Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Disclaimer: I read the advanced reader's copy of this book. The publication date is January 13, 2015. This will be a book to watch out for; I apologize that you most likely have to wait that long to read this book. I got my hands on a copy from the 2014 ALA Conference (it's even signed by Holly Black)!

I've read previous books by Holly Black and blogged about a couple (DOLL BONES and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN) but I think I've managed to read almost everything that Holly Black has published. ...yes, I am shameless.

Because she's awesome. Just saying.

Anyways, an amazon summary, "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 pointy 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 and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

This is Holly Black's triumphant return to the fantastic fae worlds she spun in Valiant and Tithe. This book is very similar in that it incorporates fae into the modern world but it shows in a more direct way how the presence of fae affects the entire town.

Very cool.

The narrator, Hazel, has always had aspirations to be a knight. She was raised by negligent artistic parents who instead of taking care of her and her brother, Ben; they threw crazy parties until late hours of the night. They'd often forget to feed/take care of/keep an eye on them. Not the greatest parents. Ben is pretty freaking awesome though.

As a kid, Hazel and Ben would roam through the forest looking for fae to slay that were preying upon humans. When Ben was just a baby, he was gifted with musical talents that would render the listener in a trance like state for as long as he played (due to his mother painting a fantastic picture of a fae). As Hazel and Ben traveled through the forest, Ben would play music to stun the fae and Hazel would slay them with the sword she found.

They stopped when Ben realized it was too dangerous for them, but Hazel has always wished to return.

The town of Fairfold itself is a place where the natives believe whatever happens to a tourist, the tourist deserved for being stupid and not taking proper precautions against the fae. Fairfold is also home to a mysterious glass coffin where a boy clad in a different era's style of clothes has lay dormant for centuries. The boy also has horns. Hazel and Ben tend to think of this boy as the prince they are trying to save (when they are children). Ben spun many stories about the prince to Hazel when they were kids.

I'll stop there because anything father than that would be too close to spoiling things in my mind.

I enjoyed the writing of the book and how the woods of Fairfold seemed to become another character within the story as well as the town of Fairfold. The dynamics between the fae and humans were well played up as well as the dangers of the fae. Between Hazel, Ben, Jack, Carter, and the wide variety of fae present; there was never a dull moment through the story. It was a well paced book that seemed to constantly have different minor curiosities solved (that would paint a better, bigger picture) but there was always an air of mystery present to the story.

The only minor hiccup I had about the story is where the monster of the woods was while the 'prince' was sleeping. Even that I can definitely shrug off though; it didn't hinder the story in any manner.

Happy reading!

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