Book Club: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The white title nestled in twisting green foliage suits the novel. The font is reminiscent of old-fashioned hand-lettering and has sharp edges that give the impression of violence.
In a town twined so closely with magic, you’d hardly expect to find ordinary characters here. And happily, you don’t. The characters in Darkest Part are all unique – some of them making themselves unique because they were not born, blessed or cursed so. There’s the human and his changeling ‘brother’, the girl who hunts Fae and her brother who cannot escape what they gave him – no matter how much he tries.
I’d really want to say all of them, but I guess that Hazel stands out the most for me. A bit dull considering that it’s a point in the book that everyone loves her – but I’m no exception. She’s fierce and determined and happy to be selfish if it means finding her vocation even when she knows that her vocation is not the slightest bit nice.
Probably Alderking. Not because he was evil and you were supposed to hate him, but because I didn’t really feel much of anything for him.
A horned boy sleeps in a glass coffin nestled in the woods. Through the long years, parties have pulsed around him, artists have painted him and two siblings have tried everything they could think of to free him.
Fairfold is a town buried in the heart of an enchanted forest. Its citizens have learnt to adapt to the strange and sometimes terrifying creatures they live alongside. When the horned boy wakes, Fairfold is about to get a whole lot more dangerous.
I wasn’t sure that I liked where this story was going, but wound up loving the ending.
I read this in about a day while I was visiting my aunt because I’m the kind of person who will abandon my own kin if a book is good enough. Holly Black just has this way of writing characters that you want to spend time with – and one book was not enough with these guys. This feels like a stand-alone, but I will live in hope that it will turn into a trilogy.
“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
A nest of hair and gnawed bone
You are never, ever coming –”
There are a couple of different covers to this book. I have an ARC (advanced review copy) Mine has the forestry against a brownie-orange backdrop, much like the ebook and the hardcover.
Holly has crafted some truly fun characters in this one.
I would have to say Hazel. The girl kicks butt and is unapologetic about keeping her people safe.
There’s a boy in the darkest part of the forest, in an enchanted sleep, held within a glass coffin.
Hazel wakes him up and the crap hits the fan.
Dude! Read it and find out.
Holly Black can be a little hit and miss for me, but this book was a bullseye. I adore stand alone books that have you chomping at the bit for more. It would be great to have a bunch of books from the same reality, but not necessarily needing to be read in any particular order.
“Maybe. Just the other day, she made Carter carry dried holly berries in the pocket of his jacket. He got mad and chucked one at me. They sting like a bitch.” ~Jack talking to Ben
It’s eye catching, cute yet ominous. I prefer the white background over the the orange/brown one, personal preference.
Main character, Hazel she’s a very strong character, opinionated, and unselfish. Speaks her mind and is loyal.
Ben- Hazel’s brother. Somewhat competitive and some protective. He was bestowed the magic of music talent when he was young and is very gifted.
Severin-Horned boy coffin. He is focused and determined; on a mission, but finds time to make friends and build relationships with other characters.
Severin- Because he’s different and has a great back story.
Ben and Hazel’s parents. Nothing specifically regarding each, but I felt that the way they raised Hazel and Ben, and it’s contrast to how they are now, was sad.
The introduction of the world and characters. They live next to a forest that has creatures of all kinds. Hazel likes to fight with her sword and pretend she is a knight. She is very protective of her brother. We learn of her guilt regarding a kiss that went horribly wrong, and Ben’s loss of his magic of music. Also there are ominous hints regarding a bargain that Hazel made, unknown to the other characters and readers until further along in the book.
From the jacket: “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?”
I really enjoyed the ending, things came full circle nicely, even though there was a bit of a surprise decision made. It fitted with the overall emotions of the book and made sense.
Once I finished reading the book, I sat and thought about if for a while. The characters really made the story for me and I found them admirable. The world building is imaginative and story line is exciting and full of adventure. I liked this book, and I recommend it.
“Hazel kissed boys for all kinds of reasons — because they were cute, because she was a little drunk, because she was bored, because they let her, because it was fun, because they looked lonely, because it blotted out her fears for a while, because she wasn’t sure how many kisses she had left.”
“You and your sister are very dear to each other. To show your regard, you give each other lovely bouquets of lies.”
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 5th 2015 by Indigo (first published January 13th 2015)
ISBN 1780621736 (ISBN13: 9781780621739
Everyone has more than one self – though maybe not as noticeably as Hazel. Which of your selves do you not trust?
Hazel is overwhelmingly filled with thoughts of kissing. Funny side topic or distracting angst?
There are some side stories in which we learn about the townsfolk’s interactions with the creatures of the forest; which was your favourite?