[Review] The Darkest Part of the Forrest

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author:Holly Black
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Fantasy, Faeries
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Source: eARC received from publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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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?

Holly Black is the queen of the Fae, she has been writing in this genre for as long as I can remember and she does it very well. The Fae are a very interesting topics for YA books, and one that had become more popular over the past few years. I think the reason there are so many books dedicated to this topic is because so many different versions of the same people can be told. It will always be different and yet the readers will always flock to it. But sadly for me, this book felt flat.

I am usually really interested in weird books that have to do with Fae because it usually makes for good mystery, but this time it was just too out there for me. I felt myself growing more and more distant from the main character and I couldn't connect with them on any level. Were there times where I did? Sure, but they were few and far between and not enough for me to hold stake in what happened to them in the end. Mt lack of connection to the main characters and the town itself made it very hard for me to keep reading this book. I read what was happening but for me it didn't mean much. I wish I had connected more because I know that if I had the mystery element and the actions of the characters would have had a completely different impact on the story for me.

Now the one thing that I really liked about this book was the way it was written. It was so different from many other YA books that I had read last year and it made the element of the Fae seem that much more real within its pages. The writing was strong yet whimsical and that made for a very different reading experience for me. I fell in love with Holly's writing in this book because it held up to another standard. It was more advanced than many books and the way the writing matched the story perfectly was brilliant. It was as if I was reading a folk tale being told by an elder. That was my favorite part of this book. No one but Holly Black could have written this kind of book, and although it was not one of my favorites, I still will read any of her book because she sure does know how to write fantasy.

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