- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (January 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316213071
- ISBN-13: 978-0316213073
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 347 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Darkest Part of the Forest Hardcover – January 13, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Fairfold is no ordinary town. Its citizens live in uneasy détente with the surrounding forest's magical Folk. Like most residents, siblings Hazel and Ben fear and desire the magic that hovers just out of reach. The Fae gifted Ben with a supernatural musical ability that he cannot control. Hazel's own bargain with the Folk causes her many sleepless nights. Fairfold's fragile equilibrium tips when Hazel frees imprisoned Prince Severin, setting in motion a war with Severin's father, the Faerie king. Hazel and Ben will have to confront long-buried secrets if they want their town to survive. Once again, Black examines the intersection between self-reliance and guilt. Neither Hazel nor Ben nor Hazel's love interest, Jack, can combat the Faerie attack until they reveal their secret desires, often transformed and augmented by Folk magic. Black deeply embeds these conflicts in her story, but anecdotes and flashbacks pull readers away from present action, curiously slowing the pacing into a dreamlike holding pattern. Action scenes pepper the story, but the author's detailed world-building continually restrains the pace. Lush settings juxtapose the wild, alien nature of Faerie against the normalcy of mortal existence. Familiar tropes like Hazel's romance with changeling Jack and her conflict with the Faerie king will not surprise readers much, although Ben's crush on Prince Severin provides interest. While not Black's best, it is still better than most teen fantasy. Pair with the faster-paced "Modern Faerie Tales" (S. & S.), or, for a satisfying slow build and dense setting, try Robin McKinley's novels.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
"Lush settings juxtapose the wild, alien nature of Faerie against the normalcy of mortal existence."―School Library Journal
*"Black returns here to the dark faery realm that spurred her initial success, and if anything, she's only gotten better, writing with an elegant, economical precision and wringing searing emotional resonance from the simplest of sentences."―The Bulletin, starred review
*"Black returns to the realm of faerie for her latest novel, and the results, as any of her fans would expect, are terrific."―VOYA, starred review
"Black's stark, eerie tone; propulsive pacing; and fulsome world building will certainly delight her legion of fans."―Booklist
"This edgy, dark fantasy will be a hit with young adults who like their magical creatures to live in a recognizably contemporary world."―Library Media Connection
"Like a true fairy tale, Black's story weds blinding romance and dark terrors, but her worthy heroes are up to the challenge of both."―The Horn Book
"It's an enjoyable read with well-developed characters and genuine chills...."―Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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Holly Black is truly a hidden gem. I do not know why I have not already been devouring her books for years, but I am so glad I am able to now. This story was lovely. I love how the darkest of things such as child neglect, prejudice, and self doubt are turned to strength, love, and friendship. I give this book 5 stars.
In this story Hazel and her brother Ben have been raised by neglectful parents in the town of Fairfold which borders on the land of the fae. Strange things have always happened in their town, including a fairy boy that they have imagined to be a prince trapped in a glass casket in town. The boy in the casket has been there as long as people can remember. Ben and Hazel feel a special connection to the boy, so when he has finally been freed from his casket and things begin to get worse for their town they feel drown to find the fairy boy and figure out why. In the process they learn the secrets they have been holding from each other and the secrets they have even held from theirselves. It is a masterful fairytale with adventure, suspense, friendship, and beautiful romance.
'I loved him and I loved him and he's dead and gone and bones. Dead and gone and bones.'
Tell me that line does not give you the hebejebes. The creepiness in this book was completely unexpected and I loved it! You have a monster terrorizing a small town, a mysterious horned boy, and a high school girl who is in the middle of it all.
There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book. Holly Black brings to life a vivid world of ancient faerie wildness (the folk) juxtaposed with life in a modern small town. She also flips traditional fairy tale stereotypes on their head by allowing Hazel to be the brave knight and Ben gets his prince.
This might be my therapist self talking, but it was some of the underlying themes that enchanted me the most. I thought Sorrow was a beautiful depiction as to how grief and depression can grip our body and soul, isolating us and sometimes making us into someone we don't recognize. I also thought how she showed the long lasting impact of childhood trauma and neglect, was well done. These experiences led Hazel and Ben to a path were they held the burden of deeply buried secrets that kept people at arms length, including each other. I loved that through their trials and relationships they were able to recognize some of these wounds and be triumphant over their past in the end. I also thought the reaction of the town to Jack was really relevant to today. People often point fingers at those that are different instead of looking inward for the solution to the challenges they face. Finally, I seriously may have cheered when Jack's parents told off the towns people. #parentinggoals
All in all... Ms. Black did end up with a new fan. This was an engaging, well-paced adventure with just the right about of romance. I am looking forward to reading the rest of her work!
Recommended for fans of: YA Fantasy, Faeries, Magic, Stand alone novels, YA Romance
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