The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 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?(source: Goodreads)

5 OUT OF 5 STARS

A brilliant blend of modern young adult and fantasy, Holly Black’s newest book is a thrilling adventure full of diverse characters. Featuring a strong female lead who manages to be strong without falling into the emotionless, unloving tough girl box a lot of writer’s pick from and several other character’s with appearances and traits that are normally suspiciously absent from fantasy novels.

Despite being about haunted woods and faeries the book delves into sexuality (both how the main character uses hers and briefly her brother discovering his) without making it seem shameful. It is a book about growing up, trust, bravery, devotion, magic and monsters.

While creating a solid setting full of rounded and interesting characters the novel also manages to explore the love not only between partner, but the love of siblings and parents as well. Hazel and Ben’s relationship is wonderfully written, managing to be both realistic and touching. Black writes her world and characters with a level of depth that is usually reserved for series and also manages to weave in a mystery that keeps you guessing  but also drops hints with brilliant foreshadowing.

It is a fairytale of modern times tied up tight with a bow. I was uncertain picking it up but from start to finish I had no regrets in reading this book.

READ THIS IF YOU’RE A FAN OF: THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN

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