Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Twistiest Faerie Tale 

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 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?

Rating: 5 Stars

The Darkest Part of the Forest was one of my Most Anticipated Books for 2015. I previously read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and was blown away by Holly Black’s writing style. Having read both of these books, I now see a pattern. Not only does she write beautifully, but she has the ability to draw the reader into the world she creates. Her stories have a dark and twisted element that I must admit I love. I never thought I would be interested in reading a book about fae, but Black’s story had me hooked from the first blurb released for this book.

Black’s fae are beautifully written. She sometimes uses antonyms to describe them, and while that could be confusing, it actually works at providing a full picture. The fae are described to be beautiful, and creepy looking; they cannot lie but they have a way with words, playing a double meaning word game, and they are very cunning; they are peaceful but can be dangerous.

The story focuses on Hazel and her brother Ben, who live in Fairfold, a small strange town where fae and humans live alongside one another. The fae attract tourism, so the town people of Fairfold for the most part are not weary of the fae. However, perhaps they should be…

Hazel and Ben have lived in Fairfold for most of their lives. The small town of Fairfold is tucked away in a forest, which also holds a glass coffin. In the casket sleeps a horned boy, who Hazel and Ben have been in love with since early childhood. They both are very protective of the horned boy and they both like to share their stories with him. For many generations the boy has been a fixture of the forest in the little town of Fairfold. Until one day the coffin is empty. Nobody knows who opened the coffin,  how they managed to do it,  or where the horned boy is. Early in the book we are also introduced to Ben’s best friend, Jack, who is a changeling, but has been raised by a human family.

As the story develops, the town becomes more and more terrified of the faeries, friendships are tested, the bond between Hazel and Ben is tested as more and more secrets they hold come into light, and the peaceful relationship between the fae and humans becomes more strained.

Black’s characters are all flawed and broken in some ways which makes them easier to relate to. She does not shy away from equally highlighting their strengths and their weaknesses. All the characters she focused on are very well developed, making it impossible to pick favorites.

The story is filled with secrets, love, power, magic, and adventure. The underlying question at the core of the book is ‘what sacrifices are you willing to make for those you find worthy’? My only complaint about this book was the length. I did not want it to end as soon as it did; however, the book did offer a very satisfying ending. I found this book to be much darker than your typical young-adult novels, but it is something I came to expect from Holly Black. The combination of modern day with fairy folklore is absolutely fascinating. This is without a doubt one of the best reads of 2015 for me. 

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't have said it better myself! Just amazing. The book was my first Holly Black one and I'm excited to read more now. Such a great fantasy story all wrapped up in one perfect book. Intrigue and darkness oh my.