The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published: January 30th, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
*Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*
DNF at 60%
I wanted to like this book so badly. It was so promising and the little tales throughout were so damn good but, alas here we are. The problems for me were how SLOW it was. It took FOREVER for something to happen and when it did happen I was still really bored. It was a whole lot of nonsense that I think just spoiled the whole thing for me.
First, the characters were just unlikeable especially Alice. Alice was very rude, arrogant, and always had an issue and I just wasn’t here for it. She lacked depth and complexity which would be needed to make these traits acceptable. I couldn’t stand how she kept so much vital information to herself and never seemed to communicate. The side characters were so bland and unmemorable. I don’t remember anyone’s name besides Ella which was so weird that she kept calling her mom but also Ella.
The plot was very confusing for me. At first, it was making sense but then when she got to the fairytale-like forest and the characters from the book came around it just got so weird. I am the hugest fantasy fan and I love a whimsical story but this was so whimsical that it made no sense. I feel like the author focused more on making this whimsical fantasy world rather than actually building a plot with these elements.
The writing was ok but it was very dreamy and had nonsensical prose. It was a lot of saying what no one meant and talking in riddles. This was not a dark and gritty fairy tale it was Alice in Wonderland without the wonder.
I really loved the mini fairy tales that we got throughout the book that was about the only thing that made sense. Those stories were what I thought The Hazel Wood would be about. They were dark, gritty, creepy, and full of fairy tale goodness without all the nonsense the actual story has.
Apparently, there was romance happening but that wasn’t even something I cared for. The plot twists were very anticlimactic and I felt them coming from a mile away. Like the guy apparently working for the people looking for her? That whole scene was so weird and I was like what is even happening.
It really wasn’t for me but I am sure someone will enjoy it and find something beautiful in the metaphors.