Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on December 9, 2014
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
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?
The Darkest Part of the Forest is a book that I have been dying to read for a long time. And a lot of that had to do with the cover. I still sometimes get lost just looking at it. I love it that much. Plus, I was really loving the fact that this book is a standalone. And I did end up liking the book…just…not as much as I thought I would. Now, I haven’t read too many reviews for the Darkest Part of the Forest so I have no idea whether I will be in the minority or majority, but I will attempt to convey my kind of confused relationship with this book.
I absolutely LOVED the way the book started and the way the book ended. In kind of an anonymous third person narrative that felt like the start of a fairy tale narration. “deep in the middle of the forest, there was a boy…” That kind of thing. But it was very well done at grabbing your attention right off the bat. I really wanted to know what the deal was with the sleeping boy. I was pumped, this was going to be such a cool story. But then it got a little bumpy from there. And don’t get me wrong, it still was a cool story. But within the first few chapters, a lot is thrown at the reader. Names, and things, and concepts that you just have no idea what they mean or what they are. It is a lot to get at once. And I get that this was a special kind of town, where things were never really normal. I liked the concept of the town. Humans mixed with fairies and creatures in the forest. It reminded me of the Hansel and Gretel: witch hunters movie or Grimm Brothers movie.
Holly Black did a great job with the setting and scenery descriptions in the story. I felt like I could really picture the town of Fairfold and the forest creatures, but I had a bit of trouble connecting with the characters. The pacing seemed off in that regard. Sometimes I felt like the story was going by too fast with not enough detail and sometimes I was just plain bored while reading. I could never fall into my reading stride, where time ceased to exist and I could read for hours and have it feel like minutes. I felt all of the minutes and hours it took me to read The Darkest Park of the Forest.
The underlying story plot, with the monster within the forest was the most interesting part of the story. That and Hazel’s “hunting”. Both of those things were the reasons why I wanted to keep reading The Darkest Part of the Forest. I loved the background information on the monster and I loved the way all of the secondary characters and villains connected and came together. The story reveals itself all in due time and for that I was grateful. I thought the tale that Holly Black told was a creative one, but the pacing was a miss for me and made it hard for me to completely fall in love with this book. But I can see a ton of people loving the world that Holly Black has created here, and loving the twisted creatures of Fairfold. So, if you like the Fairfolk and you like dark, but not really so dark undertones to the story, then The Darkest Part of the Forest is the book for you!
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