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?
Combine my love of fairy tales with my love of kickass girls (and my own hero complex) and The Darkest Part of the Forest was made to make me happy. The almost-whimsy of the prose juxtaposed with its darker core and tapestries in such a way that made it impossible for me to put it down. No, but really, I finished it in less than four hours without much break.
Hazel was a great lead, she’s both flawed and real without being “not like other girls”. Ben didn’t quite match up to his younger sister and at times came off a bit stereotypical in contrast with the usual personality we were presented with, though he strengthened and grew later. Jack was just superb, the juggling act of his personality and speech drew me into his character; I love characters with a duality to them. Which could be almost every character in tDPotF. The setting and other cast were this wild mesh of reality and fantasy, mundane and magic; it all worked so well together to make this fantastic world the reader isn’t even certain if the locals believe in entirely.
My only sadness is that if you do read a decent amount of fairy tales you’re apt to figure things out early and be left groaning at decisions made by the characters as they fumble to figure it all out. Nevertheless, it is lovely, hypnotizing, romantic, and a certain kind of fairy-tale dark guaranteed to earn a spot on the favorites shelf of fairy tale lovers.
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