Book Review: ‘The Darkest Part of the Forest’ by Holly Black

Posted in Book Reviews
on March 28, 2017

Dear Reader,

I came to love Holly Black after reading the Spiderwick Chronicles and I later loved the Modern Faerie Tales series too. The way in which Black combines mythology and faerie tales is enticing. It’s something that has only added full to the fire with my own personal love of the Fae world. So, after seeing this floating about the Bookstagram world (and it being payday) I decided to buy it.

  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • Paperback Edition – 331 pages 
  • Release Date: 19th January 2016
  • Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN: 031621308X
  • Goodreads page for the novel here

Blurb:

In the woods is a glass coffin. It rests on the ground, and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives….

Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side. Tourists drive in to see the lush wonders of Faerie and, most wonderful of all, the horned boy. But visitors fail to see the danger.

Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake.

Until one day, he does….

As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be. But as she’s swept up in new love, with shifting loyalties and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?[blurb from Goodreads].


My Review:

So, you all know how I loooooooveeee a good epigraph. Well, Black does not disappoint. Firstly, I was expecting big things since I am a major Holly Black fan. But sadly, I’m not sure it utterly delivered for me.

This is a very magical tale, about Hazel and her brother, Ben, and their love for a horned young prince who, like Snow White, is cursed within a glass coffin. The town in which they live in, Fairfold, is riddled with the Fair Folk. Even though everything is seen as a tourist attraction, the tourists know the faeries are real, as well as their mischief, but it still keeps them coming. Even though I loved the town of Fairfold ,with its strangeness and weird happenings, it just didn’t do it for me. It felt completely unrealistic. I wanted to compare it to the past series she has done and I like the fact, in the past, the Fae have been separated from humans to a degree. However, here their was no separation and the fact the town just thought everything was completely normal that the tourists might die from time to time horrified me. The worlds just seemed too crossed for me.

I was also expecting darker tones. Don’t get me wrong, it is a dark fantasy. But, to me, it just didn’t feel like the Holly Black I’ve read before. Even with these qualms I have I still found myself loving this book. I mean who couldn’t love a book written by Holly Black?

So, after my slight rant, I’ll try convince you of all the positives. The first is that Black’s writing is on point. It’s so beautifully written its hard not to love it. The lyrical nature of her writing is just so enticing. It becomes magical in itself. Which makes you want to read more. The characters are also beautifully written, it was hard not to love Hazel or Ben. For me, I loved that this was not just another hetrosexual love story. There is diversity! And, within a fantasy novel, I love this.

The character who stole the show for me though was Jack. I love the stories of changelings and the fact that his was so integrated into the plot made my heart leap. Jack was the character who stole my heart. I would be happily whisked off to Faerie with him. I also liked the idea of being an outsider, I know this has been done a thousand times before, but it was great to see from his perspective as a changeling. And also the comparisons with Hazel herself.

Finally, I LOVED the ending. It was incredibly bittersweet and even though there were parts of this novel I didn’t like, I am saddened that it is a standalone. But, what can I say? Holly Black breaks hearts and mine was certainly broken.


If you have any questions or would like to contact me please email me at imogen.thompson96@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Love,

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