Friday, April 17, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black Review

"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?"

The Darkest Part of the Forest is another book written by Holly Black. Her Modern Faerie Tales series is really good, and I find The Darkest Part of the Forest to be a mixed of positives and negatives. I don't know if The Darkest Part of the Forest is part of a series or not (it could be), but it is a great standalone.

The Darkest Part of the Forest is YA Paranormal. Those who love Faeries (no matter what their physical traits are) will most certainly enjoy this book. But let's start breaking into the positives and negatives (I'm making two sections, because I feel like it).

The Positives:

Hazel is a character, who pretends to be a knight in her childhood dreams. She is one of the three main characters (well, there is actually four, but let's not get into that). Hazel doesn't care much about her life, and she knows that the Folk (Faeries) are real. Hazel's actions in her childhood is part of that catalyst of this book, and it is really interesting to watch her learn the truth about her town and the Faeries. Watching her become different and more of a knight is part of the journey. 

Despite being told from multiple POVs, I manage to stay afloat and not be confused. Holly Black manages to not be terribly confusing by writing in third person with shifting POVs (without declaring them forthright). I'm impressed by how Black is able to keep them all straight and neat. 

The romance between certain characters is extremely well-written (and even heart-throbbing at parts), but I'm not going to point out which specific romance (because spoilers!). 

The plot is strong and it manages to be quite entertaining. For the most part, it remains consistent and it is delightfully quick. But...

The Negatives:

...the plot fumbles at certain points of the book. It isn't what I expected from Holly Black, but she does recover from the bumps well. 

Faeries are definitely one of the crazier creatures to write about. Right is down. Down is left. And the world spins in the wrong direction. I wish Holly Black's world building is a bit better, because some information are left unsaid (or implied). 

Overall, The Darkest Part of the Forest is a rather entertaining book that will definitely please those who love Faeries and trickery. Most of the characters are great, and the mystery (sort of mystery) remains quite a puzzle to solve. Some parts are disappointing while others go far and beyond. 

Rating: Three out of Five

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