Last month I posted a review on The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black that I received in my January 2018 OwlCrate.
For February 2018, OwlCrate curated a ‘Fearsome Fairy tales’ box that included a much buzzed about YA new release. Thankfully, from the clues given by OwlCrate I was able to suppress the urge to purchase the novel until my exclusive cover came in the mail.
What did I think of OwCrate’s book pick for February 2018? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
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The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert
Publisher: Flatiron Books (January 30, 2018)
Print Length: 359 pages
Audiobook Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
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.
The Hazel Wood is a dazzling debut by Melissa Albert that recognizes the classic conventions of fairy tales and wholeheartedly ignores them.
The Hazel Wood follows seventeen-year-old Alice Crewe as she tries to navigate the Hinterland, a world her grandmother created in her novel, Tales from the Hinterland, in order to rescue her mother from killer fairy tales.
First things first, if you are a fan of dark and eerie fairy tales, as per the Brother’s Grimm, this book is definitely for you. Albert’s writing had a way of ensnaring the dark parts of my brain and spilling them out on the page. Even the sections of The Hazel Wood that take place in modern New York have a dark and twisty feel to them, finally a novel that embraces the sinister side of fairy tales.
I definitely had a love/hate relationship with Albert’s main character, Alice. While I could see similarities between this story’s protagonist and Alice from Alice in Wonderland, there is a distinction found in both age, language, and motivations. I rather enjoyed seeing that Alice was motivated out of the love she had for her mother and not from a romantic relationship. Speaking of romance, if you are looking for a YA fantasy with romance this book isn’t necessarily for you. While there is a glimmer of something between Alice and another character, given the nature of twisted fairy tales, it doesn’t end well so to speak.
I suppose the only reason I didn’t rate this higher is because I listened to the audiobook rather than read the physical copy. While I have nothing against Rebecca Soler’s interpretation of the text, when I looked through the physical copy each chapter is illustrated with something important and each fairy tale snip it is decorated to let the reader know there is a difference in the text. Just goes to show that I should have looked into the book rather than jumping on the audiobook bandwagon.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. Do you have any urban fantasy recommendations that you think I should check out? Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.