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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

bookreview Rating:image description
Title:The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author:Holly Black
Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:January 13th 2015

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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 pointy 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 and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

I received an ARC of this novel from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are solely mine and I was not compensated for this review.

This was the first Holly Black book that I have ever read and quite frankly, it left me feeling so confused and unsure how to approach reviewing it. On one hand, it was remarkable and contained many gripping elements but on the other hand, there were aspects which could have been explored more and done better. I have separated this review into two sections; the first being the things that I enjoyed about this novel and the second being all the things that I did not quite enjoy.

  • The writing style and breath-taking imagery. Holly Black has a way with words, one that sucks you in and makes you feel and see what the characters are seeing. I found that she was able to convey central themes and concerns in the story in a very quaint and almost romantic way, usually with the use of very lavish and beautiful descriptions. It added a lot to the novel, I think, because I've never read a fey book before and I don't think I would have been able to imagine half of the happenings of this novel without her help.
  • The relationship between Hazel and Ben.The relationship that existed between the two protagonists, Hazel and Ben, was very...interesting. It was delightful to read about as it was so pure and filled with love and I thought that it was fitting that the entirety of the conflict in the novel stemmed from a deal Hazel made with a faerie in order to secure something that Ben wanted.

  • The sudden love that exploded between Hazel and Jack. Granted, I don't believe that it was insta-love because at the beginning of the novel, it was hinted that she had liked him since they were children but I did not feel it. There was no development of their feelings towards each other. Honestly, one day Jack said that he liked Hazel, they made out and just like that, they're madly in love. There was no emotional depth to their romance and because of this, it was unnecessary to the overall progress of the story.
  • The flashbacks in the story.I guess they were information-fillers at different points in the novel and helped me to understand certain things but at the same time, they altered the vibe of the book to a great degree. They made the characters seem younger than they really were...because there were a LOT of flashbacks! Sometimes, I'd have to stop midway during reading and remind myself that these characters were 16 and 17 and not 11 & 12. Nothing against middle grade books, I love them to death but it was not my expectation to read a middle grade book when I picked this up.
  • The crappy and cheesy af ending! Seriously, The Darkest Part of the Forest takes the cake for vague and suspenseful endings which would be totally fine if the book had a sequel! Which it doesn't! So, we the readers, are left with a boatload of unanswered questions which leads me to ask myself "Why, just why?". It was basically a story without a conclusion. Basically. And it pissed me off so much! I can't even! When I can't even, it means that there are no words for how upset this "ending" made me!

There some enjoyable moments in The Darkest Part of the Forest but for the most part, it sucked for me which means that I've still never read a GOOD faerie book. I gave this novel 1 and a half cupcakes because I hated it but...not completely. I think that if you own the book, you should give a go but I wouldn't personally recommend it to anyone.

Final Sentence in the Novel
There, a prince of the Folk takes up the mantle of king and embraces a changeling like a brother; with a human boy by his side, he names a girl his champion.

Favourite Lines from the Book
  • “Normal people think they're happy because they're too dumb to know any different." - Mr. Evans
  • Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice.
  • Destruction made it ordinary.
  • Once, normal had been a heavy, smothering blanket she feared being trapped beneath. But now, normal felt fragile, as though she could unravel it all just by teasing out a single thread.
  • She shook her head, equally baffled. "I think you impressed him by the sheer force of your stupidity. How did you find me?" - Hazel Evans
  • Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies.
  • "I love you," Severin said, looking up, looking at nothing at all. "I love you like in the storybooks. I love you like in the ballads. I love you like a lightning bolt. I've loved you since the third month you came and spoke with me. I loved that you made me want to laugh. I loved the way you were kind and the way you would pause when you spoke, as though you were waiting for me to answer you. I love you and I am mocking no one when I kiss you, no one at all" - Severin