Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Posted January 15, 2015 by lockhartbecca in Reviews / 6 Comments

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Author: Holly Black
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: ARC
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher at BEA
Rating: 3 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***



Synopsis from Goodreads:


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?


My Review:


This book was deliciously creepy in that perfect Holly Black way. I’ve only read one other book by her (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown), but I can definitely see her distinct style. There are weird, creepy, gross things in this book. But I loved reading about them all. And I expected nothing less after reading the synopsis.


So there’s this boy in a coffin. He’s been sleeping forever. The kids of the town party around him, yell at him, try to wake him up, but he just keeps right on sleeping. And then one day his coffin is found empty. Our main character, Hazel and her brother, Ben, want to find him. He’s their Prince, always has been and they’re determined to get to him before anyone else does. Well long story short, a bad person wants the boy and things get dangerous and crazy.


I really enjoyed reading about all the different fairies and creatures that lived in the woods. I loved how the fairies in this book definitely have a lot of traits that come straight from folklore like playing tricks on mortals, pinching them, snatching them out of their beds at night, replacing their children with a Changeling. It was all of this that gave the story that delicious, creepy edge.


This is a quick read. For one the book isn’t that long, but there’s also a lot going on in the plot and you’ll be desperate to figure out what’s going on. As Hazel unravels all the missing pieces from mysterious notes to waking up with mud on her feet, you’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen and how it’s all going to end.


One thing I was a little disappointed in was the characters. I liked them all, but I never really connected to them. When near death experiences happened I didn’t have much of a reaction because they never became real to me. I enjoyed the brother-sister relationship between Hazel and Ben, but I don’t know, I just never really fell in love with anyone.


And the other thing that bothered me was the world-building. There wasn’t a ton of it. We just kind of were told that this was the way the town of Fairfold had always been, which is fine. I guess I wanted to learn more about the Folk, what different kinds there were and what each kind could do. There are lots of different names thrown around, but not a lot of description.


But other than those two small gripes, this really was quite the interesting read. And bonus! It’s a standalone! So you won’t get trapped in another series. Holly Black is definitely an author that I will continue to read. Her books are unique and have that special Holly Black edge to them (you’ll understand once you read a couple of her books).


Have you read this one yet? What did you think of the Folk? Were you able to connect to the characters? 

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6 responses to “Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

  1. That's too bad about the lack of connection to the characters…I usually really dislike that. I still have this to read so I'm wondering how I'll like it! I mean, it sounds really intriguing!

  2. I'm glad you mostly enjoyed the book, but the lack of connection to the characters kind of worries me. I love Holly Black though, so I might give this a try. I just won't make it a priority. Great review, Rebecca!

  3. Too bad you didn't connect with the characters, I hope that doesn't happen to me! I love that it's a standalone, but that probably affected the world-building (and even the characters). With not as much time (pages), that doesn't surprise me. I bought this one last week, so hopefully I'll read it soon! ~Pam

    • Yes, agreed. Standalones are a double-edged sword to me. I love not having to wait three years to read the whole series, but I definitely think that the world-building and sometimes the characters suffer because of it. I hope you enjoy it!

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