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.

21 Comments on Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

  1. Azee Myu
    January 7, 2015 at 12:44 am (2 years ago)

    By the synopsis from goodreads, I already know I won’t like it. It just smells romance-y to me. Also, the part where there’s a guy living in a glass coffin in the middle of the woods? Talk about being creepy. How did the two sisters love him anyway? Weird… No surprise that you don’t like this book.
    The Book Ponderer

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm (2 years ago)

      I was quite excited for it! I don’t read many dark stories, so I really wanted to love this one. Unfortunately, we just didn’t hit it off.

  2. Fari @My Little Corner of Books
    January 7, 2015 at 12:48 am (2 years ago)

    Meh? Uh…

    I was actually looking forward to this book but very, very cautiously. The synopsis sounded pretty unique and spectacular. I’ve been hearing mixed things but I’m still going to try it.

    Great review! Great it wasn’t terrible but hope your next read is much better!
    ~Fari 0:)
    PS Do I spy a new blog set-up? (well, kind of, everything’s now on the right!) 😀
    Fari @My Little Corner of Books recently posted…Review: Atlantia by Ally CondieMy Profile

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:28 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m glad you’re still going to read it! Maybe we could compare thoughts? Also: yes to a new blog set-up! I’m getting a new design soon, and I’m just slowly moving things over to the position they’re going to be in. You’re the first on who noticed.

  3. Joy // Joyousreads
    January 7, 2015 at 12:54 am (2 years ago)

    i’m not much of a faerie fan, but since this one’s written by holly black, i might give it a go. shame, you didn’t quite enjoy it, though.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[475]: Saga Volume 4My Profile

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm (2 years ago)

      Faeries sound so cool! I think you should definitely try it, at least.

  4. Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer
    January 7, 2015 at 1:34 am (2 years ago)

    You know, I’ve never read anything by Holly Black before. I really should. I think I’ll probably start with this one, because it’s the novel of hers I’m most interested in. Also I love the sound of the worldbuilding; in books I find that quite important to me. A bit of a shame about the romance, though, and it sounds like you had really mixed thoughts on this book. Thanks for the review! 🙂
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels For 2015My Profile

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm (2 years ago)

      This was my first HB read too. The world-building was awesome, so I hope that you end up reading it anyways.

  5. Nikki Wang
    January 7, 2015 at 1:40 am (2 years ago)

    NOOOOOOOOOOO I’m so sorry you didn’t love this book! I HATE IMPULSIVE CHARACTERS. Ugh. And predictability sucks. >.< Although the worldbuilding is intriguing…
    Nikki Wang recently posted…December+January Issue: Read All About ItMy Profile

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm (2 years ago)

      I KNOWWW. Hazel really got on my nerves sometimes, but I like to think that the world-building made up for it. Kind of.

  6. Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination
    January 7, 2015 at 1:56 am (2 years ago)

    I don’t really like dark fantasy, so this doesn’t sound like the book for me. I can see how hype can ruin the plot twists in a book for you. It does that a lot to me, too, but at the same time, if it weren’t for hype, I would not have found so many wonderful books that I love.
    Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Novels For 2015My Profile

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:32 pm (2 years ago)

      Ugh, I feel your pain. Hype is a strange beast. I either love it (it’s the reason I picked up The Selection, which I loved) or hate it. Alas, c’est la vie.

    • Samantha
      January 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm (2 years ago)

      I was REALLY confused for the first couple chapters, but then I figured it out. I still want to try another Holly Black book, though. Maybe I’ll love it?

  7. Anastasia@CuddleReads
    January 8, 2015 at 5:49 am (2 years ago)

    I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black last year and completely fell in love with the author and her writing so I was really excited about The Darkest Part of the Forest to come out. But there trully are a number of people who also think this book as ‘Meh’ so I’ve become a little bit apprehensive… I guess I’ll read it and see for myself!

    Lovely review! Hope you enjoy your next read much more! 🙂

  8. Elizabeth
    January 9, 2015 at 3:08 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve wanted to read a few of her books for a while, but I read Doll Bones and didn’t really like it, so I haven’t picked up one of her other books…I probably should.
    Elizabeth recently posted…What We Can Learn: MusicMy Profile

  9. Olivia
    January 9, 2015 at 7:08 pm (2 years ago)

    I have been meaning to read a book by Holly Black for the longest time because I have heard how amazing her writing style and world building is. It does sound like the originality could be overwhelming for some, though.
    Olivia recently posted…Building Character in Your Story (Guest Post)My Profile

    • Samantha
      January 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

      Me too! I wanted to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but I never really got around to it. Eh.

  10. Valerie
    January 10, 2015 at 3:22 am (2 years ago)

    Hahahah I’m sorry you only felt “meh”! I’m still kind of dubious about reading a book by Holly Black, but I don’t know. I might start with her older ones first!

    Awesome review Sam! I hope your next read is AMAZING.
    Valerie recently posted…Review: Blue Lily, Lily BlueMy Profile

    • Samantha
      January 10, 2015 at 9:17 pm (2 years ago)

      I still think I might try another of her books. Maybe this one was just a fluke for me?


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