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The darkest part of the forest by Holly…

The darkest part of the forest (edition 2015)

by Holly Black

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7614512,190 (3.88)27
Title:The darkest part of the forest
Authors:Holly Black
Info:New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2015.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:teen, fantasy, Faerie

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black



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Hazel has lived most of her life in Fairfold, which would be a fairly normal teenaged life with her parents and brother except for one thing: they have contact with Faeries. Her brother has a fairy gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) of music, and there's a mysterious prince in a glass casket that has been there for generations - until the day Hazel wakes up all muddy and the casket is shattered.

Taking the darker side of Faerie, Holly Black spins a complex fractured fairy tale. Hazel is the knight, but she's certainly not got it all together. One of her good friends, Jack, is a changeling. Her brother Ben, gifted and talented, is gay, which adds the element of sibling rivalry in potential love interests. It uses the tropes and turns some on its head, making for an entertaining read. Perhaps because I listened to the audio and missed some things or the dark fairy tale tone itself, I didn't feel as hugely invested in the characters or outcome of the story as I felt I should. But it's a worthwhile read for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy, and as an added bonus is written as a standalone. ( )
  bell7 | Oct 3, 2017 |
This young adult novel takes us deep into the world of Faerie. Hazel and her brother Ben live in the town of Fairfold where humans and Folk live side by side in an uneasy form of peace. In the woods lies a horned boy in a glass coffin. Tourists come to gawk and debunk him as a myth and the locals adore him. His grove has become the party hangout for generations of local teens. Hazel and Ben have spent their whole childhood making up stories about the horned boy, dreaming up who he would be if he ever awoke. Then one day he does. As Hazel and Ben are swept up in the chaos between two worlds, they must learn to trust each other and discover who they really are. A great tale mixing reality and fantasy, I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure, fairy tales, or remembers the struggle of growing up and finding out who you really are.

Bettina P. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
I loved this a LOT. It would have been a five star book but the beginning meandered so much that I put the book down for literally a month before finally finishing it. But it was definitely worth finishing. ( )
  eaduncan | Sep 14, 2017 |
The Darkest Part of the Forest This was great fun! I loved the way Black plays with some of the more common tropes in YA.
To begin with, this is a standalone. That almost never happens in YA anymore and I appreciate that it's a whole story even though I do love the world building. Then it's also about faeries. I'm not one for faeries most of the time, but something had made me put this book on my wish list at the library and it was the first audiobook I had come to on the day I downloaded it to my app. I just figured past-me had decided it was going to be interesting and went with it. The audiobook is narrated by Lauren Fortgang.
The story predominantly surrounds Hazel and Ben and their decisions, but these characters don't exactly follow gender role while not residing completely on the opposing sides of the spectrum when it comes to their genders either. To be more specific, Hazel isn't girly, but she's still feminine and Ben is neither macho nor effeminate. Ben is also gay, which makes his standing in the middle of what is expected for a male character all the better for me. While I do understand that there are effeminate gay men, I feel like fiction would have you believe that it is the only way to be gay sometimes. Maybe it's just tv and movies, though since First Kisses and Other Misfortunes by Kimberly Karalius had the same dynamic with the gay characters being not strictly effeminate.
 Having Ben as a gay character, also allows Black to another fun thing. She combines some of the brother-sister struggles with some struggles that are typically reserved for sisters, like having a crush on or having romantic associations with the same boy. I don't know how true to life that is, but they tend to lean more on confused boys who aren't sure if they are also gay and those who aren't ready to be out right at the beginning. Ben is sure of himself, others are not, and this creates confusion and tension for our siblings as sometimes both have feelings for the boy. I hope that wasn't confusing but I don't want to give away any big reveals either.
I truly enjoyed reading a book about a brother and sister who actually like each other too. They aren't besties and definitely have their own separate personalities and preferences in life but they look out for each other. They care about each other. And they mess it up sometimes too but never getting so angsty and dramatic that it seems more like someone's ridiculous version of what teenagers are like. Families are complicated and this book does a great job with a brother-sister dynamic. There is some teenage drama but it's not all angst and ridiculousness like some books may want people to believe all teens are like. They're capable of assessing dangerous situations and making some adult decisions and dealing with consequences. They do have reason and accountability and are not completely ruled by hormones, just partially, sometimes.  They are gaining experience to deal with situations better but aren't complete idiots in the mean time.
There are other great things in the book, but I feel like those would spoil it. Suffice it to say that while many typically YA behaviors/tropes are present, I didn't feel like they were rooted in the same places that I've grown tired of them, like villain motivations. Everything is just similar enough to be familiar but then changed ever so slightly that I wasn't sure until it happened. The book's sole claim to diversity is the LGBT characters. I felt like it dealt well with the LGBT aspect of those characters, but I am completely aware that I could be wrong due to the fact that I am not LGBT nor do I know many people who are. If you disagree, share it and I can amend. I'd hate for misinformation to set people up for disappointment. Until then, great book! I loved what she did to all the characters and taking them outside my expectations!
  ( )
1 vote Calavari | Jul 16, 2017 |
By the way, I received a promotional ARC of this book.

I'm not much into this "faerie" genre, but it was unique and entertaining enough to keep my attention. This is the 5th Holly Black book I've read (after the Tithe series and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown). I definitely prefer her stand-alone novels and she creates interesting worlds for her characters to interact in. Coldest Girl in Coldtown is still my fave. ( )
  Kaytron | Feb 28, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Holly Blackprimary authorall editionscalculated
Illingworth, SashaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toby and PeteCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Come now, my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest?

-- Kenneth Patchen
For Sarah Rees Brennan, a great friend and an inspiration
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Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316213071, Hardcover)

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 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 spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:31 -0400)

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