Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

tumblr_njn5luO0PI1sefywro1_400The Darkest Part of the Forest

Holly Black

4/5 Stars

Release Date: January 13, 2015

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Reader

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

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?

Review:

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a beautifully crafted work. With faeries and knights, it can really be compared to a fairy tale. I love how detailed the world and its creatures were; it brought out a desire to experience it firsthand. I like the way Arthurian legends were incorporated into the book so that Hazel and her brother Ben were truly living them. It was really ingenious!

The town. I like how Fairfold is privy to the Fae’s activities, knowing they exist and not just playing the part of superstitious townsfolk. At this point, I was curious of the world outside Fairfold – whether it too was like this. It seems my wish was granted. When Hazel experiences a life outside of Fairfold, she realizes not all towns are like this one – monsters and magic exist simply for children.

For the most part, the reader experiences this world through Hazel’s eyes, but the POV does change. Although I noticed the change in personalities, their voices did not stand out individually. This was one of the few flaws I had with the book.

Hazel goes through a lot of character development. She is engaged in an internal battle with herself. She keeps a lot of secrets from her friends and family, and her struggles with this make her very real. I like how when her bad decisions get her into trouble, she realizes it when it’s too late. I was able to connect with this part of her and even though I didn’t like her in the beginning, she really grew on me.

Overall, Holly Black has created this perfect blend of story-telling – one that I love reading. This is the first work I’ve read of the author and definitely plan to read her other works – having fallen in love with the way she spins magic and ink together.

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