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The Darkest Part of the Forest is a brilliantly woven story that brings together sleeping princes, forbidden wishes and magical intrigue with modern family problems. At its heart, its a dark fairy tale. Around its edges, its a story of a girl who would pay the price of making a wish as a child. Its a story of a boy who learns to a accept his own power, even though he is afraid of it. Its a story of a Prince cursed to sleep for centuries.
Its a story of a brother and a sister who wanted to be heroes, who wanted to kill monsters and save the world, to become the Knight and the Bard.
"Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself."
Miss Black has crafted the town of Fairfold with the perfect balance of precision and mystery. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and the imagery it evokes is breathtaking. I was pulled into the mysteries of the forest and the fae-folk from page 1. The relationship of Ben and Hazel, with each other and their parents and even the sleeping prince, was complex and deep and it drives the central theme of the story. In themselves, Ben and Hazel are also very complex characters.
Hazel's defining trait is courage. She is quick-witted and fearless in times of danger. She has her weaknesses but she still showcases profound strength and bravery. Justice is important to her, so is adventure. She is an insufferable trouble-maker but only has good in her heart.
“She should tell him no, but instead she seemed to be running toward trouble, leaving no stone unturned, no boy unkissed, no crush abandoned, and no bad idea unembraced.”
Ben is a romantic through and through. Not courageous in an outright manner like his sister but still strong in his own way. Also, he is gay. And I love how Miss Black has not let that be his ruling personality trait. Ben is a story teller, he loves adventure as much as his sister and it was him who had first called the sleeping boy their prince.
“To Ben, love was the flame in which he wanted to be reborn. He wanted to be remade by it.”
There are mysteries to solve, a town to save and evil kings to fight. There are old scores to settle, new romances to experience, faery revelry to attend.
There’s a monster in our wood. She’ll get you if you’re not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. A nest of hair and gnawed bone. You are never, ever coming…
It would have been the perfect book for me, if not for the occasional slumps this book went into. Despite the beautiful writing, there were parts in the story where it became unbearably boring. There are people who would enjoy that kind pacing, and even I like it a lot in many other books. But for this one it just didn't sit right. I was even thinking about dnf-ing it at one point, though I am glad I didn't. The story was complete in all its essences and it left me feeling a strange nostalgia for things I have never known or felt myself.
This book is set in the town of Fairfold in which Human and fae exist side by side, and there is glass coffin in the woods in which a prince has been asleep for centuries. Hazel and her brother are two of the humans in the town and one day, when the prince suddenly wakes up, they're both swept up in the lives of monsters and kings and princes.
And that's all I wanna say about the plot because anything else might ruin the fun. And this is book definitely fun after you get past the first quarter, which isn't as interesting.
The book was engaging, I liked the writing more than I did in Tithe, I loved the story and the setting the author created. I even liked the characters who I was initially iffy about. What I liked most, though, was how it sometimes took me off guard, in a 'pleasant surprise' sort of way. 'Pleasantly surprise' is, in fact, a pretty accurate description of how I felt about the book as a whole.
It had a very mystical and mysterious tone to it that kept me interested; and Holly Black has a kind of poetic writing style that worked really well for the town of Fairfold and for all the main characters, neither of whom were very normal.
I also couldn't be more glad that this was a standalone because, while I might enjoy reading more about this world, I'm happy that the story concluded in this one book; concluded very well too. There aren't nearly enough Fantasy standalones so it was really nice to read one.
The book isn't perfect though. It has a few flaws, some of which I could overlook, like the slightly tame beginning and Ben's prince-obsession thing that he had going on. I mean, the guy could literally get you to dance your way off a cliff with a song, I think that gives him permission to be peculiar. There is, however, one thing that I can't quite ignore.
Hazel, at one point, does some thing because of which I deemed her TSTL, aka 'too stupid to live', but that was her only moment of such stupid. Other times, she was okay, smart even. Which told me that the reason for Hazel's behaviour was the author.
You see, what Hazel did was very important for the plot to move on, so the author needed to put it there. And had she had a better reason, there would have been no problem. Unfortunately, the author did not give a good reason. But after that point, things were great. I really enjoyed reading the book and I'm looking forward to reader other works of this author.
I highly recommend checking this book out. It's really good.
Having just finished and loved The Wicked King, I was keen to read something else by Holly Black. This standalone book is set in the same overarching world as both that and her older Tithe series, though bar a few cameos and cross-references is mostly unrelated. But after several books about the fae, the author has really researched the lore and developed her own expansive mythos.
This book had quite an interesting style and tone. The Folk of the Air series is 90% second world/portal fantasy and Tithe is about a seemingly ordinary girl being stunned to discover (or rediscover) the existence of magic and fairies. But this almost borders on magic realism. It’s set in a small town in America, that’s normal except for the fact that it completely acknowledges and accepts that the fae live alongside them. Otherwise down-to-earth characters wear charms and leave out milk. One fairly normal teenage boy is openly acknowledged to be a changeling. And a sleeping elf prince is a glass casket in the forest has been a tourist attraction for generations. I loved this combination of the fantastical and the day to day.
Inevitably, the elf prince awakens. Inevitably, the main character visits faerie. And inevitably, there’s some inter-species romance. But none of that plays out in quite the way you might have imagined and it’s all balanced nicely with general family, town, and personal dynamics. It really keeps you guessing and the ultimate conclusions are very satisfying. Ultimately, it didn’t grab me in quite the all-consuming way that Wicked King did, but it’s still a very enjoyable read.
The concept is very clever. There are some Snow White sleeping in a coffin elements, with a twist. What I always enjoy about Holly Black's books is the world building and how the fae are not fluffy fairy tale creatures but far darker!
For the most part, I liked Hazel as a character although would have liked more character development. I wasn't a big fan of all the random kissing. It was also nice the way things developed with Severin. I was glad we didn't get the usual girl ends up with the prince plot...
We are treated to changelings and fairy legends as well as the usual coming of age teen drama. The sections about Hazel's and Ben's forgetful and neglectful parents were hard to read but worked well in juxtaposition to the fairy world.
I'm a big fan of Holly Black's books and while I did enjoy The Darkest Part of the Forest, it wasn't my favourite of her stories! The writing has the usual HB description and detail but, and I'm surprised to be writing this, the plot isn't as compelling as I was expecting. I read another review, describing the plot as fragmented, which I sort of agree with. That being said I did like the story, I just wanted a little more. Perhaps I'm just greedy.
After discovering YA fantasy over the summer, I have had a lovely time catching up on authors' backlists. I've particularly enjoyed reading Holly Black's urban fairy stories. Each one is set in the same world yet mentions characters from her other books, so it's like catching up with old friends. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a standalone, so you don't need to have read her other books to enjoy it - which is lucky, because I seem to be reading them backwards!
In the forest outside the town of Fairfold is a glass casket containing a sleeping faerie prince. He's been there for as long as anyone can remember and has become quite a tourist attraction. Ben and his sister Hazel find him fascinating and long for him to wake up ... but the sleeping prince isn't the only faerie creature in the forest.
I loved this story because it took several well-known fairy tales and turned them on their head (Snow White, Kate Crackernuts, etc). I thought it great that it was a prince in the glass casket who needed rescuing and, although there is a bit of a romance, the characters don't necessarily end up with who you think. I loved the way the inhabitants of Fairfold had long since become used to supernatural creatures straying over their boundaries, and the hapless tourists who took selfies of themselves with the prince, but usually ended up becoming faerie fodder!
Recommended for anyone who loves YA fantasy and fairy tales with a dark, urban twist.
I loved the Cruel Prince series. I'd read fantasy before , but hadn't read much about faeries before that, and was pleasantly surprised by how interesting the concept is. Holly Black wrote exquisitely in the Cruel Prince, and her writing was still good in this book too. The main issue I had with this story was the plot and the characters. I liked the protagonist, Hazel, well enough. She was strong-willed, brave etc. However, all the others characters were a bit dull and 2D and I don't feel like their motives were fully explored. For this reason, the plot just dragged and dragged with no sense of direction. By the time I got to the end of the book, I found myself not caring about the characters or anything that happened. wanted to love this book but I'm really disappointed that it didn't quite meet the mark.
This is one of the first Kindle books I bought, back when I didn’t even have a Kindle and read on my PC using the App. Funny, how it’s taken me so long to get round to reading it. I wish I hadn’t waited. I thought this was a corker of a book. I love fairy tales, the darker the better so this was right up my street. Black offers a twisted take on Sleeping Beauty. What’s not to love? This is a truly original book. It was a pleasure to read. I got completely lost in the strangeness of Fairfold and the lives of Hazel, her twin Ben and the mysterious horned boy. I’ve never read the author before though I’ve heard a lot of good things about her. I really need to read more of her work.
After really enjoying 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown,' i was really looking forward to getting my little mitts on this book. I started reading and loved the concept of this horned Fae boy endlessly sleeping in a glass coffin, in a woods - that frankly, i really don't want to venture into- and all sorts of things were going through my mind, who was he? why and how did he get there?
As i kept reading, a fog kinda descended on me and the excitement dwindled, conversely, i read the book in a matter of days ( which is good for me!) i wanted, hell needed to know what was going on. Hazel and Ben are brothers and sisters and live in a rather strange town called Fairfold where there are tales of Knights, fairy magic and all manner of goings on. This is the second book i have read from Holly Black, it wont be the last defiantly, but i was a little disappointed. Halfway through it felt like i was chewing really hard toffee. I did enjoy it to a certain degree, but have read better this year. sorry :(