Saturday, March 7, 2015

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 13, 2015

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'm truly not sure what I expected of this novel.  Whatever it was, Black delivered so much more.  I love love loved the lore behind this book.  Faeries and fae, not necessarily all evil (okay maybe some are) but they don't generally get along with humans.  This was a really fun and interesting read.

I really like that this is a fantasy novel set in the real world.  Many readers have not been exposed to the fantasy genre.  Novels like this make a great starter (rather than trying to figure out a new world with a million different creatures and strange names and places...).  Okay yeah so my sister hasn't read any fantasy novels and I think this would be a great place for her to start.  When I was trying to describe how they usually work ("like Middle Earth, you know?") all I was rewarded with was more confusion.

Genre aside, I love (as usual) that The Darkest Part of the Forest has some kind of small love story to it.  It is pretty evident from the beginning of the story that spoiler Jack likes Hazel.  So I was glad that near the end of the book it finally went somewhere. Also, "I am not trying to dishonor your sister, although it is possible that I am hoping to have sex with her."  That line, so funny. End spoiler  
Throughout the book, I found Ben a little annoying.  Probably because we find out what Hazel had to do for him to get in to music school and he gives it up after one incident.  He also seems kind of whiny.  But he has his moments when he becomes a stronger character and saves the day.

One of my favorite things about this book is reading Black's perspective on the Fair Folk (i.e. fae, faeries, etc).  I mentioned this above, I know.  But it is something that I just adore in books, mainly because points of view can differ so completely from author to author and from book to book.  The basics seem to be agreed upon.  So what does it mean in any specific book when someone eats faerie food?  Well apparently it's quite hilarious in The Darkest Part of the Forest.  Are all fae creatures evil?  Can some be good?  Are they warrior people?  Do they all have magic?  It's amazing how many versions of the fae are in the written word.

But seriously, don't ever eat faerie food.

All in all, I loved the rich text.  The flashbacks created a wonderful picture of how Hazel and Ben were in their childhood and how they became to be who they are.  They were a tad confusing at first, but soon they became absolutely essential and I loved every minute of them.

What did I think? Overall this is one of my favorite reads so far.  It has a very simple plot for a fantasy novel.  And I think it would work very well for someone who would like to just start out in the genre.  It's extremely realistic considering it's about faeries.  I will definitely be reading this book again.

No comments:

Post a Comment