Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

Title: The Hazel Wood
Author: Melissa Albert
Publisher: Flatiron Books, 2018 (Hardcover)
Length: 355 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Started: June 11, 2018
Finished: June 18, 2018

From the inside cover:

Seventeen-year-old Alice Proserpine and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away - by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind:

"Stay away from the Hazel Wood."

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother's cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with her classmate and fairy-tale superfan Ellery Finch, who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To find her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood and then into the world where her grandmother's tales began - and where she might discover why her own story went so wrong.

I wanted to like this, I really did. The plot summary reads like the kind of dark fairy tale I would normally devour, hence why I picked it up.

The first half of the book is slow, granted, but was interesting enough. Alice and her mother live a nomadic lifestyle due to an uncanny amount of bad luck that follows in their wake. When they receive notice that Althea, Ella's mother and famous author, has died at the Hazel Wood, Ella believes that they can finally move on with their lives and settle down somewhere. But when Ella is taken from their Brooklyn home, Alice teams up with Ellery to discover her family's history and the reasons behind her mother's disappearance. And that's where it all falls apart.

Alice is a difficult character to empathize with and give a damn about what happens to her. I was curious about her backstory, but not invested in her as a character. Once the road trip to the Hazel Wood is underway, I lost interest, honestly. Finch is a bit of a stereotype rather than a fleshed out character, so that annoyed me. That, and the plot doesn't make much sense at a certain point, I was just confused for the last half of the book.

Worth a try if you like dark fairy tale-type stories, but beware that my issues with the book were shared by other readers as well.

Thoughts on the cover:
So pretty, I love the black with gold effects.

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