Review. 256. Holly Black – The darkest part of the forest.

20958632Title: The darkest part of the forest.
Author: Holly Black.
Pages: 324.
Published: January 13th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Sort: Stand-alone.
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…

There were two reasons that made me excited to read this book: 1. The cover, because look at it! It’s gorgeous and 2. The whole boy sleeping in a glass coffin promise made me think this could be a little fairytale-ish and I was right. The story holds a certain fairytale charm with it’s magical writing.

Once there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but she forgot herself.

The darkest part of the forest is set in a town surrounded by a forest. If you are a passing visitor you have to be careful, because the fae living in the woods like to play tricks with you. Every now and then people disappear to never return. Brave Hazel and her brother Ben decided to fight against these monsters until Ben fails to protect her. He decides their little game is to dangerous, but Hazel isn’t ready to give up. Instead, the makes a dangerous deal with the fae.

The horned prince sleeping in the glass coffin has been an obsession for Hazel and Ben. They made up stories around him, but they weren’t prepared for the true story. Hazel’s bargain has something to do with the prince and it’s vital they find him before the Alderking does. Hazel decides to ask help from Ben’s best friend Jack, a Changeling, and I love the explanations behind the prince and the clever nature of Hazel’s deal with the King.

I had mixed feelings about Hazel. I could understand her motives, but I never really accepted them. I thought she was a bit too reckless and self destructive. She plays with emotions and runs away before she gets too attached. It was unfair to act like that and it’s so different from how I look at things, that it was hard to feel sympathy for her. During the book I did warm up for her, but she is not a character I fell in love with. I approved of her spirit when it comes to the fae and her royalty to her brother, but that’s about it. I was a bigger fan of Ben and Jack. Also credits for the natural way we find out that Ben is gay and how normal it was portrayed.

Like I said, the story has a fairytale-ish feeling to it. The writing had something magical every now and then. There was a solid plot, but sometimes it was a little too slow. It was a good book, but not something I would reread any time soon. I am, however, interested to read more by Holly Black.


  1. I have been so curious about this book, but I feel like I can't quite figure out what to expect from it, which is why I still haven't picked it up! I love that it's reminiscent of a fairytale, but I have a hard time enjoying a book if I can't connect with the characters... I'm glad you liked it even if it wasn't perfect! Great review :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  2. I have an ARC of this one but I've yet to pick it up! I've read lots of mixed reviews and haven't always had the best of luck with Holly Black. I am planing on reading it eventually though and the way you described the fairytale feel and gay-positive portrayal are very encouraging! Lovely review ♥

  3. Gorgeous review Mel. <3 I'm glad you liked this book :) But so sorry you did not like the girl. Ugh. She sems pretty awful :\ Sigh. I read one chapter of this book when it came out, then I stopped, lol. Might try it again one day :) But mostly not for me, I think, sadly. You are awesome for reading it, though :D Thank you for sharing. <3 Hugs.

  4. I was really intrigued with this book particularly after meeting Holly Black last year, and I'm so glad the portrayal of Ben being gay is just a matter of fact part of it. Lovely review - I've heard great things about her White Cat series!


Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate it and I will return the favor as soon as possible.