The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Stand Alone Book
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Blurb from 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?
I bought this book over the summer, but other books kept getting in the way, so now I finally finished it! I decided it would be a good book to review for the Halloween holiday season, plus last week I listed my top five faeries, which included Kaye from Holly Black’s older book series. Which is actually why I bought this book in the first place, because I love Holly Black!
The book itself was really good, although I did feel more connected to the characters in Tithe: A Modern Fairy Tale (her other faerie book). The people in The Darkest Part of the Forest were extremely diverse, which I think is fabulous.
Hazel and Ben are siblings, raised by artsy hippy parents. Ben is a hopeless romantic, while Hazel just kind of goes with the flow. She has a crush on her brother’s best friend, Jack, but never wants to act on it. Jack is a changling, and that’s what makes Fairfold special, humans and the fae live together peacefully (or as peaceful as they can).
In the middle of the forest, is a glass casket with a beautiful sleeping boy. He brings in a lot of tourism into the town. The locals are also in love with him, which is my favorite part of the story. Hazel and Ben began calling him their prince when they were children and in love with him.
“Back then, it hadn’t seemed weird to have the same imaginary boyfriend as her brother. They were in love with him because he was a prince and a faerie and magical and you were supposed to love princes and faeries and magic people.” -pg. 59
As teenagers they still love him of course, but I like this book because they are forced to come head to head with reality and see him for who is truly is, not their beloved prince.
Like I said, the book is really diverse, and for some reason I totally dig a love triangle between a brother, sister and another boy. I can’t be the only one sick of a girl trying to choose between two brothers or vice versa. Give me something original!
As per usual Holly Black’s writing is on point. I love how she describes events:
“Hazel thought she saw the branches shift above her, like fingers, but when she looked again, all she saw were shadows.” -pg 16
“We love until we do not. For us, love doesn’t fade gradually. It snaps like a branch bent too far.” -pg 203 Severin to Ben
As someone who really likes romance, I did kind of feel like the love lines in this book were weak. However, it is a stand alone book, so it’s understandable that they came across as rushed.
Overall, it was a really entertaining read. Hazel is a strong female character, who has her imperfections, but she tries, and that’s all that matters. All of the other characters, especially her brother, Jack and the Faerie prince were all really great too.
I loved reading about their relationships, as friends and more. Plus the writing was superb, so if a weak romance bothers you, read it for the writing, and the friendships.
Overall Rating: 4.7 hearts out of five