Monday, January 19, 2015
Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
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?
Goodreads | Source: ARC provided by the publisher via BEA in exchange for my honest 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.