I am trying to get caught up after a wonderful weekend away in London and not only am I trying to catch up on blog stuff, but my reading and my pre-reading for my Masters as well. I seem to have lots of never ending to-do lists! I must confess, not only am I behind because of our time away, but also because I have had several books on the go that I just couldn’t put down. One of them was Pestilence and the other was The Hazel Wood.
I am a huge fan of fairy tales especially the dark and twisted ones, so as soon as I heard about The Hazel Wood I knew that I wanted to read it. I was so luck that it was included in the Fairy Loot Twisted Tales box for February. You can see my full unboxing of that here. It was an amazing box!
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Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Synopsis: 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.
Categories: Fantasy, YA, Fairy Tales
Publication Date: 30th January 2018
Rating: 4/5 stars
Review: I just really loved the synopsis for The Hazel Wood, I wanted to read it, and I wanted to get lost in The Hinterland. I loved the book right from the start… it was engaging and intriguing from page 1. I mean a book about a book of fairy tales – what’s not to love!
It was so unique, not only the idea but the characters and the descriptions. The Hazel Wood felt like an ode to fairy tales but it was more than that, and it was very much it’s own book. I love the protagonist, Alice, she is angry, headstrong and brave. She was one of my favourite things about The Hazel Wood. I loved her descriptions of other characters (especially of her step sister Audrey) and of life in general. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Alice’s mother, Ella at the beginning, or of Finch either. But as I headed further in to the book, I realised I wasn’t sure of what to make of any of the characters and I think that was what the author had planned. There is this definitely air of ‘nothing is what it seems’ and just like in Fairy Tales, you have to be careful of who you trust.
I thought that the ‘mysterious’ was done really well in The Hazel Wood, it kept you wanting to read more, but not at the expense of creating incredible scenes with amazing descriptions. The uncanny and the downright strange are described so well in The Hazel Wood.
I loved the little snippets of The Tales of the Hinterlands, and I hope that one day there is a book, which contains all of the full stories listed and described in The Hazel Wood. I was totally intrigued by the titles of all the stories and by the snippets of the few that where included in the book. They sounded deliciously dark and downright twisted! And there is not a happy ending to be seen, by the sounds of things.
My only niggle is that I felt that The Hazel Wood itself wasn’t quite dark enough, it was ominous, and creepy but I wanted a little more creepy, a little more ominous and a little darker. Though maybe that’s not something I should be admitting to! I really loved it but I felt in places it just held back a little. It was one of those stories I wanted to read and to feel the chill and the sense of the uncanny around me. But for me, in that respect, The Hazel Wood missed the mark slightly. I will definitely be reading any further books in the series as I really did enjoy reading The Hazel Wood.
It was a wonderful read, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves fairy tales, and especially those who love the darker fairy tales. But I would also recommend it to those who love mystery and a adventure, because the book contains a whole lot of both!
You can find The Hazel Wood on Amazon* and at other retailers. As you can see from my Instagram feed I absolutely love The cover of the Hazel Wood!