For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black



20958632Children 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?

Goodreads | Source: ARC provided by the publisher via BEA in exchange for my honest review

Review:
I feel like I should review this book in two separate parts. The first half felt like a disjointed mess of genres – part fairy tale, part fae mythology, part contemporary – which is fine, but it kept jumping jarringly between the three and I couldn’t get a handle on which direction the story was trying to go. If it wasn’t for my overwhelming curiosity about the horned boy sleeping in the glass coffin, I probably would have thrown in the towel.

I’m so glad I didn’t because when it finally does tie everything together, it’s in such a beautiful, original way that is about more than mere mythology or romance.

I really dislike reading about the fae. There are so many rules and trickery that it ends up so twisty that I just don’t give a damn either way. If I ever got captured by the fae. I would rather they just killed me than jump through all those hoops. lol

However, Black’s blend of fairytales and fae mythology worked really well together because The Darkest Part of the Forest is about characters and relationships. About growing up, forgiveness and choices. I loved how she set up what appeared to be a unique love triangle of sorts between a brother and sister and the horned boy but turned it into something complex and beautiful. (& NOT a love triangle!)

Final thoughts: There’s so much more I want to say but it would all be pretty spoilery so if you can make it past the somewhat meandering first half - could be because of my dislike of fae - the second half was really strong with a great blend of action, storytelling and wonderfully written relationships. Both familial and romantic.

And I LOVED that ending.

23 comments:

  1. I like Fae, cos they are tricky ;)

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    1. I never know what's real or not. It annoys me lol

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  2. i found it meh and yes I did enjoy the family aspect of it but this book didn't work for me.

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    1. :-( The family and fairytale stuff was enough to make it work for me.

      I'm kind of surprised you didn't like it more and I did lol

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  3. LOL I'd sure would love to see the fae! I'm curious about this but worried it might be too "young" for me. The horned boy in the glass coffin IS quite the draw that's for sure.

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    1. For some reason I thought this was a mid-grade book going in so it was more mature than I was expecting.

      It's mature - drinking/references to sex/violence but tame in comparison to other YA I guess

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  4. Man, the jumbled beginning sounds rough until everything finally came together

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    1. It has enough interesting things to hook you in and it has such a nice ending.

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  5. Haha fae are definitely tricky I like reading about them and how our MCs are able to overcome their loopholes and lies, but I agree, I'd rather die than put up with that BS. Haha.

    I'm glad you liked this one, I've only read one book by Holly Black so I want more of her darkness!

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    1. I feel like the plots to Fae stories have easy outs sometimes. (or at least the ones I've read) It feels like anything goes and then just blame it on fae behavior/looks etc...

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  6. Well, I'm an ending gal so as long as it comes together I think I would enjoy this one. Thanks for the heads up about the beginning however. This one is on my wishlist!

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  7. Best quote ever: "I really dislike reading about the fae. There are so many rules and trickery that it ends up so twisty that I just don’t give a damn either way. If I ever got captured by the fae. I would rather they just killed me than jump through all those hoops. lol"

    But I still want to read this because I'm a huge Holly Black fan!

    PS Hope you can see your blog again!

    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. I can see my blog!!!! lol

      I think you will like the character dynamics and she does the Fae a little bit differently. She doesn't get so caught up in all the courts and ally hat other crap.

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  8. Oh, I want to read this book so much! I actually really love books about the fae, but I also prefer plots with the twisty ins and outs WAY more than relatively straightforward ones. I'm weird like that. I'd blame Moffat, but I had the issue long before Doctor Who.

    I really want to know what ending you loved so much! Thanks for sharing :)

    Liza @ Classy Cat Books

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    1. Ha! This was an interesting blend of Fae and fairytale. Nice twist!

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  9. I really enjoyed this story with its weird mash-up but definitely agree -- if I had to deal with those damed fairies, I'd give up. Too many hoops. Too much red tape.

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    1. I just feel like nothing is ever real - so why bother lol

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  10. Loving the cover. Definitely a book that appeals to me, its just a shame that the first half sounds rather weak. One of the reasons I see a book through to its final come rain or shine is because I've read so many books like this that begin poorly only to end well.

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  11. Glad it worked for you in the end. Do you think all the messiness of the first half was worth it? Or perhaps another way of putting it, do you think that she wrote it that way intending it to be chaotic and for the second half to clean it up?

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    1. I do think it was worth it. I loved how it all pulled together in the end.

      I don't know that it was messy on purpose - it was more the style of storytelling. For me - it don't work as well int he beginning because as I was trying to get to know that characters she would pull away to fae folklore or a story that didn't make sense at the time. Once you know everyone and the connections it works better.

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  12. I only skimmed this review b/c I do want to read the book, and was afraid of spoilers, but then I saw your disclaimer. At first I thought it might be a sequel to one of her books. I don't know if I'd have the patience to get through the first half however.

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    1. I think you would like it Pam! It's a short book and there's enough intrigue to pull you through.

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