A girl makes a secret sacrifice to the faerie king in this lush New York Times bestselling fantasy by author Holly Black
In the woods is a glass coffin. It rests on the ground, and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives....
Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side. Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake.
Until one day, he does....
As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be.
The Darkest Part of the Forest is bestselling author Holly Black's triumphant return to the opulent, enchanting faerie tales that launched her YA career.
Fairfold is a contemporary American town long beset by fairies. This isn't a secret rather it's a tourist attraction that provides the citizens with a healthy source of income (although the visitors do occasionally get eaten by the more dangerous fairies). Hazel, a local high school student, is in love with the town's biggest tourist attraction, a fairy prince who has slept for generations in a glass coffin in the forest. In this, she has a friendly rivalry going with her gay brother, Ben, who also loves the sleeping prince. Things have been unbalanced in Fairfold ever since a mortal woman refused to return a changeling who grew up to be Hazel and Ben's friend Jack to the fairies. Now even Fairfold natives are being attacked, and after someone frees the sleeping prince, Hazel rediscovers her secret debt to the fairies. Close in tone to some of Charles de Lint's work, it's an enjoyable read with well-developed characters and genuine chills, though perhaps not as original as Black's earlier supernatural excursions. Ages 12 up
Customer ReviewsSee All
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.
Nice concept, bad delivery
The book was definitely a great concept. Although, I found that the author could have spent more time fine tuning her characters. There were many instances that I had to google certain things, because I became frustrated waiting for an answer. She failed to get to the point fast enough to keep the interest of the reader. Also, the flow of the writing was very choppy and awkward. The book was full of moments that needed to move quicker and in comparison, moments which needed more explanation. The book would have benefited from more editing. Despite all of the issues, I enjoyed the plot and would recommend it to those with patience.