Friday, 27 March 2015

BOOK REVIEW: THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST - HOLLY BLACK

BOOK INFO:
TITLE: The darkest part of the forest
AUTHOR: Holly Black
RELEASE DATE: January 13th 2015 - OUT NOW
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown
PAGE COUNT: 272
GOODREADS: x
SYNOPSIS:
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?
 

MY THOUGHTS:
The Darkest Part of the Forest was one of my most anticipated books of 2015. I had only read Doll Bones and The iron trial (with Cassandra Clare) from Holly Black before, and although I really enjoyed them this was my first venture into her YA novels. 

Good news; I loved it. 

Holly Black's writing is very poetic and effortless, and I thought it fit perfectly with the whimsical nature of the story. She did really well at creating the atmosphere in the book, which was mysterious and creepy and totally sucked me in. I've decided that I REALLY like her as a writer and I can't wait to pick up more of her books! The coldest girl in coldtown is now right at the top of my TBR.

The story itself is unique and creative. Although I've read quite a few YA books about fairies, I didn't feel like I'd read the story before and I loved seeing more of the fairy legends woven into the book. I was really interested to see where the story would go, and it took a totally different direction to what I was expecting! There were definitely some twists and turns that I didn't see coming. The story is kind of strange, but not in a bad way. You'll have to read it to get what I mean.

Although the story was slow at parts, especially near the start, the writing and the mysterious atmosphere Holly created kept my interest the whole time. I didn't want to stop reading! The action scenes that were in there were really intense and kind of scary, there were parts of the book that totally got my heart racing. I thought the climax was suitably dramatic and the ending brought everything together really well. The darkest part of the forest is a stand alone, and it felt so satisfying to have a whole story all wrapped up in one book.

I also really enjoyed the characters in this book. They were all suitably quirky and unique, which really fit the tone of the story. Hazel was strong and bad ass and didn't give a crap about gender norms, which I loved, but she was also flawed and realistic. I really liked her as a protagonist. I loved her brother Ben, who was super sweet and had an interesting back story, and it was really great to see their relationship throughout the book. As a sister myself, I want to read about more siblings and the relationships between them. As for the other characters, I wanted to know more about them. Although they were all intriguing I really did want to hear more about the characters who weren't Hazel and Ben, especially the fairies in the story. Mostly I wanted to know more about the horned boy, who was really interesting to read about but remained pretty mysterious throughout the book.

I loved that the darkest part of the forest included diversity without it being a huge issue. It never effected the story, it was just there. As it should be. That made me really happy.

The setting of the book was really whimsical and unique (I am using those words way too much, I know), and I loved being in that world for the time it took me to read the book. I did think it was a tiny bit unrealistic, however, that all this crazy stuff was going on in Fairfold and people were dying and nobody in the outside world noticed/cared. 

This is the random-est complaint ever, but everybody was kissing. All the time. Sometimes I wasn't even sure who was kissing. There's nothing wrong with kissing, but sometimes I was just wanted them to stop kissing and get on with the story.

In fact, I wasn't a huge fan of the romances overall. There were a couple of relationships that seemed kind of sudden and under-developed, and it felt like there was insta-love even though there wasn't actually any insta-love. That didn't even make sense. The romance wasn't overwhelming in the story though, there was still a ton of fairy action to keep me happy. 
One problem that I did have was that I felt a little bit disconnected. I think it was because the story was so strange and magical, but I found it hard to get really attached to the book.

IN CONCLUSION:
The darkest part of the forest was whimsical and unique, with intense action sequences, good twists and turns and characters I really enjoyed reading about. I highly recommend it!


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