Book: The Darkest Part of The Forest. Author: Holly Black. Release Date: January 13, 2015.
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?
Holly Black is one of the few authors who can almost guarantee I’ll love any of her books. Her last young adult book, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown, was the first time that wasn’t the case so I was a bit hesitant when I started reading The Darkest Part of The Forest.
I’ve been describing this book as “quiet” because of Black’s prose and the pacing of the story. Yes, a lot of things happen especially in the latter half of the book but the quiet lies in its focus on the characters rather than the plot. It’s about the relationships between siblings, parents and children, human and fae. It’s about who you want to be be as opposed to who you are. It’s about the past and how it affects your present. All of these aren’t new ideas but it’s made interesting when who you want to be is human but who you are is fae or you want to be is a hero but who you ended up being is just normal. I’m glad Black returned to writing about faeries and I think its a book that requires you to slow down in your reading and in your expectations. Again, its quiet.
I loved it and gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads. It’s a well written book and just a pleasant read all around. After reading so many intense books, it was a welcomed change.
It’s out today! So grab your copy if you’re into faeries and great writing.
—A. A. Omer