Choosing books for this spooky season was tough since I wanted to read what I already own. Thankfully, I had some obvious choices, but I had to do some research about a few others, including The Hazel Wood. When I heard about its creepy fairy tales, I knew that I had to read it.
The beginning of the book felt strange, told in Alice’s memories of her life running from one city to the next with her mother. She tells about her grandmother, Althea Prosperpine, and the strange book of fairy tale’s that she’s known for: Tales of the Hinterland. Alice never knew her grandmother but feels an inherent connection to the crazy legend of her. After Alice’s mother is kidnapped, she joins Hinterland fan Ellery Finch in a road trip to find the famed Hazel Wood estate to rescue her mother.
This novel was weird. There were a ton of flashbacks, which I know a lot of people don’t like. None of these brought me out of the story, but I did feel like there were too many of them. There were moments that should have felt tense but weren’t. It did read a little bit younger in the writing style, but the content brought it up to a young adult level. It’s creepy and full of interesting fairy tales about death, murder, and revenge.
The characters in this novel are all quite complex, though telling you about them would be spoilers. I can talk about Alice in the beginning of the novel, however. I wasn’t a fan of her for a while. Her personality made sense until she started mentioning and acting on this rage that she deals with. There wasn’t anything to explain why this was a thing and it got to me for a while. But have faith! By the end of the book, it made so much sense. Ellery Finch could have been a more developed character and I would have liked him better. It brings me to the conclusion that this book is very plot-driven and even though the plot was amazing, I prefer character-driven novels. That’s why I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars instead of 4/5.
I highly recommend this book to fans of fairy tale retellings. Though it doesn’t touch on existing fairy tales, the ones that have been created for this world are incredibly interesting and so much darker.
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