The Hazel Wood has been one of the most anticipated books of the year – and the hype has definitely been justified! This story is a must for those who like fractured fairy tales or retellings. Especially with a motion picture already having the green light – which makes me SO excited.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
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 Hazelwood is in the traditional fairy tale formula but is very cleverly presented as a fresh and dark tale. Surprisingly this really gripped me from the start and I COULD NOT PUT DOWN. Seriously. I really enjoyed The Cruel Prince but The Hazel Wood had me guessing and wanting desperately to know what was going to happen next.
Characters wise I really enjoyed Finch and loved how his character turned out at the end of the story. I liked his story arc – it felt different and strayed from the norm. I did feel like the ones living in the Hinterland could have benefitted with a little more but the main characters were great. Ella was very cool and it was very nice not to have a whiny heroine.
I loved the world. The Hinterland was definitely creepy and unsettling! It felt really old world fairy tale. I did feel slightly disappointed though at the big reveal. It could have been dragged out a bit more when Alice was in the Hinterland (more story please!!). The Hazel Wood was left in a way that Alice’s chapter is done. We could definitely be content with it staying that way. It is nice to read a stand-alone book – for a change!
Loved the harry potter references too 🙂