Original Title The Darkest Part of the Forest
Published by cbt on April 3, 2017
Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side Tourists drive in to see the lush wonders of Faerie and, most wonderful of all, the horned boy. But visitors fail to see the danger. Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake. Until one day, he does … As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be. But as she´s swept up in new love, with shifting loyalties and fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
This book proofs that very well. A great to look at cover, but a very confusing story that seems to go nowhere.
I had my troubles with it and was asking myself at some point during reading, if this was a joke.
Hazel has secrets. A lot of secrets and all of them are there, because she believes that she must protect her brother from the dangers of the world. And exactly that thinking is the reason why she is now facing the biggest troubles of her young life. The horned boy isn´t what he was supposed to be and Jack – well Jack is a completely different story.
Holly Black is known for some pretty, good fantasy and well written books. At least that was my impression when I read some things about her.
I can´t share that opinion. All the time I was looking for something that I couldn´t find. So, I guess it simply wasn´t there. At least not for me.
No doubt, her fantasy is beautiful and she obviously had some crazy stuff she wanted to write about. But I saw nothing but a confusing story and scenes where I was wondering what they had to do with the rest.
The authors language is quite simple. And she, no doubt, gives the reader a glimpse of what this book could have been. But in the end, it didn´t get beyond average.
Teenagers who assume, but never ask if it is correct what they assume. And that is exactly what gets them into trouble with the Faerie in the first place.
Hazel has the strong believe, that if she acts like a knight and does what she thinks a knight does, she can handle not only her brother’s destiny, but also the destiny of an entire town. How wrong she is with that and what it costs not only her but other families as well, she only sees when it is too late.
But I was impressed to see how she changed the moment she started to understand the situation. How she acted then and what she did to change things. She showed a strong will and that she was, despite the very extraordinary way she and her brother were brought up, a young teenager who knows that not everyone got raised the same way as she did.
A great cover does not make the novel it is wrapped around, a great one. So sadly, this book is not really a hit. And I am not sure if I will read another book by the author at all. Sad, very sad. But for fans of the weird and confusing fantasy, this might be a good choice.
*This book was kindly given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
The original book was published by Little Brown and Company on January 13, 2015.
Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi) and The Modern Faerie Tale series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.