The Hazel Wood

January 30, 2018 Book Review 0

I received this ARC from Publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Hazel WoodThe Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published by Flatiron Books on January 30, 2018
Pages: 368
Source: ARC from Publisher

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 was lucky enough to receive a bound manuscript of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert in early spring. I started reading it at the end of April and absolutely devoured it. It was one of those rare books that I continued to read even though it was totally creeping me out! The dark and twisty tale was just so good! Totally worth the hours of sleep lost.
I loved it so much that I gave a blurb that was included in the later advanced copies. (Pretty sure that was a first for me. I kind of really freaked out about it!) I said:
“I absolutely loved The Hazel Wood. The characters are intriguing, the plot compelling, and the world haunting. It’s a deliciously creepy morsel of a novel. Poetic and clever in all the best ways.”
I stand by every word of that. There was just so much I loved about this one. One of the main things that stuck with me was the way Melissa Albert described things. There were certain feelings or thoughts or scents talked about in such a way that I knew exactly what she meant. This made for such a vivid reading experience. Also, the phrasing and flow of the story was just so poetic. It really brings to mind the rhythm of a folk or faery tale and leaves the reader feeling totally immersed.
And I loved that we got to hear bits and pieces of the tales from Finch! Of course I want an actual (not dangerous!) copy of Tales from the Hinterland. Since that is not a thing that exists, Finch’s retellings are the next best thing.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is disturbing and creepy, but delightfully so. If you like your stories a bit twisted you have to read this one.

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