Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 336 (ARC)
Source: BEA14
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?
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book was weird. There's no other way to put it. It was weird and indescribable and awesome and amazing all at once. So much so that I kind of wish it wasn't a stand-alone. However, that's purely because I want more Severin and I could read about him and his life forever. But I'm getting ahead of myself!

In the forest surrounding Fairfold there is a boy in a glass coffin. This boy is gorgeous even with the horns sprouting at his temples that curl behind his ears. He is a creature of the fae and he has been there for as long as anyone can remember. Enter Hazel and her older brother, Ben. Once best friends, they still talk but nowhere near as much. They both have a crush on the boy in the glass coffin and fantasize about dating him, but when one day the coffin is broken and he begins to run rampant, they both fight to save him before anyone else.

This entire book is told in third person from Hazel's perspective. It's interesting because I didn't feel as if I was lacking anything from the story, but it's easy to feel somewhat disconnected to her, especially in the beginning. Her desire to be the savior of the town after spending her childhood pretending to be a knight is easy to understand, as is her need to kiss a ton of boys, but she's just hard to connect to as a character. I kind of loved her brother way more because he was deliciously complex with his curse of music and funny boyfriend stories. Yes, there's a nice little touch of LGBTQ in this book. And, of course, I love the boy in the glass coffin. So, so, so, so much.

However, just behind Severin my favorite character is Jack. Jack is Ben's best friend that has a crush on Hazel. Hazel has a crush on him, too, but doesn't act on it because she doesn't want to mess up their friendship. So, yes, there's a bit of cliche high school drama in this. Anyway, Jack is a changeling. His human mother figured out he was a fairy child placed in her home to replace her true child when he was still a baby so she summoned Jack's fae mother and tricked her into allowing her to keep both her real child, Carter, and Jack. Now that Jack is a teenager it's beyond interesting to see him struggle to reconcile his fae life with his human life. And, of course, he's a huge suspect when the craziness that is the forest inhabitants in Fairfold begins to haunt the actual town.

All in all, I have to say I enjoyed this one. It wasn't perfect, but it was far from something I didn't like. It was weird, and in this instance the weirdness worked. I wish it was a duology or something because I would read more about the fae and I am still really curious about what happens after the ending despite it wrapping up nicely. Holly Black knows what she is doing in urban fantasy and I can't wait to see what she has for us next. Perfect for fans who love fantasy, fae, and really interesting fae mythology.
 

4 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

13 comments:

  1. YESSSSSSSSS to all of this, although I think I connected a bit more to Hazel then you did. I really loved all of the characters and want more in this world.

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    1. I liked Jack, Severin, and even Ben more than I did Hazel. *shrug* Not to say I didn't like Hazel, I just liked them more.

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  2. I agree that weird is a good word to describe this one! I didn't love it, but I did like it and its weirdness. :)

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    1. There's really no other way to properly explain it!

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  3. I just finished this yesterday and while I was kind of indifferent at first I fell in love with everyone and the story.

    This would have been a fun series but at least it ended on the perfect note.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Yeah. I'm happy it ended on a perfect note, but I do want more of the fae!

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  4. I agree with a lot of your review! I really, really fell in love with this book, particularly the cool sort of medieval vibe the fairy people had, sort of like knights of the round table. Loved it! And yes, Jack was wonderful. :)

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    1. Haha Jack was just...perfection! <3

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  5. This does sound weird but I am intrigued! I've had ups and downs with Holly Black's books but I think this one might just work for me!

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    1. I think this one may work for you, for sure!

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  6. I completely agree with you! It was strange, exciting, and oddly beautiful!

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  7. I haven't read any Holly Black books. But, this one has caught my attention. Thanks for the review. I think I'll pick it up from my local library and give it a chance.

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