Hey guys! So I am about to change your life with this EPIC book that I just finished. The Hazel Wood is a combination of so many of my favorite things. It’s got magic, it’s got fairy tales, it’s got beautiful imagery, it’s got dark dark dark stories. Basically, it’s the perfect read for me.
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.
So I loved this story. It was deliciously dark, full of beautiful imagery, and completely original. The Hazel Wood drew from many classic fairy tales, but its story was completely its own. This novel wove together the gritty feel of New York with the hauntingly beautiful world of the Hinterland, a fairy tale world more in the style of Grimm than Disney. I personally loved the juxtaposition of vibrant, loud, modern New York with the beautifully described, dark, classic Hinterland.
The plotting and pacing of this book was nuanced and creative. The novel itself feels like a waking dream, or maybe a nightmare. It is twisted and full of turns through the wilds of Hinterland, and the structure of the novel follows that style. The reader feels as though they have been immersed in the world of Hinterland, and as we float and careen from chapter to chapter we feel just like Alice, lost and at home at the same time in this world the author has created.
I love the aesthetic of this book. You guys may know by now that I’m a sucker for aesthetically dark novels. I love Three Dark Crowns, I can’t resist old mythology, and Six of Crows is one of my faves. This novel fit right in, full of blood and roses and nightmares and crows. It felt like a waking dream, like a Tim Burton movie crossed with Grimm’s fairy tales. It was amazing.
I also felt like this was a truly original story. So many YA’s feel like they’re just rehashing the same old thing over and over again, but this one actually managed to surprise me. I didn’t know what to expect, and while every plot twist was surprising they also felt like they fit perfectly.
Overall, I am now obsessed with this story. It’s definitely in my top 10 for this year, and I cannot stress enough how much you guys should go get it and read it. It was an incredible experience. You can get it here The Hazel Wood: A Novel
Final rating- 5/5
Thanks for reading my review, and until next time, happy reading 🙂