My Rating: 4/5 Stars!
Cover Rating: 10/10
The cover for this novel is gorgeous! I love the shiny gold mixed with the black and white. I also love that each item has some significance to the story. It’s illustrative and beautiful!
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: January 30th, 2018
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
Welcome to Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood―the fiercely stunning New York Times bestseller with seven starred reviews everyone is raving about!
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
Opening Sentence: “Althea Proserpine is raising her daughter on fairy tales.”
The Hazel Wood is fun, eclectic, and full of pieces of oddness and the strange. It is a novel that fits in with stories I love because the stories I love twist reality and folds it to were the nonsensical and the truth collide. That is what I enjoyed most about The Hazel Wood.
What I Liked:
It is not a retelling. The Hazel Wood has stories of its own that it follows. Stories that the brother Grimm would feel proud to include into their arsenal of Grimm tales.
The stories have a cult following. I don’t know why, but when stories have any sort of cult included in them I automatically enjoy it and am fascinated by it all the more. Cults just seem crazy and out there, but when you think about how their are so many in our reality with so many people following them you have to wonder if they are truly crazy after all.
The strange happens slowly. I love it when books sprinkle in the elements of fantasy or strange instead of giving it to you all at once. The Belles is another book that does this very well. It helps the reader get used to what sort of fantasy the book is using, but it also creates a feeling of tension and curiosity in the reader as the story progresses.
I could not trust Ellery Finch. Ellery was a character that we are told in the synopsis that he may have other motives (I’m not going to say much else about him because spoilers) but, he was a character that I really wanted to like, but couldn’t trust and the way he was written was lovely in my opinion.
The actual telling of the stories. I wish I could have read the stories in a separate book all on its own. My favorite parts of the book were immersing myself in the dark tales of The Hinterland. They were fascinating, rich, and full of intrigue.
What I Didn’t Like:
There wasn’t enough time in the Hinterland. While I enjoyed the slow shifts and hints of strange this book had, I wish it would have lived more of its life actually inside the world it was meant to. It takes a while to get there, I would have just hoped that you would get to experience so much more of it for longer.
Probably should be a stand-alone. This isn’t to say that I don’t want to read the sequel I truly enjoyed this book, but I honestly don’t know where book 2 is possibly going to go. I am open to being surprised, but I am also skeptical. This book could have been just as awesome on its own.
The Hazel Wood could be defined in one word by being Unique. It is a story in and of itself and it apologizes to no one for it. It is weird and strange and it’s stories are of the unfamiliar variety. It is a fresh and different take on your typical fantasy and I loved it for it!
About the Author:
Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of BN.com. She has written for McSweeney’s, Time Out Chicago, MTV, and more. Melissa is from Illinois and lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Hazel Wood is her first novel.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about The Hazel Wood down in the comments below.
-Till next time!