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Book Review: The Darkest Part Of The Forest By Holly Black
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The Darkest Part Of The Forest
Paperback | Kindle
Written by Holly Black
Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Release Date: January 19th, 2016 (Paperback)

Hazel has always wanted to be different, feel different – anything but normal. She lives in a different sort of town, where faerie and human live with an understanding of the other. Hell… her brother’s best friend (and her not-so-secret crush) is a changeling, kept by his human mother after his faerie mother brought the real baby back. And she and her brother Ben and the entire town have played and partied around the glass-encased horned sleeping Prince their entire lives. Something is stirring though – more than usual, and not just for the tourists who have always been fascinated and in danger in Fairfold’s, The Darkest Part Of The Forest.

More below about this Holly Black novel.

This book was delightful. And not delightful in the fun, faerie way. This was a dark book, one of battle and vengeance and monsters. The romance of it was a bit Twilight-y, but not as obvious and angsty.

Hazel is a hero, driven by this restlessness. This is refreshing, as well as the plot point that everyone in the novel, including the adults, know of the existence of the Folk, and keep the rituals, prayers, and talismans going in order to live, love, and flourish in this town. Hazel is a hero, but it is only with her musical prodigy brother, the newly awakened gorgeous horned Prince, and changeling Jack’s help, that she can fulfill her heroic quest. There is also a mystery helper in the mix, who ends up being quite the surprise. They must figure out how to stop the wrong, because now town folk are in danger.

This novel, although YA, seems pretty good for all ages. The romance is tame, so younger adolescents can enjoy the descriptive menace of the monsters (especially Sorrow). Adults will like the fast-paced action, and the unique quirkiness of the story, with language that is not leveled down for kids. And teens will love it because it has a bit of everything – terror, romance, action, and a surprise at every turn.

Book synopsis from the publisher:

In the woods is a glass coffin. It rests on the ground, and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives….

Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side. Tourists drive in to see the lush wonders of Faerie and, most wonderful of all, the horned boy. But visitors fail to see the danger.

Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake.

Until one day, he does….

As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be. But as she’s swept up in new love, with shifting loyalties and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

The Darkest Part of the Forest, is the bestselling author Holly Black’s triumphant return to the opulent, enchanting faerie tales that launched her YA career.

The Darkest Part of the Forest Full Cover

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