Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: January 13th 2015
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Family, Fantasy & Magic, General, LGBT, Love & Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
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 was really excited for this book, and it definitely did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded my expectations, which is saying something considering the very high standards I have for Holly Black’s books. So this review should really be called, “how many different words can Rachel think of that mean amazing?” I daresay a lot, and yes, I am going to use all of them.
The Darkest Part of the Forest is told in third person and mainly follows Hazel, a high school girl who lives at the edge of a magical wood. Hazel is a realistic, likable character– she is brave, loyal, and occasionally doesn’t think things through as much as she should. Her brother, Ben, is also a very realistic and fascinating character and was definitely my favorite character to read about (this may or may not be mainly because of the LGBT representation, which Black is great at by the way). Ben was given the ability to play Faerie music as a baby, and it is interesting to watch how his “gift” becomes the conflict around which every decision made in his family revolves, and the way he deals with it. There are also some fairly central secondary characters, who are also all excellently written but I will spare you my overzealous descriptions of how awesome they all are and move on to plot.
Unlike some of Black’s other Faerie books, the plot of Darkest Part of the Forest was equally as captivating as the characters and had twists and everything. There was a moment when I thought there was going to be a huge plot hole, but it worked itself out and everything was fine (phew!). There were also lots of flashbacks, which I personally love, though I know they annoy some other people.
I don’t usually care very much about the romance in books, especially when love triangles are insinuated (this book had a close miss with one, but it sort of helped us understand Hazel and Ben’s relationship better, so it was actually good) but I thought that all of the relationships, both romantic and otherwise, were done very well and actually hooked my emotions, which is a rare but lovely thing.
*persuasive author pimping voice* Basically just read this because it is my favorite Holly Black book that I have read to date, and Holly Black is amazing and writes amazing books. Alright, I think I have made my point; so I’m out. *end persuasive author pimping voice*