I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Darkest Part of the Forest
by Holly Black
YA Fantasy
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

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?


This is a wonderful, fresh take on a dark fairy tale story.  The writing is evocative in it's descriptions which made the setting feel even more lush and haunting.  The idea that a town lives on a fine line of cooperation with a dangerous and powerful group of fae in a time contemporary to ours really sparked my imagination, even as I understood how much of a curse it could be, though it seems so exciting.

The first half or so of the novel did move rather slowly for me however.  The mystery brewing of what is going on, was paced slowly because there was so much to understand about Ben and Hazel and the town.  I think the second half of the story, with it's exciting twists and turns make up for that, as does the heightened atmosphere of the story as it progresses.  I really found it hard to put down the book towards the end.

Hazel and Ben were absolutely wonderful characters to get to know.  Hazel develops into a strong, capable woman, while Ben learns to appreciate himself and gain more self-confidence.   It's a fantastic character arc for the both of them, and I loved how the author gradually develops these characters from weak and flawed to strong and accomplished.  All of the characters in this story seemed well developed, as was the romance which did not overpower the story. While there was an interesting, different sort of love triangle it was perfectly resolved in the end.

With the wonderful world building, writing and characters this was a book that evoked a fairy tale feel, but transcended that with the mystery and the darker aspects of the fae.  This is a slow-burn read that can stay with you for a while after you've finished, and it's definitely worth the read.

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