The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

Book - 2015
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In the town of Fairfold, where humans and fae exist side by side, a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives awakes after generations of sleep in a glass coffin in the woods, causing Hazel to be swept up in new love, shift her loyalties, feel the fresh sting of betrayal, and to make a secret sacrifice to the faerie king.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316213073
Branch Call Number: YA BLA
Characteristics: 328 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 20, 2019

This book was magical! I had been waiting to read it for a while, gaining high expectations, and this book did not disappoint. The lore was original and incredibly interesting. Every time I learned something new about the world, I was pulled that much deeper into the story. The descriptions of settings were detailed and vivid. I felt like I could see every beautiful forest and quaint city street. Everything about the story was beautiful and I would love to eventually see it as a TV series or movie. This story rekindled my love for fantasy and for that I am so grateful. I absolutely loved this book and I would recommend it to everyone! 5/5! @nickreads of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board

PimaLib_ChristineR Mar 02, 2018

This book gave me mixed feelings. Let's start with the negative and get it out of the way.

1. Hazel, who likes to kiss the boys and make them cry, has a secret. It's why she kisses so many that she doesn't have to think about what she did. This secret keeps cropping up, but the book is well over half through before we finally find out what she did. If we had known earlier, a lot of stuff would have made more sense.

2. The obligatory homosexual character. Ben is a good character, interesting, with hidden depths and his relationship with Hazel is realistic in that they rely on each other but don't always tell each other what's going on, holding on to guilt or anger when it isn't needed any longer, and maybe never was. And I will say that it is a breath of fresh air for new YA to be more inclusive; however, it's beginning to feel like a YA requirement.

"Enough strong females? Check. Person of color? Check. Homosexual character? Check. I believe we have the makings of a new bestseller." I know that it is a correction of a problem for years' of YA literature, but it's unfortunate when it begins to feel formulaic.

The Good.
1. The setting. Hazel, Ben and their parents live in the modern day USA, but their town, Fairfold, borders on the land of the fairies. Fairies aren't always nice and sometimes bad things happen to tourists, but the townspeople tell themselves that if anything bad happens to one of them, they must have been acting like a tourist. One of Hazel's friends is Jack, a fairy raised by humans. And in the forest is a boy with horns, in an eternal sleep in a glass coffin. This is where the local kids come to party, and the tourists come to take selfies. Black seamless combines the world of fairy with a modern sensibility.

2. The plot. Black is a master of jumping back and forward in time to reveal bits of what the reader needs (except for point one, above, where she waited too long). Hazel has always dreamed of being a knight. Ben has been blessed by the fairies with a gift for music. Between the two of them they used to hunt and kill the fairies that would kill tourists, until Ben gives up his music and Hazel realizes she can't face down the fairies alone. But now the boy in the coffin is gone, his unbreakable coffin shattered, and the townsfolk are no longer safe. Hazel decides its time to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by the fairy king. From there the plot runs pell-mell through the town, the world of the fairy, and the painful memories of the characters, as they try to save themselves and Fairfold.

3. This is a stand-alone novel. When's the last time anyone has said that about a YA fantasy novel? It's got an ending. A real ending that wraps up the story with a bow. Yea!

All-in-all the good far outweighs my minor quibbles, and I'm excited to see the return of the setting for The Cruel Prince.

FindingJane Jul 05, 2017

It is refreshing to read Ms. Black’s take on the familiar oddity that are the Sidhe, the Fair Folk, the Folk of the Air. Those who reeled from the debacle that was “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” will no doubt delight in this foray into Fairfold, a town that coexists uneasily with the land of the fae.

The people of Fairfold hold on to certain rules that they think will protect them from the pernicious, dangerous, whimsical and mercurial otherworldly creatures that live in the forest. Like many humans, they cling to the fragile belief that their rituals, decrees and artefacts count as protection, that only the unwary, the foolish or the unknowing will fall prey to the others that live in the shadowy recesses of the adjacent forest.

Ms. Black’s story shows what happens when humans try to deal with the sidhe, the attempts to fulfill contracts or form relationships with them. The results are creepy or spectacular, beautiful and wretched. The Folk themselves aren’t always adept at the bargains they make with humans, failing to understand mortal love or see that it can be as strong or breakable as their own.

The story is spellbinding, as one girl named Hazel, who imagines herself a knight, is both pulled into the ethereal and struggles to break its grip. She makes a stupid deal when she’s merely 12 but she finds the intelligence and strength to free herself when she gets older.

Ms. Black’s tales often revolve around strong, powerful and fierce heroines. But Hazel’s strength is also her weakness. She’s cocksure that she can handle the growing obstacles all on her own. So she keeps secrets and tells lies to those who can help her and nearly brings destruction on those she holds dear. Because of this, the story necessitates pulling in everyone around Hazel and the author gives them character and vivacity, enough to prove absorbing when Hazel isn’t on the page.

This is a riveting and mesmeric novel, filled with lilting prose and evocative verbal imagery. Whether Severin is blithely relating how he killed a mortal or Hazel is pondering mysterious messages left to her by a friend (or foe?), this is a Holly Black novel to treasure.

Jun 26, 2017

Holly Black is queen! I loved this well-rounded story about siblings, friendship and being a knight and a bard and what it means to be a hero. I love how Holly is able to incorporate the extraordinary in the ordinary in her books; she can talk about youtube videos and fae all in the same sentence and it's great. She blends them so well. Some parts were confusing but I loved the majority of it. Such a great stand alone and Hazel is such an interesting character to me. Ben too. I liked their dynamic the best and how much they were willing to sacrifice for one another. Highly recommend it.

LovelyMurrell Apr 13, 2017

I really love Holly Black. I think she is a great writer and she is really good at word building and her characters are very believable and well developed. I enjoyed the darkest part of the forest. I like to believe that there is a town somewhere and folks accept a bit of strangeness as just apart of life. I think that there were bits of the plot that never got resolved, maybe she did that on purpose to make room for a series that may or may not ever happen.

At any rate I love how magic and fairies are used as a back drop to explore complex family relationships. As usual Ms Black has a diverse cast of characters, which I think adds to the richness of the story. I think in the case of Jack and Carters family it took me a second to realize they were Black ( well maybe not the dad) until she mentioned their Ibo granny. I think she was trying to do what Neil Gaimen did in Anasi Boys where everyone's default was Black unless he specified otherwise. I think this works better when you have a bunch of Black characters instead of just three or four.

At any rate I figured it out and Im glad I did, it made me like the story a bit more. I love Hazel and how she developed over the story. She and Bens relationship was so rich and complicated but in the end they came through for each other in true sibling fashion

Feb 01, 2017

Rating: 4/5

Another book that my best friend Danielle recommended me to read. This book is one of the most original novels I’ve ever read and one of the most intriguing in a long while. The idea of a town where Fae live and coexist with mankind is one that interests me quite a lot. It was so interesting in fact that I read the novel in a very small amount of time.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black tells the story of a young girl named Hazel and her brother, Ben, who coexist in a town with various mythical creatures. Hazel and Ben are obsessed with a sleeping fae prince in a casket in the middle of the forest, and are both wanting to one day awaken him from his slumber and his curse. Hazel and Ben grew up slaying the fae but soon stopped after Ben went to college to study music. It is revealed that Hazel gave away 7 years of her life to the fae in order for Ben to get a scholarship and study music.The whole novel is about them living with the fae and trying to protect mankind from the creatures.

Holly Black does a very excellent job of basing off the creatures from folklore rather than the watered down children stories that have been told. She executes the fae in a way that shows the darkness of the creatures and just how sinister, deceptive and violent they can be. Especially towards humankind. Folklore and mythology is a huge part of telling a fantasy novel surrounding any mythical creature, in my opinion, and I’m very happy that the basis of this novel was folklore and not just her making things up a long the way.

Overall, I enjoyed it. The novel was a little slow at first, but once I got about 100 pages in I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want too. The characters, the storyline and the romantic plot twists hooked me. I dreaded the ending of this novel. I craved more by the end. I was praying for her to release a sequel. I hope Ms. Black writes more in the future. I will be tuned in for sure.

Dec 02, 2016

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a beautifully crafted work. With faeries and knights, it can really be compared to a fairy tale. I love how detailed the world and its creatures were; it brought out a desire to experience it firsthand. I like the way Arthurian legends were incorporated into the book so that Hazel and her brother Ben were truly living them. It was really ingenious!

The town. I like how Fairfold is privy to the Fae’s activities, knowing they exist and not just playing the part of superstitious townsfolk. At this point, I was curious of the world outside Fairfold – whether it too was like this. It seems my wish was granted. When Hazel experiences a life outside of Fairfold, she realizes not all towns are like this one – monsters and magic exist simply for children.

For the most part, the reader experiences this world through Hazel’s eyes, but the POV does change. Although I noticed the change in personalities, their voices did not stand out individually. This was one of the few flaws I had with the book.

Hazel goes through a lot of character development. She is engaged in an internal battle with herself. She keeps a lot of secrets from her friends and family, and her struggles with this make her very real. I like how when her bad decisions get her into trouble, she realizes it when it’s too late. I was able to connect with this part of her and even though I didn’t like her in the beginning, she really grew on me.

Overall, Holly Black has created this perfect blend of story-telling – one that I love reading. This is the first work I’ve read of the author and definitely plan to read her other works – having fallen in love with the way she spins magic and ink together.

Nov 09, 2016

There lies a glass casket in the forest of Fairfold, one that holds a sleeping faerie. The Prince, with horns on his brow, has slept for decades. Nothing has woken him- not the outrageous parties that occur around him, or the gawking tourists that swarm for photos, or the cursed and foolish attempts to break the coffin that holds him.
Hazel grew up hearing her brother's stories about the Prince, running through the woods, hunting faeries as Ben acts the Bard and Hazel acts the the Knight.
Ben, gifted in the talent of music, keeps a tight reign on his music, no longer able to trust it, which put an end to the siblings' woodsy adventures.
Hazel didn't want it to end, and so she bargained with the Folk to try and save their quests, and agreed to give seven years of her life to the fae. But things didn't turn out like she hoped and, now in high school, Hazel is living life to the max, kissing every boy at parties and not caring what other people think, because who knows when the Folk will take her away for her seven years of debt?
Life seems to be going pretty well, until Hazel wakes from the night with muddy feet, glass-splintered hands and cryptic writing under her window. And discovers that the sleeping prince is finally awake and free.
Hazel doesn't know what's in store but it can't be good. She has to find her Prince and learn what exactly her involvement has been with the Fae.

Oct 17, 2016

I really like this book! It was different with quirky, loveable characters. It's plot is very interesting and I really liked the character development. The end was a little weak and felt rushed. But overall, it was a light, fun fantasy read that kept me well immersed in the world.

ArapahoeBridget Aug 24, 2016

A fascinating fairy story about memory and mystery and how the stories we tell about things and people are all malleable. If you like the darkness in fairy tales and you love interesting heroines this is a great choice.

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Oct 21, 2017

green_fox_696 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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Apr 14, 2016

Sexual Content: The teens have some sexual moments in the book.

Apr 14, 2016

Coarse Language: F***


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Feb 20, 2018

And then Hazel understood. Ben was taking her through the storm of grief. He was singing her through the rage and despair. He was singing her through the terrible loneliness, because there was no way to shut off grief, no way to cast it aside or fight against it. The only way to end griefwas to go through it.


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