Monday, January 22, 2018

ARC Review: The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)

About The Book:
  Title: The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1) 
  Author: Melissa Albert
  Pub. Date: January 30th, 2018
  Publisher: Flatiron Books 
  Pages: 368 
  Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
  Rate: 4/5 stars 

Synopsis :

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.


"When Alice was born, her eyes were black from end to end, 
and the midwife didn't stay long enough to wash her." 

This one was a creepy read, and I am not kidding when I say CREEPY. At times, I found my hair standing up and goosebumps down my arms. Melissa Albert weaves several dark fairytales into one masterful novel when Alice's mother was snatched up and her world was rocked. Alice becomes even more on edge when she starts sensing people are following her,  people who she remembers seeing when she was a very young girl. And when Alice teams up with a classmate, Finch, to find her mother, she also finds out there is more to the bad luck that has been happening around her for her entire life. Alice and Finch set in search of the mysterious Hazel Wood, the house her grandmother lived in. But as they get closer, they start to realize things are off. There are more murders and more unexplainable events happening the closer they get. And the stories told in 'Tales from the Hinterland', her Grandmother's book, are becoming more and more realistic.

When I read the description to this story, I was honestly kind of like 'meh'. I thought it was going to be a YA contemporary/mystery of a broken family trying to find each other once again. Boy was I wrong, this book is a fairytale of epic proportions. And once I finally figured out what was happening in this story, I became completely in love. The constant plot-twists had me turning the pages faster and faster. Alice's grandmother, Althea, wrote the weirdest fairytales in 'Tales of the Hinterland' and Alice could just not seem to get her hands on the book (because they disappear from everywhere). Creepy stories, wicked characters, and the whimsy we feel while in Wonderland makes The Hazel Wood a fantastic fantasy read.

"Look until the leaves turn red,
sew the worlds up with thread.
If your journey's left undone,
fear the rising of the sun." 

While the ending was satisfaction enough for me, I definitely would have preferred a good cliff-hanger hanger, especially because there are more books coming out set in this world. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for them, but I'm most excited for Tales From the Hinterland. I'm guessing this is going to be a bind up of these creepy fairytales (I really want to read The Sea Cellar). For fans of Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland and Holly Black's Darkest Part of the Forest, I feel like this book is right up your ally.

- Jocelyn

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