Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Author: Holly Black

Published: January 13, 2015

Pages: 336

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Amazon / Barnes and Nobles / Goodreads

Goodreads Description: 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?

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To be completely honest, the synopsis of this story didn’t particularly interest me. I  was about to dismiss this book when I realized that it was written by one of the co-authors of a favorite childhood series of mine, The Spiderwick Chronicles. I decided to give The Darkest Part of the Forest a chance in the hopes that it would possess similar elements to the aforementioned.

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In the beginning of the book, there’s a high school party in the forest surrounding a sleeping boy in a glass coffin, and it’s totally normal for everyone. It really puts how the town of Fairfold views the faerieworld into perspective. Sure the forest is home to faeries who like to dip their hats into human blood and creatures that drag people into the depths of a lake before consuming them, but it’s still the perfect place to get crunk (crazy + drunk).  I can see where people may find this unbelievable or silly, but it just amused me to no end.

I enjoyed reading about the strange appearances of the creatures residing in the forest and the sinister things they did to people who “acted like tourists”. The little tidbits Black revealed about the folk kept me reading after I got bored about a third of the way into the book.

Also, LGBTQ+ representation 👌. There’s a refreshing gay romance in that the characters’ sexual orientation wasn’t the biggest concern. There’s other things to worry about, like the faerie king who wants one of them dead and the monster that instills uncontrollable sorrow to those in its vicinity.

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I appreciated the inclusion of gay a romance, but the romance felt forced. I think it was supposed to be unclear whether one of them reciprocated the other’s feelings, but it still took until the end of the book for the character to make a clear indication of how they felt. Also, the synopsis hinted at a love triangle in the story, but it never felt like one. Two out of the three characters involved were quite impassive about each other. I’m not fond of love triangles at all, so I’m not sure if that was an entirely bad thing.

The story seemed to drag out at times, and it didn’t seem like much was happening. I mean, there was stuff happening, but I felt unmoved. I think it was a combination of me not being able to personally connect with the characters and being unsure of what the major conflict was. There was the problem of the missing prince, the angry faerie king, and the monster from the forest straying into town to name a few, but I didn’t feel the urgency of any of the situations.

There was also a lot of talk of adventure and sword fights, but in the end, I think that was exactly what the story was lacking. My interest piqued during the parts where the characters did travel into the forest and fought monsters with their swords.january-15

I liked the book, but it could have been better. I think I would have enjoyed it more if Black delved deeper into the faerie world and focused more on whatever the major conflict was instead of forcing the romantic relationships.

☆☆☆

i liked it

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Have you read The Darkest Part of the Forest? What did you think of it?
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