The Hazel Wood
By: Melissa Albert
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Fairytale, mystery, fantasy
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
The first part of this review will be spoiler free.
I was lucky enough to receive this book in my latest Fairyloot book box, and I was so excited to give it a read. I love a good fairytale and this book did not disappoint. First can I say what an incredible cover this book has! The moment I saw this cover I fell in love with the story, I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but just look how pretty, how can you not?! It has been a long time since I read a stand alone YA book, and I have got to say it was really refreshing. The plot was very twisty and dark, and the whole thing felt like a big fairytale, containing many smaller fairytales. Alice was a great character, I liked how she was flawed and complicated in her own way, I could really feel how out of place she felt in her world. The story was slightly confusing in the beginning but that just added to the mystery and magic that made the book so fun.
The character development for Alice was very well done, especially since she wasn’t always the most likeable person. She was really the only major character development in the story, I wish we had gotten some more time with Ellery Finch as I think his character had so much potential but in the end he kind of floated to the background. I also really enjoyed the world building in the Hinterland, it was raw and twisted and darkly magical. I also really enjoyed that there was no love story in this book, it was very refreshing to have a female lead that wasn’t pining after someone.
There were so many big surprises and twists in this book, I really never knew what was going to happen. If you are in the mood for some new original fairytales and dark mysteries this is definitely the book for you.
So, I really debated whether or not I should do a spoilers section for this review because the twists are so good I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. If you are reading this section and haven’t yet read the book I highly recommend you turn away, run from your screen and don’t look back! The major spoiler is of course that Alice is in fact a story from her “grandmother’s” book. She is Alice Three Times (though we never hear her full story what we do hear is super creepy). I loved that she ended up being a story that her mother stole, it explained why she felt so out of place in the human world. The next pretty big spoiler is a two for one, Ellery is murdered, or so we think, since it turns out he survived and spent the next however many years trying to save Alice. I wish we got a bit more backstory for him, I want to know what he got up to all those years she was trapped in her story again. Though I was sad that he didn’t come back to our world in the end, I can’t say I was surprised, it fit his character. That’s all I will say for now, for the rest of the dark mysteries you will just have to pick up a copy of the book for yourself!
Have you read this book, what were your thoughts? what do you think of original fairytales? let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you guys!