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"The Hazel Wood" Book Review

Reading is one of many passions Victoria has. She is always one of the first people her friends ask when in need of a good book!

"The Hazel Wood" review

"The Hazel Wood" review

The Hazel Wood Summary

Alice has been on the road with her mother for as long as she can remember running from what they call the bad luck. Everywhere they go, bad things start happening after a short period of time- if not to them, then to those around them, and then it's time to relocate. Alice doesn't mind traveling around with her mother, Ella, but when her mother receives a letter informing her of her mother's death, she decides to settle down. After entering a loveless marriage, it seems the bad luck is no longer following them until one day when Alice is returning home from school and she finds her home vacant. Alice's life has never been normal. She has a fiery hot temper and a personality cold as ice. Sadly, her mother has always been her foundation and what kept her together when she felt her emotions falling apart. Now it's Alice's turn to come to her mother's rescue, but what lies behind all her mother's secrets is much more than Alice ever expected.

There's no way out without first going in.

— Melissa Albert - The Hazel Wood

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What I Didn't Enjoy

Overall, I did enjoy this book quite a bit, but there are some elements of the story I feel I should warn you to venture into the Hinterland.

  • Slow start: When I began this novel I was expecting a fairytale. I wasn't disappointed, but it took a while to get there. Then when Alice's mother was taken I was expecting some ghastly, ghoulish creatures to come after her or the bad luck to play a more prominent role, but I found my expectations on this front weren't 100% met. There are some fairyland modern societal crossovers, but in general, it wasn't as urgent as I felt it should have been.
  • Un-relatable characters: The characters in this novel, intriguing as they are, seem to have a hollowness to them, a lack of multiple emotions. They felt singular and vague. This, as a result, made it hard as the reader to honestly like and connect with them. That being said it does improve by the end, however, I feel personally as a reader it's the beginning of a novel that is supposed to initially build that relationship between reader and character.

What I Liked

  • The world-building: When you first start this novel, you will find yourself in the east end of New York like in Gossip Girl. There is not much picturesqueness to this, and, I honestly advise you to read until you get to the Hinterland. It was beautifully written, dark, unorthodox and defied the laws of the universe we are all so familiar with. Once I followed the breadcrumbs to this part of the novel I was completely enveloped. Now, I have yet to read Alice in Wonderland, but I imagine the euphoria I felt while reading Albert's depictions of the Hinterland was much like falling down the rabbit hole for the first time.

Look until the leaves turn red, sew the worlds up with thread. If your journey's left undone, fear the rising of the sun.

— Melissa Albert

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  • Excellent Plot: I wasn't sure what I was expecting out of the plot of this novel, but it certainly was not what I received. Though the twists and turns weren't so unpredictable considering it's a novel based on fairytales. I was not expecting the plot to develop in the way it did. That's part of what made it so immersive.
  • Easy reading: The Hazel Wood is considered a young adult novel and therefore reads very simply and easily. There were no moments in this story where I felt confused or dazed unnecessarily as I have with some of my past reads. Even in some of the most radical parts of this novel I could fluently visualize everything that was happening both to and around our main character Alice.
  • The End: Without giving anything away, I must inform you of how satisfying the ending of this novel was for me. Though it was somewhat predictable it wasn't a totally happy ending like the reader would have expected while entering this story. I say it's satisfying but honestly, it leaves you in that unsettling half-full feeling which is perfect for the type of story that this is.
The book hole

The book hole

My Final Thought's

Overall, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was well worth the read! It's not so romantic that it's disgusting, it has Grimms' brother fairytale vibes all over it and there's an air of mystery that keeps the reader going. If you're looking for an easy read that's dark and light all at the same time, this is the read for you. Plus if you really enjoy it, there's a second book in the series called The Night Country.

Thanks for reading my article for more like it check out my Hubpages, otherwise I would love to read your comments on the best fairy-tale/classics remake you've read!

Comments

Victoria Cook (author) from Ontario on November 14, 2018:

Thanks Poppy I will definitely take a look! Also I agree the cover is definitely what first grabbed my attention!

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 14, 2018:

What a beautiful front cover! I love fantasy books. I think you would enjoy The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross.

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