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?
Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: January 13th, 2015
After reading and loving The Cruel Prince, I wanted to try out another Holly Black book. This one certainly didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to read more books from her!
In the town of Fairfold, there is a horned fey prince in the woods, asleep within a glass casket. For years, people have been visiting him, partying around him, and speaking to him. Then, one day, he wakes up. As faerie mischief becomes more egregious, siblings Hazel and Ben must team up with the mysterious horned boy to save their town.
The Darkest Part of the Forest takes place in the same world as The Cruel Prince, as well as some of her other books. Our own mortal world is mixed in with the magical realm of Faerie, which exists on a different plane. This makes for a unique combination of normal and magical.
This story is atmospheric, haunting, and dark. The fantasy is blended in well enough with the realistic aspects that the inclusion of magic isn’t at all jarring. The characters are all endearing in their own way. You have the strong and brave Hazel, her adorable and slightly insecure brother Ben, their changeling friend Jack, and the mysterious fey prince Severin.
The romantic inclusion in the story is cute, but a little rushed. I loved the connections with the two pairings, and wished that a little more time was spent building the relationships. I wouldn’t call it insta-love, but just a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes that I would have liked to read about.
I also felt like the action scenes were a little lacking in depth. There was a huge focus on backstory, to the point where I felt like it almost bogged the story down, and the climax and resolution all felt crammed into the ending. The characters would do something great, but then the story seemed to instantly move on without giving the reader time to absorb what happened.
Also, I just want to say, I hate Ben and Hazel’s parents. It was established that they were very neglectful of both of their children from the time they were very young, and even though Hazel claims her parents “grew up”, I don’t think that level of neglect is redeemable. Seriously, they let Ben and Hazel stay out all night in the cold as young children and eat out of dog bowls. Not okay.
All in all, I really enjoyed this story. I can’t wait to read more great books from Holly Black!