I would like to thank Penguin Random House Children’s Publishers and Melissa Albert for sending me this ARC via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a 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 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.
To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began
Before reading The Hazel Wood, I naughtily read a few different reviews on the book – mainly for the hype. I was surprised to see that the book had gained some negative reviews. I’m a complete sucker for fantasy books, I wasn’t going to let some bad reviews put me off!
Firstly, let’s talk about Alice. I loved her so much; I thought she was a wonderful character. Her sassy and negative attitude towards life and other people I absolutely adored.
I found myself chuckling over certain things she would say or do. She was entertaining.
I’ve been looking for a character with a bit of spark; someone that you are either going to love or hate. Alice definitely fits into the category. You are really going to either love or hate her. Thankfully, I love her.
Her spark doesn’t just stop there, she will literally do anything to save her mother. Alice’s mother is her best friend and very clearly, her only friend in the world.
I found Alice to be a somewhat relatable character. I considered myself quite an angry person at times – hating the world. Bonus? Reading about Alice working in a coffee shop. I have worked in coffee shops for a number of years now and I can totally relate to her anger and sass towards customers!?
Okay moving on to the story itself. If you’ve read some reviews, then yes, roughly half of the book takes place in New York. I strongly disagree that it was “boring”. It was exciting. The pace of the story was steady; I enjoyed the backstory, learning about Alice and her mother. It adds to the build-up of the world, making it more intense. My face was glued to my tablet because I just had to know what was going to happen.
I enjoyed the “developing” friendship with Finch, I say “developing” because Alice clearly needs to work on her people skills, bless her. What was better? What made me so amazingly happy that I could sing from the rooftops. No romance.
THANK YOU, MELISSA.
Amazing to have a guy and girl on an adventure together without having to suck each other’s face off. So thank you.
My only downside, funnily enough, the fantasy side. I became a tad bit lost in it all. Perhaps I enjoyed the first half so much that the Hazel Wood section didn’t do it as much for me. Nevertheless, I still loved it and it was just as intense.
Melissa writes beautiful, bewitching you with her enchanting spell that is her writing. She draws you into the world of the Hinterland so that you may never want to leave.
Go out and read this book. Oh, I really insist.