Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Mellisa Albert
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Page Count: 368
Release Date: Jan 30, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
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.
First off let’s all take a moment to appreciate the stunning beauty of the cover. It practically beckons readers to come forth and read the pages within!
Speaking of those pages, this story is one that will draw you in with it’s eerie tone and mystery that keeps the story going. Alice is the heroine who is on a mission to save her kidnapped mother from a place that she was always warned to avoid: Hinterland, a brutal world written in her grandmother’s stories. Now Alice must journey to the Hazel Wood estate where her grandmother died in order to find answers. Luckily, though Alice might disagree on that remark, she is joined by her classmate Ellery Finch, whose an avid fan of the Hinterland stories that Alice’s grandmother wrote.
But before they arrive at Hazel Wood the duo needs to avoid characters of Hinterland’s stories that are both deadly and determined to capture Alice.
This book was dark and not usually my normal read considering I love fairy tales that have a bright and light tone to them. I was pleasantly surprised by how hooked I became to this book! Alice and Finch were up against the unknown and reacted to each scenario in trueness to their character. At first it was hard to love Alice, especially when Finch is the embodiment of a bibliophile who can quote lines of a book and fanboy about his interests whole-heartedly. Despite this Alice had a charm about her as well that slowly grew on me, but it wasn’t until the last few chapters that I actually realized this.
The ending left me wanting for more with Hinterland, the Hazel Wood and a certain character who now travels through other worlds. I. NEED. THEIR. BOOK. My heart honestly hurt a little when previous characters throughout the book made a final appearance and I was not ready to say goodbye to them. The ending was still satisfactory and answered many questions that appeared throughout the plot.
If you’re a fan of dark fairytales that doesn’t shy away from the grisly details that raise the stakes in terms of keeping you at the edge of your seat in suspense The Hazel Wood will likely appeal to you!
ARC received during Barnes & Noble’s B-Fest.
Do you have a favorite fairy tale that you would like to see “modernized” or spun in a dark twisted retelling?