Friday, November 8, 2019

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Book: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Series: The Hazel Wood #1
Publication: January 30, 2019

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.

I will admit: when I first picked this book up, I was expecting something different. A classical tale, fairy tale-esque. Though there were elements of it, the book itself had a much more urban feel to it.

The plot of the story itself is set up in a compelling way; you have a girl, Alice, who seems to have a knack for bad luck. Then one day, a letter mysteriously appears stating that Alice's grandmother, the author of a set of popular dark fairytales, is dead. And then Alice's mother disappears. And the only natural thing to do is embark on a quest to find her, of course with the help of a local boy. And it turns out all those dark fairy tales might not be fairy tales after all. See? Fascinating.


The Hinterland. Where everything began happening. That's where the book began to lose me. The world itself was very intriguing, but just a tad overly complex. I felt like there could have been a bit more time developing it. And Alice's role in the Hinterland, or more precisely her escape...I don't know, it just felt like of force and blunt. There wasn't really much build up to the final climax; it just kind of happened. Alice herself didn't really do much, in my opinion. And what happened to Finch...I definitely felt a bit confused, because at no point did I feel like the story hinted at what became of him. So it felt odd.

All in all, not a bad book. It's quite interesting, really, the concept. But I'm just not sure how it fits into my overall satisfaction of dark fairytales...


  1. Ooh this is a very interesting perspective, because all of the reviews I read seems to love Hitherland more than the real world. Therefore, they all said that the story started out very slowly and they only got interested when Hitherland started to get mentioned. It's really interesting that you feel the other way around, I can't wait to read this in December!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Huh, that's so interesting to hear! I don't know, it just started feeling strange to me once the Hinterland part came up. Maybe I'm just weird?