The Darkest Part of the Forest || Folk, Fairytales, and Beautiful Writing

the-darkest-part-of-the-forestTitle: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Author: Holly Black

Format / Length: Hardback / 328 Pages

Publisher / Date Published: Indigo / February 5th 2015

Category / Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

Source: Library


Description: 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?

Come now, my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we’d be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest?

— Kenneth Patchen

DSC_0548Three of my favourite things in fiction have to be a) beautiful writing, b) fairytales and folklore, and c) brotherly-sisterly/family relationships.

So imagine how pleased I was to open The Darkest Part of the Forest to discover that it held all three? I have to confess that this is my first novel written by Holly Black I’ve ventured into reading. Her name for as long as I can remember has been recommended in regards to contemporary fantasy — and now I’ve finally, finally, finally read one of her novels I can see why. EASILY one of my favourite novels I’ve read all year… and people, I’ve read almost a hundred of them. (Actually — 99 by the time this post goes live.)

The Folk: Cunning, tricky little beasts that live side-by-side with the people of Fairfold.

And here lay one of my favourite elements of the forest. I adored how Holly Black incorporated a contemporary world with DSC_0550the paranormal, fantasy world to create something new and beautiful and wonderful. So perhaps this might not to be everyone’s tastes, but I loved it. Pretty much, the story goes like this: horned boy sleeps in coffin, horned boy gets out of coffin, lots of cool shit goes down. That, at least, is me summing up the novel in a terribly inadequate and inelegant way.

Characters! Oh, they were wonderful.

Hazel was a likeable and fierce heroine, with her flaws, yes, but likeable enough to make me care for her. And the best part of her? SHE LIKES LISTS. So here, clearly, me and Hazel share a kinship. But Hazel wasn’t the only good character in this DSC_0551story; her brother, Ben, was also great. And Jack, the changeling brother of Carter. Oh, and have I mentioned the horned boy?

I only have one small small small small complaint.

Despite the beautiful writing and intriguing world and fairytales and folklore and all manner of other beautiful things, I felt like there were multiple parts that draaaaaaaaaaggged. And dragged a little more. I, personally, thought that was because several chapters interspersed throughout the novel were dedicated to bits and pieces of folklore and character backstory. Which is FINE. I just wish it had been done a little less… obviously. That aside, this was a fantastic novel and I can’t wait to read another Holly Black novel.

Fairytales! Folklore! Lovely writing! Is this something you’d be interested in reading? Or maybe you’ve already devoured it. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


27 thoughts on “The Darkest Part of the Forest || Folk, Fairytales, and Beautiful Writing

  1. I just started reading this when I saw your review and I am so glad you enjoyed it because so far I am loving it too and I hope I continue to do so!!! Great review :) Now I’m off to continue reading!

  2. It sounds like you enjoyed this one. The Darkest Part of the Forest is one I hope to read soon. I have it sitting on my shelf and I really just need to pick it up.

  3. I haven’t read anything by Holly Black yet, but I’m looking forward to reading this one since it’s outside what I would normally pick up. Shame it dragged in places, but yay for the contemporary/paranormal/fantasy mix!

  4. This was the first Holly Black book I read, too (Though I had previously read a short story of hers) and now I can’t wait to read more of her work. This was one of my fav reads of the year as well. I really enjoyed the brother/sister relationship in this one. Fae are my fav paranormal creatures and this just felt so original and different and I loved it. Great review, thanks for sharing.

  5. That cover is beautiful!!! I’ve been eyeing it for a while now ;) Glad you enjoyed it. I’m going to have to get it soon! Great review :D

  6. This was sooooo big a while ago and the hype machine ran it down a bit too much for me…but if I came across it at the library I think yep, I would devour it. Holly Black, after all, is not to be missed!

  7. Ooh, fairytales and folklore sound right up my alley. I’ll admit, the only other Holly Black book I’ve read (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown) I really didn’t like, so I’ve shied away from the author since — but I should give this one a try!

  8. I would love to read this just for the family/sibling relationships and dynamics alone. Such are so rare in the YA demographic, which is troubling because at the ages of thirteen to seventeen, parents and family are sitll such a vital part for a young adult’s life. I’m really looking forward to this one!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  9. The only Holly Black book I have read is a co-written one, The Iron Trial. I have been intrigued by this book and one day hope to read it. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do like beautiful writing and I love reading stories about the Fae. I think it’s great when a author can combine the ‘real’ world with a more paranormal world.

  10. Love the sound of the fairytales, folklore and the cool stuff happening. It sounds absolutely magical and wonderful! But not so much a fan of the slow draggy parts – ain’t nobody got time for that. Lovely review Kara! I still don’t know whether I’ll give this one a go.

  11. I haven’t tried Holly Black either, but I have this one and looking forward to getting around to it soon. I absolutely love lyrical writing, it could be about ninja cats who solve crime but as long as it’s lyrical, there’s a big chance I’ll end up falling in love with it. The draggy parts, that’s the issue I have with fantasy sometimes too, information and backstory aren’t woven throughout, but kinda dumped in big blocks of boredom really. I’m glad you really enjoyed this one regardless Kara and wonderful review <3

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