The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Apparently, I’m really into unapologetically other mythical creatures.  I’m glad we’re trending away from nice vampires and friendly werewolves.  The fun of fantasy comes from the collision of two cultures that are truly dangerous to each other.  Black’s faeries are wild, passionate, and creepy.  Fairfold is a place of changling babies, drowned tourists, and missing persons.  Despite this, the humans are tentatively accepting of their faerie-surrouned world…until the sleeping prince wakes up and everything falls to pieces.

I love Black’s high-stakes world of debts repaid, female knights, and sibling support.  The Darkest Part of the Forest was entirely engrossing from page 1.  Hazel was a super cool protagonist whose eccentricities are fleshed out as the book progresses?  What makes a girl desperate to become a knight while kissing a bunch of boys on the side?  She’s not a Mary Sue character–she’s got reasons for her actions, and I loved seeing them explored.  Her brother Ben is also amazing.  I really enjoyed the gender swap dynamic wherein the older brother feels secondary to his younger, battle-ready sister. 

The world-building is detailed, the characters are developed, and the story is just different enough from other fantasy novels to be really intriguing.  I loved it!

20958632Book Jacket

Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side.  Tourists drive in to see the lush wonders of Faerie and, most of all, the horned boy.  But visitors fail to see the danger.

Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists.  But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories.  Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be.  But as she’s swept up in new love, with shifting loyalties and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Release Date:  January 2015

Want another opinion?  Check out reviews by Forever Young Adult and Miss Print.

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