Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Little Brown
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Rating: 4/5 

Cover Impressions: Pretty, pretty, pretty.  The appearance of moss and leaves taking over the cover is very fitting for this novel.  I love how the title is almost carved out of the greenery. 

The Gist:
Hazel and her brother, Ben, grew up fighting fairies.  The creatures that inhabit the woods in Fairfold are not the gentle sprightly creatures of Disney fame but the much darker versions who are more likely to drag you to your death than to sprinkle you with fairy dust.  The tourists who flock there to see the horned boy in the glass coffin have always been fair game for the folk but they have mostly left the native inhabitants alone - until now.  When Hazel wakes one morning covered in mud and glass she learns that the boy has finally awoken and, with no memory of the preceding evening, she must discover her role in his disappearance and why a dark and sinister force is now terrorizing the town. 

To borrow a phrase from BookRiot, this is total genre kryptonite.  I have a real weakness for books that feature towns that are a little bit magical.  I especially love with the townsfolk behave as if everything is normal.  The fairies in this novel are very similar to the ones I learned about growing up in Newfoundland.  Those good folk were not to be trifled with.  They were tricksters who could offer you the world but would ask a price you would soon regret.  There were to beings to be respected at all costs.  In fact, when berrypicking back home I still carry bread in my pockets and avoid liminal times like dusk in order to prevent being fairy led.  The fairies in The Darkest Part of the Forest skate that thin line between magical and terrifying (some landing more on one side than the other). 

There are a myriad of magical and non-magical characters who are interesting and complex.  Hazel is a great main character who puts on a strong facade but is beautifully broken underneath.  She is headstrong and independent, never relying on somebody else to save her.  I loved her brother, Ben and was especially happy that while the girl in this situation was the fearless fighter while the boy was the more emotional of the two.  There are also some great side characters who have their own dark secrets.  

The novel features flashbacks that explains more about her life growing up in this strange and often terrifying town with parents who barely noticed that she or her brother were alive.  The novel features a good story but, unfortunately, there is nothing really surprising or mind-blowing.  I would have loved to have a few surprises in the plot. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Sex:  Kissing
Violence:  Swordplay, Knifeplay, Death by supernatural means
Inappropriate Language: Bastard, Piss
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking
Other Issues: Neglectful Parents


Post a Comment