Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Mellisa Albert
“Because if you’ve spent your whole life running, how do you learn to stand still? How do you figure out the right way to turn your straw house into brick?”
This review does not contain any spoilers for The Hazel Wood.
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.
This synopsis was found here on Goodreads.
Hello and welcome to yet another review! I am always in for a new fantasy book to read, and therefore I am very glad that a good friend of mine recommended this book to me. I mean, I saw it all over Instagram, so it already had spiked my interest. However, I will tell you that it is the best to go into this book without any expectations at all. While this certainly is a good fantasy book, for me it did not live up to the hype. Right after reading it, I rated it 4 out of 5 stars, but when I’m writing this review, I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t rate it 3.5.
For me, the beginning of the book was very slow. The story only started picking up after page 70 or so, and for me, that is too late in a book. I’d rather see loads of action right of the bat. The first 70 or 80 pages took me two weeks to get through. I just didn’t spike my interest at all, and if it hadn’t been so hyped, I probably wouldn’t have come further than page 50.
However, around page 100 things finally got more interesting. You follow Alice and Finch on their search for Alices’ mother, Ella. Sadly, I did not like Alice all that much. She doesn’t really have much character development and is very hard headed. Ellery Finch, however, I loved. He is funny, daring, and makes for a good friend.
Finally, the storyline. As I said before, I found the beginning quite slow. I would have liked it better if there was more happening in the first few chapters of this book. When the story does finally pick up, it goes crazy really fast. There are things happening at every corner the two main characters turn, and when they think they can finally catch their breath, there’s another thing coming at them. I really liked this part of the books as there was finally progress in the story. From there on it’s a whirlwind of dangerous situations and running away from evil. I loved it.
The ending of the book, however, seemed quite rushed. It was almost as if each character got two pages dedicated to them so the story could be finished. It was very very rushed in my opinion, which is something I loathe. I would have liked it better if the ending was a bit slower and more in depth.
I liked Melissa Alberts writing style a lot. She writes in a funny yet mysterious way and (in action situations) makes it unable for you to put the book down. I would have liked it better if we got more information on some characters at the end of the book, and some more character development overall wouldn’t have hurt, either. I’m not sure if there is supposed to be a sequel or a prolonged ending, as there isn’t much news to find on that topic
Explicit scenes of violence
References to sex
I hope you all enjoyed this review and if you’ve read the book, please do not hesitate to post a comment with your thoughts on it!