I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
on January 30, 2018
Series: The Hazel Wood #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was a superb debut! The story was full of mystery and wonder. It was impossible not to be captivated from the first page. It reminded me of paranormal/slightly fairytale-ish books I read and loved back when they were all the rage. I’m happy to see these sorts of stories coming back.
The first quarter of the book was somewhat creepy and the entire book was darker than I was expecting. I loved those aspects! Melissa Albert’s writing was really striking. I would not have assumed this was debut at all. The Hinterland and fairy-tales within real life were so creative. I also really enjoyed the stories within a story. I was really intrigued by Alice’s grandmother and her cult following.
Alice was a strong main character. I liked that she never batted an eye at all the strange happenings. She was so determined to find her mother. I admired that a lot as I would feel the same way. I was a tiny bit disappointed at the amount of romance in this one. I was just expecting more, I guess. I suppose that’s fine since I never really connected with the male lead anyway.
The best thing about The Hazel Wood for me was definitely the Hinterland/fairy tale aspects. I loved getting the little snippets of some of the tales and then seeing them appear in Alice’s life. I do feel like the search for the Hinterland and answers was more interesting than actually getting there. The story kind of dropped off for me there. I still enjoyed it but not as much as the first quarter of the book.
The Hazel Wood was a dark and twisty debut. I was captivated throughout! If you’re a fan of fairy tales or miss those dark paranormal YA reads of several years ago definitely pick this one up!