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…
The darkest Part of the Forest has everything to be a complete success. It has a very unique writing style, an intriguing premise and its a YA stand-alone. Lets be honest…. that is something you don’t see everyday. These days its all series and trilogies. I was so excited about the synopsis of the book and I must say that my expectations were quite high. Holly Martin is called the queen of Fae for something, right? But for me the book missed something and I can’t seem to put my finger on what it is.
“Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.”
The Darkest Part of the Forest is a eerie, dark fairy-tale. And the first few chapters are absolutely wonderful. Full of creepiness and mystery. I was compelled to read on and on. Even forgetting that it was bedtime for me, considering an overenthusiastic child would be waking me in the wee hours of dawn. I just kept on reading, because I wanted more of that creepy, dark goodness. And then everything just fell a little flat for me. The story seemed to deflate and crept on…. It’s like the spell breaks the moment the horned prince wakes up and is ready to cause havoc!
“The only way to end grief was to go through it.”
Maybe it just me. I seem to be struggling with YA fantasy for quite some time now. Its all so light and fluffy, something I also noticed in The Darkest Part of the Forest. Dead, tormented bodies were found in the woods, monsters were on the loose and the situation was pretty dire. But it didn’t feel that way. It never got so dark as it was intended to be, if that makes any sense?
“There’s a monster in our wood. She’ll get you if you’re not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. Anest of hair and gnawed bone. You are never, ever coming… home.”
I absolutely loved the way the Fae were portrayed in this story. They are evil, full of trickery and deceiving. And best of all there are so many kinds of them! There are dwellers of the woods with horns on there head. There is a kind that lives in the water. Some hang tourist to bleed out from trees and dip their hats in the blood they have spilled. I loved everything about them. Not because I have a sick mind and love to see torture and murder going around. But because it was such a refreshing take on fairies. They are dark and cruel. They can’t lie, but they are great in deceiving. And they make bargains with mortals… Bargains that those same mortals will come to regret.
“Well fine, then. I could send you out to win my favor. Possibly on a quest involving bringing a large mug of coffee and a doughnut. Or the wholesale slaughter of all my enemies. I haven’t decided which.”
Apart from that I was surprised to see that one of the main characters falls in the LGBTQ spectrum and how well it was handled in the story. I absolutely love it when an author incorporates LGBTQ in the story, but without making it big deal. Holly did that perfectly! The fact that Ben was gay was never question, he just was. But at the same time the fact that Ben is gay is quite an important side story. Really well executed!
I read The Darkest Part of the Forest in preparation of The Cruel Prince. One of my most anticipated releases of 2018. I hear there some reoccurring characters there and I wanted the full experience. But to be completely honest, this book has set a little damper on my excitement. I really hope Holly Black can win me over with the Cruel Prince. Because The Darkest Part of the Forest was quite a let down for me.
What to say… What to say…. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a creepy, dark fairytale. And I am convinced that my fourteen year old self would have absolutely loved it. My 32 year old self however found the book lacking. It just wasn’t cutting it for me. It should have been much darker!