The Darkest Part of the Forest – Book Review

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Paperback: 324 pages
Published: February 5th 2015 by Indigo
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): 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 centre 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?

My initial reaction to this book is that it is very simple.

The idea is good, and parts of it are interesting, but for me, this book is under-developed. This could be because I’ve literally just finished ACOMAF which is also about fae and is twice the size of this book, but I think the fault lies in the plot.

The book feels rushed, and I feel a little cheated. There are so many storylines that could have been explored further – Jack and his mother, Hazel’s other life, Ben’s music, the whole thing with Molly etc.
They were tied up badly, and the book felt…bland.

There were good parts, don’t get me wrong. Firstly, representation: Ben is gay and he also gets a happy ending, so I mean, that’s pretty good. I also loved the fact that Hazel becomes a knight, and gender roles become blurred into non-existence.

The Alderking was a pretty poor villain, as villains go. He didn’t seem to do much, aside from sit on his throne and rule. He was weak and didn’t feel like that much of a threat if I’m being honest.

Severin, whom I thought was going to be the novel’s main focus, ends up with maybe five scenes, I think? He faded into the background to make way for Hazel and Jack’s love story (which I found quite cute, actually) and just…he was there. He acted as he should and did everything that was expected of him, which made most of the plot predictable.

Hazel, as far as protagonists go, wasn’t insufferable. She’s not one of my all-time-favourites, but I do like her and find her compelling enough to read. Her thought processes were a little bizarre at times, but she was decent enough.

Jack was probably my favourite, because he is a real sweetheart. If Hazel wasn’t the knight, then he certainly would be.

Ben was also an interesting character, as he wants the same things as Hazel, but goes about the situations differently, which is what also caused some tension in the book.

To be honest, I actually quite liked all of the characters, alongside the first couple of chapters – after that, the plot just declines into a half-baked mess.

Some people love this book, but I think it just wasn’t for me. Thoughts?

Holly xx

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