The Darkest Side of the Forest
by Holly Black
Published on January 13th, 2015
by Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 8 hours 39 minutes
Source: Purchased for Audible
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Also by this author: Doll Bones, The Iron Trial, The Iron Trial
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
That was awesome! I love Holly Black’s books and The Darkest Part of the Forrest was one of my most awaited books this year, I didn’t manage to grab an ARC at BEA last year, so I purchased it as soon as I could. Let me repeat myself: it was awesome!
“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.”
You can get a pretty good idea of what the story is about from the synopsis, so I won’t rehash it here. How much did I love The Darkest Part of the Forrest? Let me count the ways:
Great characters – I love ALL the characters. The good, the bad and the ugly. They were exceptionally crafted, especially the formidable and diverse fey. I do believe that Black is the authority on anything fairy 🙂
Intricate, twisty plot – I have saw any of the twists coming! It felt like a driving while blind: unpredictable, surprising and unexpected. I loved it! There are stories of heartbreak, of betrayal, of vengeance, revenge, justice and more.
Kick-ass heroine – Oh, Hazel! *Let me pause here and tell you that you are awesome girl* Hazel is a knight and she does knightly things. She believes on right and wrong, on magic and fairies, on fate and responsibility. She’s fiercely loyal and at the same time blocks from her mind everything that hurts. She’s afraid to love and to risk her heart because of her parents irresponsibility (more about that later!) In summary, Hazel is amazing 😉
Diversity – Jack, the changeling is of “dark” skin. Ben, Hazel’s sister is gay. They both find significant others in this story. Hazel is a knight. Ben’s first boyfriend was Indian.
“We love until we do not. For us, love doesn’t fade gradually. It snaps like a branch bent too far.”
Holly Black’s writing – Black’s writing is her own brand of amazing! It’s lyrical, expressive, memorable, and much more. The story is told in the third person POV, mostly from Hazel’s POV, but a few chapters are from Jack and Ben’s.
The only other thing I would add is that I can’t believe how irresponsible Ben and Hazel’s parents were. They are both artists that were not done “partying” before they had children. They basically left Ben and Hazel to raise themselves and roam free through the forest. I know this makes sense in the story and (I hope) shouldn’t happen in real life.
“There’s a monster in our wood. She’ll get you if you’re not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. Anest of hair and gnawed bone. You are never, ever coming… home.”
This is my first book narrated by Lauren Fortgang and it was awesome! I kid you not, this was one of the best audiobooks ever!! (*note the double exclamation*) The voices were so distinct, unique and different from each other. Everything came together to create an incredible experience. I saw that Fortgang narrated the Grisha books and I’m thinking of getting them too.