I was going to refrain from posting this review since I’m not *technically* done with the book yet, but I can’t help myself. You guys. You need to read The Darkest Part of the Forest.
This little piece of awesomeness was crafted by Holly Black. I’ve always been drawn to her stories – fundamentally enchanting, slightly creepy, and gorgeous. You just can’t argue with craft like that. She worked with Tony DiTerlizzi on The Spiderwick Chronicles (read the books, skip the movie), in case you were wondering.
When it comes to faery folk, forest monsters, and elves, Black knows how to weave a tale. You can check out the Goodreads summary of the plot, but here’s what you need to know: Hazel lives in a small town called Fairfold, and when she was little she used to hunt the monsters in the forest. She and her brother are fascinated with a horned boy sleeping Snow-White-style in the forest. After her family moves to Philadelphia so her slightly older brother Ben can go to a fancy music school, Hazel all but loses her “knighthood”. After they move back home a few years later, she starts getting creepy notes hidden in nutshells and waking up with muddy feet with no memory of the night before.
Why is it enchanting, creepy, and gorgeous? It’s all about Black’s masterful use of the English language. I would literally read pages of her describing a landscape and nothing else. Or a mug of tea. Even the mundane, under Black’s eye, bursts into life.
Every time I read something by Black (not one of her team projects, mind you), I come away thinking that her representation of the cruel and oftimes insane faery folk is one of the best I’ve seen. Sure, the faery world is pretty and magical, but if you turn your back on the forest, it’ll get you. The folk are dangerous, and their blessings tend to be curses in fancy clothes.
Every character Hazel comes in contact with is well-drawn and interesting. Hazel is a fantastic heroine. She makes choices she regrets, fights for the people she loves, and isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done. When the twists and turns of Black’s plot really kick in, Hazel proves beyond a doubt that her primary identifier should be “badass”. Maybe “ginger badass” if you need two words.
Oh, and as always, here’s a mini review of the voice actress Lauren Fortgang’s reading of the book: ERMAHGERD AMAZING.
That is all.
Michelle would like to remind the world that it's fall, and it's not supposed to be so dumb hot any more. Please.