The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Published by: Indigo
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Date Read: 23/03/2015
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 centre 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?
The story is written entirely in 3rd person and takes place in Fairfold, a town where both humans and fae co-exist. The book revolves around a brother and sister, Ben and Hazel. Ever since they were children, they have dreamed of waking up the Prince, a young man who is sealed within an unbreakable glass coffin and has been sleeping for generations in the depths of the forest.
Things don’t turn out quite as they expected once they find out that their Prince has suddenly gone missing. They decide to hunt the forest for him in order to help him, but they end up getting a lot more than they bargained for.
They fantasized about how the Prince would fall in love with one of them and would bring peace to their town. The fae are a group of beings that are feared in their community. They are said to curse humans and eat them alive. Hazel and Ben believe that he is the answer to their problems.
I absolutely loved this book. One of my favourite stand alones. From the first paragraph I was sucked in. The book is creepy and haunting, which are two of my favourite things for a book to be. I loved the weaving of modern day with the world of branches and stone. The cast of characters is diverse and engaging. They are all complex and relatable.
Hazel is brazen and full of spirit; vulnerable and weighted by self doubt. Ben is tragic and haunted; a romantic and brave. Jack was a favourite of mine. his struggle with finding himself, feeling torn between two selves was a grand reflection of what it means to be a young adult. With a bit of added magic.
I loved Ben and Severin and their relationship. Hazel annoyed me a bit but not to the point where it caused me to dislike her character as a whole. Jack starts off as a bit of an unreliable character because you don’t know where his loyalties lay which made me love his character all the more.
The Darkest Part of the Forest was like a fairytale. Full of magic, elves, and mystery, this story is like a modern version of something the Brothers Grimm would have written. If you like fairy tales or fantasy in general, reading “The Darkest Part of the Forest” is something I highly recommend.