Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA Fantasy/UF
Rating: 4/5
Cover: 9/10

"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?"


I have been reading so many books with faeries in them lately (I'm calling it my Fantasy Run), this seemed like the obvious continuation.

Now, Black did an amazing job of creating an intriguing, fun world.
But, there was just something missing to make it amazing. Don't get me wrong, I loved the pairings, and even did a full happy dance to the positive LGBTQ+ representation. Severin was bi and Ben was gay? Loved it, really did, and like I mentioned to someone a while back, this wasn't a gay character just for the representation; it was an actually properly fleshed-out gay character, with good character development, and actual point in the plot. So, kudos to Ms Black for that.
I also want to make my relief over the lack of a love triangle very, very clear. Yes, thank you for writing a good YA book that doesn't have two guys fighting over a girl (or, you know, a guy and a girl fighting over one guy, as it would have been in this case.)

I guess it was just that, for a story that deals with scary, trickful faeries, they didn't feel all too scary at all. It was more like funny pranks - oh well take years off your life, but not by killing you, no, by training you to be an awesome soldier. The scariest part, honestly, was Sorrow - and while I really liked the symbolism of how she was "defeated", it was also a bit of an anticlimax, and sort of made the ending very predictable.

Overall though, an enjoyable read. For my introduction to Black's books, I was pleasantly surprised.

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