I went to BEA in May and picked up this book. I even got to meet Holly Black.
Look how cool her hair is! She was just wonderful to meet and I couldn’t wait to devour her book! If you’ve been to BEA then you know that you receive tons of books. So the book went with a pile of other books that I slowly read. I finally picked this beauty up to read and it was great.
Take a look at the book.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 13, 2015)
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 has written many books. The thing about her writing is that it differs in each series and books she writes. Her style changes with the story. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a dark fairy tale full of mystery and some romance. Holly does a wonderful job setting up the book but I was expecting more.
The setting takes place in Fairfold, a strange town that reminds me of Portland. It’s a town full of monsters, magical creatures and the faeries. The townsfolk have grown accustom to all this but the tourist that come to town, well they sometimes disappear. Because there are rules to follow when it comes to the faeries. They aren’t nice. They don’t say “thank you” when it comes to helping them. People disappear or go crazy when they run into them. The strange thing about the town is a sleeping boy with horns is encased in glass in the woods. His ears are pointed and he has this inhuman beauty that draws people nationwide. He’s popular among the townsfolk and tourists. Especially with Hazel and Ben.
Hazel and Ben live with hippy like parents who care more about their art than them. At a young age the siblings liked to play heroes, knights saving the world. Ben could use his music to stop any monster in their tracks. Hazel was a knight, skilled with the sword. They vanquished monsters for the boy with horns and both had feelings for him. Everyone did. But one day Ben wants to stop playing and Hazel makes a deal with the faerie to help him. But deals come with prices in regards to faeries. She has to give seven years of her life to them.
Soon fairies attack the town and the boy with horns wakes up. Hazel receives a message that it’s time to pay her debt and one morning she wakes up with dirty feet not knowing where she had been. So Hazel and Ben search for the lost prince with horns. Another character is Jack, a changeling that was taken in by a human family. He starts to act strangely when things begin to get dangerous and he’s very protective of Hazel. So begins the adventure of the boy with horns, a monster destroying the town and a girl who wants to save her brother and must deal with her debt to the faeries.
The characters fell a little short for me. I didn’t care as much about them. Ben is gay and what a wonderful thing to have a character part of the story with no stereotypes. Holly did a wonderful job with him. Hazel is strong and independent but everything she does is for Ben. Jack is inhuman but wants to be human because he loves his human family. The Prince has his own agenda. I just didn’t feel a strong connection to them. If something bad happened to the characters I didn’t feel unsettled.
Knights, especially a girl knight, faeries and monsters bring this fairy tale to life. Holly does a wonderful job describing the setting and introducing all the characters. Her words flow smoothly and I couldn’t turn the page fast enough.Though I did find the beginning to be a little slow. There’s a good hidden mystery that could be easily solved. The set up of romances was a little short leaving me wanting more. Overall it wasn’t a bad read.
Should you read it? Yes. Give it a try. What I didn’t like might appeal to you. It was a unique story full of faeries and magic.
About the author Holly Black:
Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award and for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. Her new books are The Darkest Part of the Forest, a return to faerie fiction, and The Iron Trial, the first book in a middle grade fantasy series, Magisterium, co-authored by Cassandra Clare. Holly currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.
Love Tawney Twin