Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Flatiron Books
TBP Jan. 30, 2018
368 Pages

Seventeen-year-old Alice 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 cult-classic 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 Hinterland, 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 classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.- Goodreads

I cannot tell you enough how much this book pissed me off and was a disappointment. Alice is a crappy person. She is mean. She is selfish and she is ungrateful. Even at the end where there is some form of justification about why she is that way, it really is no excuse.

The majority of the book is Alice showing no interest in anything other than saving her mom and using people to get to that goal. She doesn’t make an attempt to find information on her own but relies on someone else to do so. She screams and yells and wants to run into things blindly at the risk of others.

The overall story was slow and the best part of the book was the fairy tales written by her grandmother. I honestly would buy that book. They were creepy, didn’t have a lesson to be learned (kind of) and were memorable. I loved them and wished that there was much more of it in the main story. Also the author did a pretty good job making the fairy tales real life. I think that their involvement with the modern world was short lived and there should have been more of it.

But let’s get to the part of the book where I almost threw my kindle across the wall. So Finch is bi-racial and there is a scene, a powerful scene that showed how much of a scumbag Alice is. Was this scene necessary, no not really but I can see why the author added but there was almost no context before the incident and it was pretty much brushed aside after a page and Alice’s BS excuse. You cannot add something like that and then do nothing with it. You really cannot.

After that I was completely discouraged to continue the book but I did keep going and Alice is still crap. But the author did something purely amazing when Alice got to Hazel Wood. Slightly predictable but some really good stuff comes out of that. I was disappointed in this book mainly because of Alice and there wasn’t enough fairy tale aspects in this novel.

2 Pickles

 

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