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.
I’m sad to say that I’m a little disappointed by this book. I had some pretty high hopes for this story. I thought it was going to be the perfect seasonal read for the spooky season. But this story was more than I was hoping for.
I loved the idea behind the book. Fairytales come to life. But they’re not the fairytales we all know and love. They’re twisted and dark and even a little scary. I was so here for this idea. I love some twisted fairytales. This was sadly the best part of the book.
Our main character, Alice, was annoying. She was a flawed girl which is something I usually like but I think it was overdone. I’m not going to spill any of the beans. But the plot twist involving her was predictable and I just didn’t love it. I also didn’t like that we never actually got to hear her whole story (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read the book.) She has some serious anger issues and was so frustrating. She has it in her head that she needs to go to this incredibly dangerous place, the Hinterland, to rescue her mother. Okay a quest, I get that. What I don’t get is why make it sound so dangerous and have literally everyone tells you not to go so that when Alice ignores them and goes anyway it makes her look dumb.
I think this story had so much potential but got really confusing toward the end. Once Alice goes into the Hinterland the story gets really screwy. This was a little annoying because the first half of the book is her just trying to find the Hinterland. So half the book was pretty slow with little bits of excitement and the last half of the book was nothing but excitement. The pace was a little off and could have been done differently.
I also alternated my reading of this book between audiobook and paper copy. The audiobook was excellent. I’m not sure who the narrator was but she did an excellent job telling the story. I feel like I’m kind of picky when it comes to audiobook narrators, so I have to start remembering the narrators I do like to find other books narrated by them.
Anyway, I had high hopes for The Hazel Wood because of the hype surrounding it. So while I was a little disappointed with the story, I don’t want to say that it was bad. But I don’t think that it lives up to all of the hype surrounding the story. It was definitely super creepy/ spooky though so it’s a great read for the spooky season. Let me know what you thought of The Hazel Wood in the comments!
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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