This is my review for The Darkest Part Of The Forest by Holly Black – rated 3.5*
THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black
Published: January 13 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy Contemporary
Themes: family, fairy tales, faeries, loyalty and friends.
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 centre 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…
The cover is definitely what initially attracted me to The Darkest Part Of The Forest – I don’t want to judge based on a cover but I absolutely do with new authors. I’d heard of Holly Black through her collaborations with Cassandra Clare, but I’d never read any of her novels – I’m now keen to read The Coldest Girl In Coldtown which I hadn’t heard of prior to researching other books she’s written.
The title is originally, although I would have liked the link to be explicitly stated in the text, especially if it had been near the ending. Referencing the title is a method that, in my opinion, ties everything together more completely: especially for standalone novels.
I picked up this book knowing literally nothing about it. I was expecting a contemporary and in a way I did, but with fantasy thrown in. It felt unique in terms of how the town responded to the fantasy elements, and there was a great section about the mob mentality of little villages. I loved reading it without knowing anything – the little twists at the start were actually things I wasn’t expecting.
I absolutely loved all the characters, especially Hazel and her Knight arc. There were so many important themes, and all of them tied to family: loyalty, bravery, themes which too often aren’t in young adult fantasy. The drama was kept to a minimum which I also liked – there weren’t huge disagreements like some young adult urban fantasy novels.
I rated this 3.5* although this was dropped down from a 4* purely because of the ending. I felt seriously underwhelmed, especially for a standalone fantasy novel. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it for a quick read, but I think it didn’t reach it’s maximum potential in terms of giving a satisfying ending – it was slightly slow to start and even faster to finish. It felt like a second book was being set up but as far as I am aware there are no plans to write subsequent novels, which is a shame, because I would love to revisit The Darkest Part Of The Forest.
Want to keep up to date with what I’m reading?
Check out my goodreads.
Want to help support Novellique?
Consider buying from Book Depository