Book Review: Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. As far as Hazel Evans knew, from what her parents said to her and from what their parents said to them, he’d always been there. And no matter what anyone did, he never, ever woke up.”

This is the very first paragraph in the book and I already know what it happening. This is an absolutely brilliant way to start a story. Simple and well written. It gives off a fairy tale vibe and I think this writing style was what made it such a fast read for me. Beautifully crafted Holly Black! I felt like I was there, seeing and feeling like a part of the town which was critical in this story.

I absolutely loved the concept of Hazel having two personalities (which is not something I usually like but it worked) one during the day and another at night. It was ingenious! The eeriness that encased the town of Fairfold gave the story a dark tone and I liked that. Faeries often get a bad rep (as some should) because of their trickster mentality and having a character from that world, born from that world but raised by humans, like Jack was a great addition to this story because it added another level to the plot. Especially when the town started to think it was his fault because he’s one of them (classic, right?) It was just so good!

“Want my help?” she said. “Then tell me what you did to Amanda.” As she spoke, she fumbled in the pocket of her coat for her cell phone. He might be a magical creature, a real knight, but he’d still been asleep for a hundred years. She bet he didn’t know shit about modern technology.”

Brilliant! Hazel was thinking on her feet in that moment and it was just so smart! This really showed how strong her character was in spite of the fearful situations she ultimately found herself in. This happens right after the society norm is changed, the boy in the glass coffin is no longer asleep, she has no idea if he is a friend or a foe, like the current situation would show, it’d be the latter and yet she holds her ground and uses what she knows to her advantage! Like come on now, she’s been hunting faeries since she was 8? She’s got this! Hazel is a prime example of a strong heroine and this really helped the book shine!

But Hazel isn’t the only character I want to mention, this is after all about a sister and a brother. Ben was gifted with the ability of music as an infant and yes he came to hate it, even to the point of harming himself by breaking his fingers so he could no longer play but in the end he uses that curse to save them. It was so interesting to see that this ability was not liked by him because it seemed so innocent, it just made this story more unique and interesting because when you think of this gift, that’s what you see it as, a gift but with Ben it wasn’t and that was refreshing and different.

Can we just take a moment for Ben and Severin because they are absolutely adorable together! And when Severin said that he loved him I think I nearly died! It was just so beautiful! (yes, I had to include it!)

“Ben,” Severin called as he slumped to the ground. “Benjamin Evans, you’re wrong, but you’re not stupid.”

“What?” Ben called back from where he stood, at the edge of the cage, the broken fingers of his hands curling around the bars. His gaze flickered between Severin and Hazel, as though he wasn’t sure whom he feared for more.

“I love you,” Severin said, looking up, looking at nothing at all, his face exultant. “I love you like in the story books. I love you like in the ballads. I love you like a lightning bolt. I’ve loved you since the third month you came and spoke with me. I loved that you made me want to laugh. I loved the way you were kind and the way you would pause when you spoke, as though you were waiting for me to answer you. I love you and I am mocking no one when I kiss you, no one at all.”

Just adorable!

This book was a story with several stories woven throughout and that just made it 10 times better to read. I was expecting a fairy tale atmosphere and having stories written and weaved into the dialogue really brought that concept home. Fairy tales are passed down just like that, with one generation telling another and Black was able to incorporate that into this so well!!

Everything was wrapped up nicely with no loose ends and even the ending left readers thinking that they were finishing up a fairy tale.

“And elsewhere in the woods, there is another party, one taking place inside a hollow hill, full of night-blooming flowers. There, a pale boy plays a fiddle with newly mended fingers while his sister dances with his best friend. There, a monster whirls about, branches waving in time with the music. There, a prince of the Folk takes up the mantle of a king, embracing a changeling like a brother, and, with a human boy at his side, names a girl his champion.”

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