt rather “meh” about the romance as a whole.
Meh is a pretty good way to describe my feelings about this novel. There were parts I liked, parts I disliked, but I didn’t have any strong opinions either way. If you enjoy dark fantasy or have read anything by Holly Black previously, then you might want to try this. I would love to hear if you find something I missed and we can compare opinions. I really enjoy rereading a book with a new perspective.