fantasy · lgbtqia · young adult

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the ForestChildren 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 by Holly Black

Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Published: February 2015 by Indigo

Source: Library

Thoughts:

This book had me in the palm of it’s hand from the first crisp, dark and magical chapter. The casual eeriness of the magic that inhabits this slightly dangerous town is on the edge of all things fae. Hazel and Ben’s shared desire to protect one another from any kind of harm is probably the heart of the novel for me. Their sibling relationship felt relatable. I loved that they had their own codes of communication and shared dreams. The intervening gaps in communication that emerge as they grow up and keep individual secrets from one another felt quite realistic too.

One of my favourite characters was Jack – the fae changeling. I love stories about characters on the border of two worlds. I often relate to them on so many levels. It’s also fantastic to read about Jack as a fae character with brown skin. There are some diverse fae characters in the urban fantasy genre (Nalo Hopkinson’s short story – Ours is the Prettiest – comes to mind) but I liked that this reality was present here too. Both Jack’s human and fae families have different outlooks on life but ultimately, share the desire to support him. I appreciated Hazel and Jack’s slow burning romance (though Hazel’s lead up to acknowledging it was easy to predict) but I was won over by the delightful confessions between Ben and Severin when the fae prince enters the scene.

I won’t go into the plot because that is spoiler territory but I have an extremely soft spot for stories which explore curses/spells tied into dreams and desires. The ending is absolutely lovely. I recommend this book to anyone who loves fairytales.

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9 thoughts on “The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

  1. Oh this review makes this book sound amazing! Definitely pushed it way up my TBR. I always love books that manages to explore sibling relationships. Plus dark faeries? Count me in! I’m so happy you enjoyed this one 🙂

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    1. Thanks Aentee! I can’t decide if I liked this one more than The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (they’re both quite different awesome stories) but I’m fast becoming a fan of Holly Black.

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      1. Have you read her Curse Workers series? It’s very good as well 🙂 Gonna go see her in Brisbane?

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      2. I’ve read (and liked) White Cat! I read it a few years ago so I need to re-read before I pick up the sequel. I’m a Sydney-sider but there’s a Hachette event with Holly Black next Monday so I’ll drop by.

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  2. This book has been on my TBR for a year now, and I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to it yet! 😦 I’ve heard nothing by positive things for TDPOTF, so I’m definitely going to pick this one up soon! Holly Black is down in Australia at the moment, and I’ll get to meet her tomorrow so that’s a huge incentive 😉

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    1. Oh my gosh – Are you meeting her at the Hachette blogger’s night? I’ll also be there! I put off reading TDBOTF for so long but I recently saw it at the library. Though I have so many amazing sounding books on my TBR so I understand the wait.

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  3. Aaw, this is such a gorgeous review, Glaiza. You describe is so beautifully and convince me that I need to convince my library to get a copy, or buy a copy myself. You paint a picture of it being a book I fairly well need in my life, and I love that. It sounds gorgeously magical and delightful and unique, and I want desperately to live in this take on fairytales and adventure. IT SOUNDS SO FUN.
    Have you seen the book trailer for it?
    Oh, and are you going to do a recap of the event you went to? I hope it was a lot of fun!

    Again, utterly fantastic review. I was already convinced, but you convinced me in a way that is much more convincing. xx

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    1. Thanks Romi 🙂 I should look up the book trailer! I’ll either write up a recap or recap in the next book club chat. I went into reading this book without hearing much about it but it’s definitely a warm read!

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