Release Date: 5th February 2015
Edition: UK proof, review copy
Other Titles by this Author: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Beyond Spiderwick, Tithe, Valiant, Ironside, White Cat, Red Glove, Black Heart, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
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 Fairfield where humans and faeries 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 centre 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 its head and ears as pointy 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 and a hero is needed to save them all, 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?
The Darkest Part of the Forest is a story of faeries princes, bargains, deadly secrets and a wonderful brother/sister relationship. It’s my favourite book of the year so far.
I’ve read most of Holly Black’s books and, for me, she’s at her best when telling the tales of those who become entangled in the dangerous webs of the fey. She manages to effortlessly capture all of the terror, the wonder, the wonder and the beauty in faery and its myriad of strange inhabitants. I can’t help but fall in love with the worlds she creates and the characters she brings to life.
But like always in The Darkest Part of the Forest, Black throws in some unexpected, wonderfully unexpected, twists. Lots of urban fantasy novels focus largely on the romantic relationship of the heroine, but I actually felt that this novel depicted a strong and authentic brother/sister relationship. The connection between Ben and Hazel is one of the strongest elements of the novel – the lengths they would go to protect each other, the secrets they keep, the inevitable competition and the love between them. But Holly Black didn’t stop there; she turned the romantic tropes of the genre on their head and I loved what she did.
I adored this sinister, twisty and completely wonderful novel from the master of dark faeries tales and I didn’t want it to end. Easily my favourite book of the year so far.
Thanks to Indigo for the review copy.