The Darkest Part of the Forestby Holly Black (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2015-01-13
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Family, Fantasy & Magic, General, LGBT, Love & Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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?
Hello, dear readers!!! It’s Heather and Pushy here today to share our love of Holly Black and the awesomeness that is The Darkest Part of the Forest! So hang tight, grab your coffee or tea or wine (what? it’s happy hour somewhere!) and let the fun begin!
Magic All Around
Pushy: Right off the bat I knew I was going to love this book! I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Holly Black, and when I read the synopsis for this book, I knew this would be no different! I love how she weaves magic into the mundane of everyday life making it transcendent! And in the fair town of Fairfold, where a beautiful horned boy sleeps in a glass coffin, surrounded by drinking teenagers on any given weekend, her take on a tourist town really comes alive.
Heather: While my only Holly Black experiences have been with the audiobooks of Doll Bones and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown before listening to The Darkest Part of the Forest, I’ve really enjoyed the worlds and characters that she creates–how relatable and realistic they are while being infused with mystical and magical or paranormal creatures.
It’s a normal part of the residents of Fairfold’s lives to party out in the forest by the coffin, to leave bowls of milk and food out for the fairies that reside in the surrounding woods. For the most part the fairies have just been tricksters to the townies and have left the more deadly deeds for the tourists, but that has changed at the start of this book and no one is safe now.
Knights and Sorcerers
Pushy: As always, Holly Black doesn’t stint on the kick-ass characters. Hazel is tough and smart and beautiful. Her brother Ben is talented beyond the realm of humanly possible. Jack is a fae in kid’s clothing. And the horned boy? Just hot! They’re all so gritty though, no one smoothly fitting into a stereotype but pushing the boundaries and defying definitions, like real people do. I love that about Holly Black’s characters. They feel so much like real people because they have the same foibles and insecurities that the rest of us do…just with dialog that’s been scripted!
Heather: I totally agree, Pushy. And the parents are present and a very much fallable and flawed. While Hazel makes some huge sacrifices of her own–from purely selfish reasons that benefit her brother, she’s definitely pure of heart and good natured. Ben is struggled a bit more in the past, but he’s come to a bit of peace with himself and his life in Fairfold. Changling Jack has a more conflicting feelings about his heritage and where his loyalties should lie than he lets on. Seriously, the horned boy is such a mystery and attractive, but once he’s awakened by a sword that Hazel’s had since she was a little girl, the entire town knows that he’s dangerous too. Everyone in Fairfold has fallen for his sleeping form at one time or another in their lives.
Pushy: While there’s so much more I want to learn about this world and what happens to Hazel and Ben and their loves, like any good fairy tale, Ms. Black leaves the reader wanting more, wondering just what “Happily Ever After” entails. She could easily write a second book in this world, but this reader’s guess is that she’s already moved on to some other magical place…. Genies? Mermaids? Your guess is as good as mine!
Heather: And that’s one of the things that gets me about Holly Black’s writing…she always leaves me wanting me of the story. I’d love to see more from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and it’s the same here–I’d really like to see how everyone’s HEA is really shaking out. I’d really like to see more about the horned prince since you really learn so little about him during the course of the book.
Pushy: Magic, both dark and lovely, and characters you want for your own friends, come alive in this brilliant modern fairy story!
Heather: An enchanting coming of age story with deadly fairies that hold grudges forever, and aren’t afraid to draw humans into their fights.