The Darkest Part of the Forest
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 pointed 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, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

The Darkest Part of the Forest Details

TitleThe Darkest Part of the Forest
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 13th, 2015
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating
GenreFantasy, Lgbt, Young Adult, Teen

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The Darkest Part of the Forest Review

  • Kat O'Keeffe
    January 1, 1970
    After finishing this, I feel I can declare that Holly Black is fantastic at writing paranormal standalones. She crafts an awesome world, fills it with strong characters, and then ties it all together with an engaging story that doesn't rely on sequels to be satisfying. I love Holly Black's writing style and the way she weaves snippets from the past into the present storyline to create more tension. And I LOVE the juxtaposition of otherworldly fantasy elements and modern life--there's a boy with After finishing this, I feel I can declare that Holly Black is fantastic at writing paranormal standalones. She crafts an awesome world, fills it with strong characters, and then ties it all together with an engaging story that doesn't rely on sequels to be satisfying. I love Holly Black's writing style and the way she weaves snippets from the past into the present storyline to create more tension. And I LOVE the juxtaposition of otherworldly fantasy elements and modern life--there's a boy with pointed ears and curved horns sleeping in a glass coffin, so of course tourists flock to this town to take selfies with him.The beginning was a little slow as we get introduced to this world and the characters, but then the pace really picks up and it's just one thrilling scene after another. And I wasn't expecting the creepiness! I wouldn't say it's a scary book, but there is definitely a creep factor that kept me on edge at times. Another thing I really enjoyed was all the relationship dynamics--romance, friendships, sibling/family relationships. Lots of great ties between the characters.While I didn't love this one quite as much as I loved The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I did still thoroughly enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who liked Holly's previous books, anyone looking for a solid paranormal standalone, or anyone who enjoys faerie lore (I'm not even a huge fan of faerie lore, but I still loved this world! Actually, this book has me questioning my non-love of faerie lore.)
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  • softlykaz
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like my life is just a constant cycle of finally getting past the book I was obsessing about and then immediately finding another book to obsess aboutMy heart is growing a lot and I want to cover this story and these characters in it. This book made me want to lie down on the forest floor for a moment or two and just breathe in and out and in and out, letting nature wash over me with dirt in my hair and dew on my skin while the sun slowly slips into the sky and the morning is slowly borni I feel like my life is just a constant cycle of finally getting past the book I was obsessing about and then immediately finding another book to obsess aboutMy heart is growing a lot and I want to cover this story and these characters in it. This book made me want to lie down on the forest floor for a moment or two and just breathe in and out and in and out, letting nature wash over me with dirt in my hair and dew on my skin while the sun slowly slips into the sky and the morning is slowly borning all around me.I'm honestly a total fucking mess over this book.... but like, a glittery, light pink, soft mess. And I seriously wish it didn't have to end. I need at least five books starring these characters!!🌟so what is this book about?There’s a monster in our wood. She’ll get you if you’re not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. A nest of hair and gnawed bone. You are never, ever coming… home.The Darkest Part of The Forest is a standalone urban fantasy about two siblings - Hazel & Ben, who live in a weird small town that borders a kingdom of fae and elves and all kinds of mythical creatures. And in the woods, there is a glass coffin and in it sleeps a horned beautiful elf prince.Hazel & Ben - a forest fire and a gentle breeze, having too much earth and freedom in their hearts spent their childhood walking on the wild side, chasing cryptids and bad ideas (Hazel with a sword and Ben with hypnotizing music). That is, when they're not lying on the glass coffin, making up stories about the horned boy who's asleep beneath.....until the boy disappears overnight.This book has such winter vibes to it, the equivalent of waking up in the middle of the crispy night and looking out the window and there’s snow on the ground and the sky is kind of light-colored and it looks foggy and misplaced and kind of eerie but also comforting. And I honestly cannot believe there was ever a time when I didn’t have immediate access to this story. Actually, I've decided I'm completely disenchanted with the human experience and I'd like to retreat into this book.🌟THE CHARACTERS:One of the many things I loved about this book is the diversity!! There are main characters of color and main queer characters whose storyline does not necessarily involve around their sexuality and I was so there for it!!Also, this is basically a gay fairytale where the BOY GETS THE PRINCE and if that does not make you want to read this book asap, I don't know what will!💫 SEVERIN We love until we do not. For us, love doesn’t fade gradually. It snaps like a branch bent too far. Don’t believe any boy who says “I’m not like other guys" unless he has curving horns, glowing green eyes and has been asleep in a glass coffin for generations. And only if he also happens to be an elf prince.Severin is the kind of character who would break a poet's heart and they’ll write poems about him forever and he will be on their wiki page as a mysterious, possibly villified figure. Everything about him is so iconic, from his glass coffin to the fact that he's a deadly elf prince but also just a goofy boy who spins in a swivel chair wearing his boyfriend's sweater in his boyfriend's room!!Anyway I love Severin so much and I would actually like to be him. So I would really appreciate it if someone would make arrangements to sponsor my retreat into a desolate wilderness environment and my loved ones could onlyundergo the trek to come visit me exactly once a year on the winter solstice. Thanks💫 HAZEL Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself. I wish a knight in shining armor would come and sweep me off my feet and by knight in shining armor I mean Hazel.Hazel unwittingly lives a double life. Day Hazel is an ordinary high school student who kisses too many boys to fill her empty. Night Hazel is the trusted and cunning knight whispering intrigues and rumors into the ear of the Alderking who then listens and adapts his court strategy to fit her given information. And one of them doesn't know the other one exists.I really love confident female characters and how they beam lighthouse just from arriving; those who are so inherently inspiring. I am forever proud of the characters who go from being fragile and incertain to confident and strong. Hazel has assigned herself the role of the knight in the story of her life. She's the one who forges the sword, charges into the woods and does the saving and I literally love her so much!!!!💫 BENJAMIN I need to stop fantasizing about running away to some other life and start figuring out the one I have. OKAY. I seriously wish I had big soft wings to protect Benjamin so this is a public announcement that I'm hereby destroying the idea that any harm would ever come his way!!Ben is a musician and that was a gift given to him by the Fae. Except, that gift came with a price and Benjamin hasspent his entire life building a scaffolding of excuses to avoid admitting that the price was losing control.I really just love Ben so much!! He's so precious and I'm so glad he fell in love with someone who never stops choosing him and makes him feel at home when he look at them and aaah I'm literally ready to invest my entire livelihood just shipping him & Severin!!💫JACK Well fine, then. I could send you out to win my favor. Possibly on a quest involving bringing a large mug of coffee and a doughnut. Or the wholesale slaughter of all my enemies. I haven’t decided which. Do yo ever think about a certain fictional character and your stomach just does the  ✨ 💫 💖 🌟 💫 💫 🌈 ✨ 🌟 💖 💫 ✨ 🌈 thing?? That's how I feel about Jack!!Jack is a fae changeling who's been raised by a human family and he's become so good at tricking himelf out of remembering that he was not one of them, ignoring the holes in him that belonged to the other side of the border, the parts of him that don’t mesh well with this newfound world.... until the townsfolk were being attacked by the fae and the lingering blame fell on him.So which side is he going to fight for?(Also, I'm here to ship him with Hazel with all my heart WHY ARE THEY ALL SO PRECIOUS I ONLY HAVE ONE HEART TO WORK WITH HERE!!!)🌟 OVERALL:*me yelling from a megaphone on the street corner and handing out pamphlets* THE MORAL OF THIS STORY KIDS IS THAT Y'ALL ARE SLEEPING ON THIS BOOK AND YOU NEED TO READ IT ASAP!!Also, rumor has it Benjamin & Severin are playing the cameo role in Holly Black's new upcoming release The Cruel Prince so you really do want to read this book and meet them first!! I love like in the storybooks. I love you like in the ballads. I love you like a lightning bolt. I’ve loved you since the third month you came and spoke with me. I loved that you made me want to laugh. I loved the way you were kind and the way you would pause when you spoke, as though you were waiting for me to answer you. I love you and I am mocking no one when I kiss you, no one at all. ✨ you can also find my review on my blog here!!
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  • Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a satisfying read! I started this not knowing pretty much anything about the book and I'm so glad I didn't read more into the synopsis. It was such a fun and enjoyable read.
  • Lola Reviewer
    January 1, 1970
    Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass of coffin. It rested right on the ground and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. *Holly Black has written a considerable amount of books, but this is the first novel by her that I have read. Not that I was not interested in the others: I am simply always too excited by new releases. While wondering what great reads 2015 would bring us, I found thi Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass of coffin. It rested right on the ground and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. *Holly Black has written a considerable amount of books, but this is the first novel by her that I have read. Not that I was not interested in the others: I am simply always too excited by new releases. While wondering what great reads 2015 would bring us, I found this and immediately felt pulled toward it.The book started with a fairytale-like atmosphere. I thought the storytelling was delightful and only wished to read more and more. Admittedly, it is, along with the world-building, what held my interest at first, really, for the main character did not manifest the type of personality I generally enjoy reading about. We had very little in common. For instance, she attended parties, kissed boy after boy and that with no real remorse or noticeable emotions after breaking their heart. Townsfolk knew to fear the monster coiled in the heart of the forest, who lured tourists with a cry that sounded like a woman weeping. Its fingers were sticks, its hair moss. It fed on sorrow and sowed corruption. You could lure it out with a singsong chant. After, halfway through my read, I noticed a change in the ambience. Creepiness showed itself in the plot, through new characters and along with the turn of events; the prince had awoken and the city of Fairlord crept with wariness. It is since that moment that the plot upped in strangeness and…originality. I have no clue why it is the author chose to withhold the prince’s arisen for so long. Perhaps to possess more than enough time to include memories and solid background for our two main characters, Hazel and Ben? It was a wise thing to do, since it did make me understand both of their actions more – especially Ben whose tendency to go on date after date was worth questioning myself on what had unclenched it – but the limit was exceeded a little. It dragged. Sometimes Ben told stories about how he would free the prince, with three magic words—words he’d never say out loud in front of Hazel. And in those stories, the prince was always villainous. Ben had to stop him before he destroyed Fairfold—and Ben did, through the power of love. I had no idea there was going to be a gay main character in this standalone. It is not shelved as ‘LGBT’ but it should be, because it was an important part of the story. It may not have been a theme that shaded the importance of the others, but a theme nonetheless. I must say that, having read quite a few LGBT books and M/M romances in the past, I was not one hundred percent convinced regarding the two gay character’s (Ben + to-discover) love for each other, especially Ben’s. It very much felt like insta-love even though they technically knew each other for a long long time. But I must admit that it mostly was due to Ben’s easiness at falling in love that kept me from swoon-writhingly shipping the couple. Their shyness toward one another was sweet, but nothing more. Still, I am, most of the time, cheery when LGBT is included in a story, so I’m glad it was. Surely, Holly Black could come to master the genre, if only she would explore it in more detail.While it did not impress me in any way, it was still an interesting enough and remotely mystical read, filled with fairies and magic. And in which the strong bond a brother and sister can share was present and beautiful.*I just remembered having read one of hers in the past: The Iron Trial, a book she has co-written with Cassandra Clare. Yet, somehow, it slipped off my mind when writing the review.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Oh book, you make it so difficult to rate you.The thing about Holly Black is that she writes in very different styles. Before I read White Cat, I tried the first of her Faerie books - Tithe - (really didn't get into it), and her Spiderwick Chronicles (cute kids books but not really my thing). Then I discovered the Curse Workers trilogy and holy shit awesomeness: it was great! I liked the characters, the plot, and the twists... so much good.The Darkest Part of the Forest feels closer to her earli Oh book, you make it so difficult to rate you.The thing about Holly Black is that she writes in very different styles. Before I read White Cat, I tried the first of her Faerie books - Tithe - (really didn't get into it), and her Spiderwick Chronicles (cute kids books but not really my thing). Then I discovered the Curse Workers trilogy and holy shit awesomeness: it was great! I liked the characters, the plot, and the twists... so much good.The Darkest Part of the Forest feels closer to her earlier works. There's something about her writing here that doesn't agree with me; that takes a premise that I was desperate to fall in love with... and makes it so very not compelling. I'm going to try and explain what it is the best I can, because when you strip this book down to what it plainly is, it should totally be my thing. It just isn't.What is this book?It's a dark, creepy fairy tale. I know what you're thinking: YEEESSSSS! I was too. It's about people who make deals with Fae folk and have to pay the price; it's about beautiful Fae princes who awaken after hundreds of years and wreak havoc; it's about the secrets that hide in the darkest part of the woods. Oh god... aren't you just desperate to get a load of that? If someone said those words to me about a book, I would be preordering it within an instant. But this book had a couple of intriguing first chapters with an interesting protagonist and promises of creepy, dark goodness, and then it became so difficult to read on. It felt like an effort to make myself pick the book back up. I'm not even sure if it is the writing itself that makes the plot so not compelling. Or if the plot sounds good but fails in the execution. All I know is that I never came to care what was going to happen. We were told that the situation was dire, but I never got a sense of that. The setting and language was creepy and atmospheric, but the main story wasn't. In fact, it seemed pretty juvenile.I would almost describe this as a Spiderwick Chronicles for older teens. A brother and sister must tackle the world of the Fae folk - a world that constantly introduces us to an assortment of creatures that I cannot even recall right now. Occasionally, we got really cool passages like this: “He couldn’t have understood what it felt like to dance until the force of his steps seemed to crack open the earth itself, to be among creatures who had never been human and could never be human, to be one of them. And Ben couldn’t have known the shame that Jack felt after, when, sweat cooling on his skin, he promised himself that when they came for him the next time, he wouldn’t go.A promise that he’d never keep.” But the story just wasn't doing it for me. Plus, it was peppered with flashbacks that distracted me from the main issue at hand and didn't really add anything (most of them, anyway). This was one of my most highly anticipated releases - so disappointing.Blog | Leafmarks | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    “Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.” This was such a whimsical and beautiful story about a sleepy little down named Fairfold, who has a pact with all the faeries that if the fae leave them alone, all the tourists are free game. But why would tourists want to visit this little town nestled in the forest? Oh, because a handsome horned fae boy is asleep in an unbreakable glass casket. Some visit because they do not believe in magic, some come “Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.” This was such a whimsical and beautiful story about a sleepy little down named Fairfold, who has a pact with all the faeries that if the fae leave them alone, all the tourists are free game. But why would tourists want to visit this little town nestled in the forest? Oh, because a handsome horned fae boy is asleep in an unbreakable glass casket. Some visit because they do not believe in magic, some come because they do. Regardless of their beliefs or opinions, the tourists come. The main character, Hazel, is a brave girl who tries to fight the evil fae with her brother. After a close scare, she makes a deal with the fae king of the forest for her brother to have his wish come true (view spoiler)[Her brother was blessed by a nice fae when he was young. He has a magical gift for music, but no means to hone that gift at a school far away from Fairfold. Hazel's deal allows him to go to music school on a full scholarship (hide spoiler)]. She only had to trade seven years of her life that the king decides to take while she is asleep. So every night, Hazel does the king's bidding and wakes up in the morning, in her own bed, with no recollection on the night's events. Hazel is none the wiser, until the handsome horned fae boy is finally broken free of this glass casket. One thing that kept sticking out to me was that there is a lot of "duos" in this book. For starters, it seems like each family has two children (Hazel/Ben, Jack/Carter, Severin/Sorrel). There are two side by side romances going on throughout the book (one f/m, one m/m). Both are wonderful, and leave you wanting more. Then a main story line is all about two powerful swords. Lastly, we are also given night Hazel verses day Hazel. There is lots of coupling and pairs throughout this impactful little story.“We love until we do not. For us, love doesn't fade gradually. It snaps like a branch bent too far.” I can't say too much more without giving away some amazing twists and turns, but this was such a good read. This is exactly the kind of fantasy book I like to read. This spoke to my heart and soul, and I enjoyed it immensely. Holly Black is such a wonderful writer, and her art of threading words together that will make you feel everything under the sun, is untouchable. I have loved and devoured everything she's ever written, and The Darkest Part of the Forest was no exception.“I love like in the storybooks. I love you like in the ballads. I love you like a lightning bolt. I've loved you since the third month you came and spoke with me. I loved that you made me want to laugh. I loved the way you were kind and the way you would pause when you spoke, as though you were waiting for me to answer you. I love you and I am mocking no one when I kiss you, no one at all.” I was also lucky enough to get this signed from B&N when it was first released this year. Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch
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  • Cait (Paper Fury)
    January 1, 1970
    This book.OH, SWEET FAIRY BREAD, THIS BOOK WAS BEYOND FANTASTICALLY AMAZING. I expected to like it after reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and White Cat (which have quickly risen to my "favourite books" category. But adore it this much?! It was so beautiful, so powerful, so intriguing and fantastical and dark and bloody that...I just loved it. It's a magical story about Hazel and her brother, Ben, and their love for a horned boy cursed to sleep in a glass coffin. My words (silly useless words This book.OH, SWEET FAIRY BREAD, THIS BOOK WAS BEYOND FANTASTICALLY AMAZING. I expected to like it after reading The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and White Cat (which have quickly risen to my "favourite books" category. But adore it this much?! It was so beautiful, so powerful, so intriguing and fantastical and dark and bloody that...I just loved it. It's a magical story about Hazel and her brother, Ben, and their love for a horned boy cursed to sleep in a glass coffin. My words (silly useless words I'm trying to string together, here, pfft) do not convey how awesome this is. They live in Fairfold, which is absolutely embroiled in fairies. It's a tourist attraction but the locals know the fairies are real. There's mischief. There's unexplainable phenomenon (like the horned boy). People die. Just your average day in Fairfold.I absolutely adored Hazel. She's brave and unbeatable and really has no concept of defeat. She seemed almost Peter Panish to me...she was in the process of growing up, but was still entirely in love with her magical childhood. (She slayed monsters with her brother who has a magical curse/gift for music. Normal stuff, you know?) Ben was equally wonderful and even got a few chapters in his POV. He's older, but more quiet, more easily trodden on. He and Hazel used to be thick as thieves but...THINGS GO DOWN. Of which I will not say. Mwah ha ha. An interestin gthing about Hazel's name, though is (view spoiler)[ how "Hazel" means "in between"...and I think that actually summed her up SO WELL. she's in between knowing who she is. She's in between being normal and being a fairy assassin. (hide spoiler)].Equally important are Jack and Carter...and Jack is a changeling. Because every family, when their child gets kidnapped by fairies, will demand their real child back AND keep the changeling. They play a hugely important part. Of course...the horned boy was just wrapped in delicious magical mystery. I have to admit, though, I loved him a lot more when he was sleeping. I expected something HUGE from him and I felt his personality reveal was a bit of a let down.GAH. I honestly am struggling with this review SO MUCH. I just want to afkdslaf all over the place. But you need reasons, right? Yus. You need convincing. AND I SHALL CONVINCE YOU. If the characters aren't gorgeous enough...the writing is beautiful. At 30% in on my kindle ARC I suddenly stopped and realised I loved this book so much it hurt. (If I could write half as beautifully as this, I would die fabulous.) I was absolutely caught up in the magic and creamy spot-on description and murderous turn of events. Sure it's a magical story. But it's dark. It's called The DARKEST Part of the Forest for a reason, my wee changelings. It has a bit of a bittersweet ending and I'm half sorry it's a standalone. Don't get me wrong, I love standalones...but...I could read an entire series of this town of Fairfold and Hazel, Ben, and Jack with ease. They all broke my heart a little. Which means it's a good book and YOU definitely need your heart a stabbed a little with fairy swords so GO! GO! TRY THIS MAGNIFICENT CREATION!NOTABLE QUOTES OF AWESOME: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)***"So, just another dull night in Fairfold, where everyone's a lunatic or an elf."***There's a monster in our woodShe'll get you if you're not goodDrag you under leaves and sticksPunish you for all your tricksA nest of hair and gnawed boneYou are never, ever coming...home. ***He was every bit as monstrously beautiful as he'd been. You could drown in beauty like that. ***It was disorientating to stumble along, aware that he might be taking her somewhere to kill her and at the same time, confusingly, embarrassed that he was going to kill her while she was wearing pajamas and wellies. If she'd known she was going to die at his hand, she would have dressed up. ***"I am no hob or hearth spirit, to be obligated by gifts.""We weren't trying to obligate you," she said. "We were trying to be nice."The horned boy bowed his head slightly, a thin smile on his face that she thought might be self-disgust. "You may call me Severin," he said. "Now we are both nice." ***Once normal had been a heavy, smothering blanket she feared being trapped beneath. But now normal felt fragile, as though she could unravel it just by teasing a single string. ***Hazel being to list what she knew. She liked lists. They were comfortingly straightforward, even when they were full of crazy stuff, like: WARNINGS: SEVEN YEARS TO PAY YOUR DEBTS. MUCH TO LATE FOR REGRETS. AINSEL --> name of faerie enchanting me?The weird story about the farmer tricking the boggart.MOON OVERHEAD; BETTER GO STRAIGHT TO BED. ***Lords and ladies who walk unseen, lords and ladies all in green, three times I stamp upon the earth, let me in, green hill that gave me birth.**"Jack? Is that what she calls him? Jack of what? Jack of Hearts? Jack of Diamonds? Jack of Weeping? Jack of Woe?""I don't bother with all that fancy stuff -- I just go by Jack, these days," he said. ***"How do we start?" Hazel said.He looked down at her, lashes dusting his cheek when he blinked. "Anyway you like. We could hang out after school. We could write each other long letters. You could send me on some kind of quest to win your favour.""Oh no," she said, smiling at last, because he was her friend Jack, who had ridiculous cheekbones and ridiculous ideas. "If anyone is going on a quest, it's going to be me."Jack grinned. "Well fine, then. I could send you out to win my favour. Possibly on a quest involving bringing a large mug of coffee and a doughnut. Or the wholesale slaughter of all my enemies. I haven't decided which."
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  • Erica Ravenclaw
    January 1, 1970
    ☆☆☆☆☆ No spoilers and colorful language abound! I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Normally I wouldn't review an ARC this early, but honestly, I cannot help myself.**I am bumping this because I reviewed it entirely too early. It comes out on January 13th! Also, do you ever go back and read a review and say, "what the fuck was I even trying to say" ? Then feel an overwhelming urge to rewrite the entire thing? Yeah, so a little of that too.**                  ☆☆☆☆☆ No spoilers and colorful language abound! I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Normally I wouldn't review an ARC this early, but honestly, I cannot help myself.**I am bumping this because I reviewed it entirely too early. It comes out on January 13th! Also, do you ever go back and read a review and say, "what the fuck was I even trying to say" ? Then feel an overwhelming urge to rewrite the entire thing? Yeah, so a little of that too.**                     I stood in line at BEA a good 40 minutes before the drop time, anxiously counting all the people in front of me, clinging to a desperate hope that there would be enough copies. There was some shoving, some light elbow nudging, a glazed over fog in the faces of the fans, all uniting in a singular objective: getting an ARC of this book. It was all worth it.Confession time you guys, I am a Holly Black newbie, and with that comes all the glorious musings of a blogger who just discovered their new favorite author. The Darkest Part of the Forest hooked me from page one. I am a fan for life.                           Ben and Hazel Evans live in the town of Fairfold, where the line between human reality and the otherness of Faery blur, a town with a glass coffin housing a beautiful horned boy in eternal sleep. Mortals have long been enamored with the Fae, equal parts enchanting and dangerous but the townsfolk have an odd symbiotic relationship with the them. Locals  stay out of the woods on a full moon, they turn their socks inside out and stuff their pockets with iron and oatmeal, and in return the Fae leave them be. The tourists on the other hand are free game, that is until an 11 year old girl who fancies herself a knight, starts to fight back.Hazel and Ben were raised by artists, forgetful parents who valued all-nighters with oil paints over dinner and a bath for their kids. They were wildly imaginative children, a knight and a balladeer, they were each others caretakers, until one day too many secrets piled up between them. Their imagined prince, the horned boy wakes from his sleep and they must finally say all the things they have been hiding from each other in order to protect him.That's about all I'm going to say on the plot, this is a very character driven novel and I won't spoil you! Holly Black's writing is both profoundly understated and eloquent beyond measure. The way she can pack a single sentence with tremendous emotion left me speechless and craving more. The world building of Fairfold was perfectly executed, "info dumping" transformed into gorgeous prose, I was enraptured from the very first page. Something else really struck a chord with me and should be noted, in this story we have a young male gay character who is out, and not a single aspect of this is trivialized by some ignorant stereo type. Ben speaks of love and insecurity, he speaks of family and self evaluates, he is a wonderfully realized character with a rich sense of humanity. All too often "the gay guy" is coined as some cartoony mishmash of the exaggerated, a trite plot point rather than a complex and compelling character. Holly Black masterfully normalized his sexuality in a way I feel should be embraced by all. The Darkest Part of the Forest is dazzlingly good with fanciful highs and dark lows. At the heart remains the love of a brother and sister united once more as a knight and balladeer. Nothing short of spectacular it transcends it's genre and hold it's rightful place with the best of the best
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about evil fairies and subverting genre expectations. // SUBVERTING TROPES AND BLENDING BINARIES It took me a long time to figure out why, exactly, this book captivated me so much. Yes, it's definitely a solid read, but what made this a five-star-favorite-book-ever read? I think in the long run what stood out to me was how Holly Black sees the tropes of this story and avoids them. Ben and Hazel are essentially a role-reversal of typical fantasy heroes. The boy is the one in love wit This book is about evil fairies and subverting genre expectations. // SUBVERTING TROPES AND BLENDING BINARIES It took me a long time to figure out why, exactly, this book captivated me so much. Yes, it's definitely a solid read, but what made this a five-star-favorite-book-ever read? I think in the long run what stood out to me was how Holly Black sees the tropes of this story and avoids them. Ben and Hazel are essentially a role-reversal of typical fantasy heroes. The boy is the one in love with a fair prince in the woods, the girl is the lionheart fighting for their lives. I also liked that The Darkest Part of the Forest is so... not heteronormative. I don't know how to describe it any better than that - Holly Black has this casual approach towards writing lgbtq characters that works perfectly. The entire world blends gender and sexuality binaries into this map that rings so true. All that being said, you need to have proper expectations for her writing. Black writes characters and relationships that are fucked up and doesn't always care to tell the audience “hey, this isn't okay.” There's this vibe of evil, of hate, that she's not trying to get rid of. // CHARACTERS YOU HATE AND LOVEHolly Black is very good at writing unlikeable protagonists, characters you somewhat despise and somewhat love. She risks making you hate her protagonists so that you'll love her protagonists and I love it. The Darkest Part of the Forest has four main protagonists, two point of view characters and two somewhat-love-interests. I love all of them, of course. Black is very good at making you empathize with characters you feel as if you should dislike. Severin, for example, reads like he should be a villain. But the audience gets to decide whether he truly is. Hazel, though, is especially my favorite. She does not fit into any boxes; she is both the warrior archetype and a complex subversion of the warrior archetype. I felt as if I had a feel for her twenty pages in, and I never did give up that love for her. I also somewhat adore the way Holly Black writes relationships. She is this odd mix between a cynic and a hopeless romantic and her romance writing comes off exactly that way. Both romance plots here (I won't spoil with who!!) are understated but well-built all the same. And of course, there's the emphasis on sibling bonds. Ben and Hazel's sibling relationship is intricate and interesting. // TENSION, FEAR, AND CLAUSTROPHOBIAHolly Black's writing is incredibly tense. You constantly feel as if you have to figure out what happens next. The environment is maybe one of my other favorite things about this book. Ben and Hazel's small town feels like another world, a claustrophobic hideaway cut off from all being. It makes a perfect setting, just eerie enough to make you feel on edge. She managed to make me feel small in comparison to this world, to this town, in a very visceral way. It's so engaging. VERDICT: This is one of my favorites and I REALLY recommend it to everyone. If morally ambiguous fairies in an eerie setting subverting genre expectations sounds like your shit, you need to pick this up.Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube
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  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    January 1, 1970
    The Darkest Part of the Forest is a delightful fairy tale and coming-of-age story about a girl who wants to be a knight and a boy who wants to be loved.The fairies in the woods around Fairfold are not the playful, glitter-winged sprites of popular culture. These are dark and frighting creatures who lure unsuspecting travelers into their caves and ponds to gnaw their flesh from their bones. They sneak into the homes of Fairfold and exchange their fairy children for the human ones. They will encha The Darkest Part of the Forest is a delightful fairy tale and coming-of-age story about a girl who wants to be a knight and a boy who wants to be loved.The fairies in the woods around Fairfold are not the playful, glitter-winged sprites of popular culture. These are dark and frighting creatures who lure unsuspecting travelers into their caves and ponds to gnaw their flesh from their bones. They sneak into the homes of Fairfold and exchange their fairy children for the human ones. They will enchant and destroy on a whim.But, Hazel and Ben aren't afraid. Perhaps they should be.I was charmed by this story. Holly Black has created a world that I want to step into despite its dangers. Highly recommended for young adults or the young at heart who are looking for a fantasy-filled escape from the real world.
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  • Steysha Kravits
    January 1, 1970
    There’s a monster in our wood. She’ll get you if you’re not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. A nest of hair and gnawed bone.You are never, ever coming… Holly Black has done it again! She gives us dark, mysterious and scary story about a girl-knight, who swings a sword better than fairies, about her brother who has the gift to charm everyone with his music, and about a prince who is sleeping in a glass coffin in the middle of the forest. There are horns gro There’s a monster in our wood. She’ll get you if you’re not good. Drag you under leaves and sticks. Punish you for all your tricks. A nest of hair and gnawed bone.You are never, ever coming… Holly Black has done it again! She gives us dark, mysterious and scary story about a girl-knight, who swings a sword better than fairies, about her brother who has the gift to charm everyone with his music, and about a prince who is sleeping in a glass coffin in the middle of the forest. There are horns growing out of his head, and his face is of great beauty.Sorry, but every time I think about his horns, I remember Daniel Radcliffe :DAnyway, back to the point. Fairfold was a strange place. Dead in the center of the Carling forest, the haunted forest, full of what Hazel’s grandfather called Greenies and what her mother called They Themselves or the Folk of the Air. In these woods, it wasn’t odd to see a black hare swimming in the creek or to spot a deer that became a sprinting girl in the blink of an eye. Fairfold is a weird town. It’s full of fairies, magical creatures and monsters. Locals got accustomed to its eccentricities, and tourists come specifically to see the wild forest and try their luck with fairies. What if they can make their dreams come true? They should know better. Fairies of Fairfold aren’t known for kindness, and they won’t do anything for "thank you". People disappear, lose their minds, or their life passes in an instant. But this doesn’t happen with the residents of Fairfold, they’ve been living in peace with fairies for a long time. But that was before.In the depths of the forest lies a glass coffin with a boy with horns. He has pointed ears and an inhuman beauty. He is immersed in eternal sleep, and no one was able to wake him up yet. He became a tourist attraction; they were coming from all over the world to see this miracle. For residents of Fairfold, he’s a favorite topic. All of them have some feelings for him, for he is their inspiration. They tell him their deepest secrets and share their feelings. But our heroes like him more that anyone.Hazel and Ben have always been off-the-wall -- as far as it’s possible in a town like Fairfold. In their youth, their parents were irresponsible and liked partying, not caring about their hungry children. Therefore, they found a fun way to pass the time. The kids liked to imagine themselves as heroes, saving stupid people from creepy monsters, lurking in the woods. Ben could conjure any beast with his music, and Hazel had known from her childhood - she is destined to become a knight. Children became a nightmare of forest creatures. In their fantasies, they saw themselves as knights and faithful servants of the boy with horns -- their prince. Of running all the way to where the horned boy slept, singing songs and making up stories about him all afternoon, only coming home at night, exhausted, wild animals returning to a den.They saw themselves as children of the forest, creeping around pools and hiding in the hollows of dead trees. But the older they grew, the more dangerous became their entertainment. One day, after another hunt for monsters that almost resulted in Hazel`s death, Ben refused to play in knights anymore. He believed that his musical skills were not high enough to protect them. Hazel, in desperation, made a deal with fairies to help her brother and promised to pay seven years of her life. But how? Maybe she's just going to die prematurely? Or she will be taken to the fairies, where time goes faster, and her life will fly by unnoticed? Oh, none of her theories could prepare her for the truth.Now the kids became teens and stopped playing knights. Hazel grew a young woman, who breaks hearts and kisses with strangers at parties. Ben struggles to find his love and to stop playing music. And all would have been good if it were not for the terrible events in Fairfold. Fairies started to attack. The worst forest monster went into town and made people so sad, that they could literary die from sorrow. The boy with horns... woke up.Then Hazel gets the message that it's time to pay her debts, her sword gets lost, and in the morning she wakes up with dirty feet and leaves in her hair - with absolutely no recollection of the previous night. Ben and his sister decide to look for their prince – to become knights again - but the boy they find is not the boy from their tales. At the same time, their best friend, Jack - who is a changeling, taken into a human family - starts to behave strangely and gets close with his people - and I'm not talking about human people. Will the guys save the town from the monster? Will they solve the mystery of the horned boy and find their calling? Believe me, you want to find out about this!The story goes, basically, from Hazel`s POV, but sometimes we can read on behalf of Ben and Jack. The word that comes to mind when I think about this girl is «badass». She is fearless, smart, weird and faithful. Most of all I liked to read the chapters about her childhood. I could imagine this wild child, wandering barefoot through the woods with a sword in her hand and with red lips from berry juice. Being a knight, her defining feature is courage. In those moments when I would do something like this: She would go like this: The book has a gay couple, Ben and... I won`t tell :) And the romance between Hazel and... I won`t tell :) But it is these love stories that seemed out of place to me. They were boring and added nothing to the story. I did not feel the chemistry between the characters. But I loved the relationship between siblings; they were like Hansel and Gretel.What in this book deserves the highest praise is a writing style! I swear, it was the best that I’ve seen this year. I fell in love with it from the first page. The story was very atmospheric and reminded of the classic tale. Thanks to the detailed descriptions, I could easily imagine a wild forest with monsters, lurking in the shadows, waiting for their prey. Hell, I even dreamed about coming to this town, despite the fact that all the tourists suffer from fairies’ tricks. They are twilight creatures, beings of dawn and dusk, of standing between one thing and another, of not quite and almost, of borderlands and shadows. So why did I rate it with three stars? The plot, guys. The plot. Firstly, it was very chaotic. In the beginning we read the chapters about the children’s past and present. And if at first I wondered why this prehistory is so vague and long, then later I realized that it was the best part of the book. Well, I also liked the ending. By the middle of the book, the storyline began to emerge, but it seemed poor in comparison with such an elegant and atmospheric writing. For example, the horned prince, he had so much potential! But, in the end, his character remained unsolved and quite banal, and only his horns were memorable. The monster had the same situation; it started smartly, scenes with him were plush and truly frightening - but his problem was so easily solved, that was somehow boring. IMHO, the plot needed to be more epic and dynamic. As I said, the ending was also good, but it can not be compared to the beginning, where there was no plot, only the fantastic atmosphere.Overall, this is a great fairytale, written in style of the Grimm Brothers. I recommend it to those who, like me, loves to read about the dark forests full of monsters. And to those who liked Beware the Wild Once, there was a girl who found a sword in the woods.Once, there was a girl who made a bargain with the Folk.Once, there was a girl who’d been a knight in the service of a monster.Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.Once, there was a girl… *This beautiful fan art was made by my dear friend geborn-zu-sterben
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    2/5oh noooo.i'm really sorry if i'm upsetting anyone by not liking this book. if it helps, i'm upset, too.full review @ https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...
  • official b99 ambassador™
    January 1, 1970
    The thing about fantasy is, it's always a hit or a miss for me. TDPotF was definitely a hit - it's character driven with an enchanting setting and writing that makes everything unbelievably believable. Once, there was a girl who found a sword in the woods.Once, there was a girl who made a bargain with the Folk.Once, there was a girl who'd been a knight in the service of a monster.Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.Once, there was a girl. If The thing about fantasy is, it's always a hit or a miss for me. TDPotF was definitely a hit - it's character driven with an enchanting setting and writing that makes everything unbelievably believable. Once, there was a girl who found a sword in the woods.Once, there was a girl who made a bargain with the Folk.Once, there was a girl who'd been a knight in the service of a monster.Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.Once, there was a girl. If there was a list of the top ten books I'd take on an island, this would definitely make it to the top. It has the characters, and it has the writing. All that's missing is a plot, but the best kind of fantasy is the one you don't understand.This gave me TRC feels sometimes, because the characters made me ridiculously happy.If you have any doubts about picking this one up, though? Do it for Jack. And Hazel. (Hack?)(view spoiler)[Their romance is the cutest I've read in quite a while - the best friend to boyfriend trope done well at last. (hide spoiler)]----I love Holly Black's White Cat series, but I've seen a lot of negative reviews for this one, so I don't have very high expectations へ‿(ツ)‿ㄏ
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  • Tatiana
    January 1, 1970
    I loved quite a few things about this book - the setup, the fairy lore, the whole "fairy-prince-sleeping-in-a-glass-coffin" idea. But the plot of this novel was very poor - so rushed, with everything crammed into the last third, with an underdeveloped conflict, a silly villain ((view spoiler)[a walking tree who makes you cry (hide spoiler)]) and hasty romances. Black definitely had trouble plotting this story out, which was confirmed by her own "Acknowledgements" at the end of the book.
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  • Puck
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing fantasy stand-alone about genuinely terrifying fairies, a cursed prince, and two brave siblings caught in the middle. I’ve had my eye on this book for a long time, and I’m so glad I finally read it because The Darkest Part of the Forest was absolutely magical, creative, and so beautifully written. Holly Black’s writing style is captivating and dreamy and twisted; and although this story takes place in the real world, it feels like you are reading an old fairy-tale, which fits this boo An amazing fantasy stand-alone about genuinely terrifying fairies, a cursed prince, and two brave siblings caught in the middle. I’ve had my eye on this book for a long time, and I’m so glad I finally read it because The Darkest Part of the Forest was absolutely magical, creative, and so beautifully written. Holly Black’s writing style is captivating and dreamy and twisted; and although this story takes place in the real world, it feels like you are reading an old fairy-tale, which fits this book very well. The siblings Hazel and Ben live in a small town called Fairfolk, a city surrounded by a haunted forest full of Fairy Folk. In that forest stands a glass coffin, in which lies a sleeping, beautiful boy with horns on his head. The boy has been asleep for centuries, and although Hazel and Ben once dreamed of saving him when they were younger, things are different now. Both teenagers are hiding huge secrets for each other, but when one day the boy is freed and wicked fairies start crossing the forest borders into the human city, it’s up to them to trust each other and save Fairfold. Once, there was a girl who made a bargain with the Folk. She vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forget herself. Things didn’t end well. I love Hazel and Ben, not only as main characters but also as siblings. One of my all-time-favourite shows is Gravity Falls and one of the central points of that show are sibling relationships, and likewise the bond between Hazel and Ben plays an important role in this book. No matter how different they are in character – Hazel is the daring, outspoken one while older brother Ben is more calm and hesitant – they support each other 100% (even going so far as to make a…very shadowy bargain with the Folk to keep the other’s dream alive). The Fae are another element of this book that I loved. You’ll find no sweet, kind-hearted creatures in this book: the fairies are all manic and fierce and known for luring foolish people to their death. Yet this doesn’t stop the citizens of Fairfolk from throwing parties around the glass coffin, and raising a changeling child as their own. This mix of reality with fairy-elements, of unrelenting human spirit against wicked fairy magic, gives this book such an exciting atmosphere and inspiring power. My only complaint is that Black left a lot of her plot-lines half finished or not fleshed out enough (for example, Severin wasn’t nearly enough in the story). However, the mystery of Fairfolk is very intriguing, the (LGBT!) romance in the novel is very cute, and overall this is a very enchanting story. 4 stars
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the writing style in this book. I want more 3rd person POV! And this is the first fairy book I've read all the way through that I've enjoyed! It was fun, but still had substance.
  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    There are some nitpicky things I could bring up, (a big one being the oh-so-convenient "parental abandonment"), but I didn't feel like anything I could mention would really have impacted my total enjoyment of this book.I actually thought that this was the first book by Black I've read, but apparently I forgot about White Cat and her graphic novel series, which I suppose isn't a good thing ...I really want to commend Black on being able to write stand-alone young adult novels. I honestly don't ne There are some nitpicky things I could bring up, (a big one being the oh-so-convenient "parental abandonment"), but I didn't feel like anything I could mention would really have impacted my total enjoyment of this book.I actually thought that this was the first book by Black I've read, but apparently I forgot about White Cat and her graphic novel series, which I suppose isn't a good thing ...I really want to commend Black on being able to write stand-alone young adult novels. I honestly don't need everything to be a trilogy or long-ass series. So kudos to her for that. I see she has another, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, that I want to check out purely for the fact that it's not part of a series.One of the things I think a lot of people are applauding is the fact that there's a gay character, a (maybe?) bisexual character, and African American characters (actually from Africa as there's a part when they mention Yoruban ancestry). Almost none of this felt forced, either. I say almost because I thought the (maybe?) bisexual character was a bit convenient, I don't know why there had to be a supposed love triangle at all, honestly. The town and its mixture of different types of people was really believable though, aside from the adults being bigots and absolutely no help in times of danger ... The story was also quite original, and although the whole "girl power" thing has been done to death, I liked the twists Black worked into the narrative. Some of them were actually surprising and quite clever. The one problem with this not being a series though is that a lot of character development is shoved to the side to make way for the plot. The main character gets a huge spotlight shone on her while the others fade a bit into the background.I like stories about the fae that delve into the lore as much as possible while also creating something new and exciting, and I think Black does a great job adding her own flavor to these myths and legends.
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  • Riley
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this but I definitely think I will forget about it in a couple days \_(ツ)_/ I enjoyed this but I definitely think I will forget about it in a couple days ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Kat Kennedy
    January 1, 1970
    Time to admit that I'm just not going to finish this one.
  • maybelline™
    January 1, 1970
    So like, this book was recommended to me two months ago – just to show you how terrible I am. I’m finding this book hard to rate because on one hand, I loved the eerily-dark “fairy” tale and on the other hand, my attention was kinda lost in the semantics of fairies and magic and horned-prince-boys. The Darkest Part of the Forest takes place in Fairfield, a strange town where humans and faeries live side by side. The locals are used the mischievous pranks that the faeries play on tourists bu So like, this book was recommended to me two months ago – just to show you how terrible I am. I’m finding this book hard to rate because on one hand, I loved the eerily-dark “fairy” tale and on the other hand, my attention was kinda lost in the semantics of fairies and magic and horned-prince-boys. The Darkest Part of the Forest takes place in Fairfield, a strange town where humans and faeries live side by side. The locals are used the mischievous pranks that the faeries play on tourists but are in an agreement that fairies will mean no harm to locals. Deep in the forest, there is a glass coffin that holds the body of a sleeping-horned-boy that has remained for generations. Hazel and her brother Ben are enthralled by this horned boy, their secret prince, since they were children. But one day, the horned boy awakes, and Fairfield as they know it has changed completely. The monster that lives deep in the forest has emerged and the town is turned upside down. It’s up to Hazel and Ben to solve this mystery and resort their life to what it once was. And it was a really, really good story. I enjoyed the writing initially, I loved the uniqueness of the plot, but there was something about it that was slightly lulling me into a sleep. The characters were alright, I felt like Jack was the most interesting, the others were kinda so-so, (yes, even the horned-prince boy). Hazel and Ben’s parents are just too much for me, like they’re crazy. They’re a big NOPE for me. I don’t know what really else to say, it was a decent read and I’m glad I finally read something by Holly Black; but it was pretty mediocre IMO, nothing extremely compelling about anything. “Can you save yourself?” Hazel asked…He shrugged. “We’ve all got to try, right?” 3 stars!!!
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  • ☆☽Erica☾☆
    January 1, 1970
    Oh goodness, this was so lovely.I feel so warm and fluffy inside because of this charming little adventure of a book. It is just so whimsical and magical and creative. The story itself follows the life of two siblings, Ben and Hazel, as they grow up in a town intermingled with the world of fairies. The two possess very different, but equally extraordinary, abilities that play a pivotal role in combating an evil magic that is overtaking their town. Their adventures are also intertwined with overa Oh goodness, this was so lovely.I feel so warm and fluffy inside because of this charming little adventure of a book. It is just so whimsical and magical and creative. The story itself follows the life of two siblings, Ben and Hazel, as they grow up in a town intermingled with the world of fairies. The two possess very different, but equally extraordinary, abilities that play a pivotal role in combating an evil magic that is overtaking their town. Their adventures are also intertwined with overarching themes of love, overcoming loss, self-acceptance, and just generally feel-good moments.Furthermore, the writing is also really enjoyable. It flows effortlessly and allows you to become enraptured in this sweet gem of a story. I wasn't surprised to find that this author has a lot of really popular books (although I haven't personally read anything of hers before). Her writing is indicative of a very marketable author.I would highly recommend this book to someone looking for an easy, enchanting read.
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  • Shannon (leaninglights)
    January 1, 1970
    Here’s the thing. This book is well written. It’s unique. It’s a standalone YA fantasy book (WHAT?). It’s a popular author. It’s got a cool setting and interest plot. It’s got interesting characters. So why didn’t I love it?I’m not quite sure what went wrong with this book for me but I can tell you the only reason why I finished it is because of the audiobook and the 1.75x listening speed. I wasn’t invested at all and I was just kind of wanting it to be over.The book started really well and I wa Here’s the thing. This book is well written. It’s unique. It’s a standalone YA fantasy book (WHAT?). It’s a popular author. It’s got a cool setting and interest plot. It’s got interesting characters. So why didn’t I love it?I’m not quite sure what went wrong with this book for me but I can tell you the only reason why I finished it is because of the audiobook and the 1.75x listening speed. I wasn’t invested at all and I was just kind of wanting it to be over.The book started really well and I was super interested to see this small town and folk lore. I actually was getting a Twilight ambiance (small erie town with mysterious dark woods). But about 25% of the way through, I just lost interest. The relationships were boring and underdeveloped to me. I also didn’t feel there was enough depth. I think the author wanted depth, but somehow it didn’t happen for me. I wanted more grit and grime and history. I wasn’t night Hazel and all her adventures.So all in all, lots of good parts, but they weren’t greater than the whole, in this instance. Still glad I read it but I can’t say I’d recommend unless you are a big H. Black fan or you are a big fey fan. I can’t give the book a super low rating because there weren’t blaring errors or poor execution, just something missing overall. I’d say at this point it’s a low 3 stars.
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  • Sarah Churchill
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest, I haven't read many fairy books but this was exactly the kind of thing I expect from the fae - whimsical and beautiful, dark and dangerous. It plays on the form of traditional fairy tales and twists them into a modern take, complete with a female warrior and LGBT characters. I enjoyed the twists and did feel a connection to most of the characters, and overall had a lot of fun reading it.
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  • ⚔ Silvia ⚓
    January 1, 1970
    Ben told stories. Hazel became those stories. Wow. I absolutely loved this book and I have no idea where to begin with this review. There are many ways to describe The Darkest Part of the Forest. Everyone will tell you something different, probably. To me, it’s a story about brothers and sisters. “You and your sister are very dear to each other. To show your regard, you give each other lovely bouquets of lies.” Hazel and her brother Ben live in a town where fae and humans live on…not exactly Ben told stories. Hazel became those stories. Wow. I absolutely loved this book and I have no idea where to begin with this review. There are many ways to describe The Darkest Part of the Forest. Everyone will tell you something different, probably. To me, it’s a story about brothers and sisters. “You and your sister are very dear to each other. To show your regard, you give each other lovely bouquets of lies.” Hazel and her brother Ben live in a town where fae and humans live on…not exactly friendly terms, but those who are born and raised in Fairfold are relatively safe (unlike the tourists who often visit it, many of which end up missing or dead). When they were kids, Hazel had dreamed of being a knight, and she’d become one, hunting “bad” faeries with the help of Ben’s magic. Until things became too scary and dangerous and they’d stopped. That’s when they began keeping secrets from each other. Sparing another person is a tricky thing. It’s easy to think you’re succeeding when you’re failing spectacularly. Hazel makes a deal with the faeries and that changes the way she goes on with her life. She seemed to be running toward trouble, leaving no stone unturned, no boy unkissed, no crush abandoned, and no bad idea unembraced. She and Ben are still very close but everything is different now. Flirting didn’t mean anything to her.[…] While she was flirting, Ben was falling in love for the first time. But one of the things they still have in common is their love for the faerie prince who sleeps in the forest, in a glass coffin, to whom they have told their secrets for many years, but who has never woken in…decades? Centuries? (I’m not entirely sure about the timing in this.) They were in love with him because he was a prince and a faeries and magical and you were supposed to love princes and faeries and magic people. […] They loved him as they loved the Eleventh Doctor with his bow tie and his flippy hair and the Tenth Doctor with his mad laugh. […] It wasn’t like it was real. It wasn’t like he could love them back. It wasn’t he’d ever have to choose. Except now he’d woken. That changed everything. His awakening has moved things and there’s a monster in town that they have to defeat, with the help of Jack (Ben’s best friend and a changeling) and the faerie prince himself, who is very much involved in this whole deal.This is a very folklore-heavy book, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all. There’s a lot of myths mentioned and interwoven in the plot, but they’re all explained (in a very nice and non-boring way - I always lose my focus right away whenever a story is told within another story, but that never happened once in this book). Furthermore, if you grew up in an English-speaking country and/or have read a lot of YA fantasy, you might be familiar with some of these already. I personally was only familiar with this one I’m about to quote and let me tell you, I got tears in my eyes because this myth is told in my favorite German poem (Der Erlkönig) and to see it mentioned in a YA book made my day. 'But Alderking has a more sinister meaning, too. Perhaps you’ve heard this before:“Mein Vater, mein Vater,Jetzt faßt er mich an!Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan!”' The other myths that I actually didn’t know anything about (we don’t really study northern/Anglo-Saxon mythology in Italy -faeries and such are completely out of our lore) were extremely interesting and told in such a way that made me want to find out more about them for the first time since I started reading fantasy.Another element that I loved in this book was the romance. Don’t let the synopsis fool you, there’s no love-triangle in this (at least I don’t see it as such). This is also a really good example of how to include more diversity in fantasy. A character just happens to be gay, and instead of being only defined by his sexual orientation, that’s just part of who he is. Let me just add that the whole gender-role-reversal was amazingly done. Hazel was the one who wanted to be a knight and there is no shame in that. That didn't make her masculine-looking or other stereotypes like that. Not to say that she couldn't have been masculine-looking, but that would have really been a little bit too stereotypical and frankly we can all do without that. At the same time, Ben wasn't just uselessly waiting for his sister to save him, and even if he wasn't the knight, he helped fight the faeries with his magic, and saved the day at times when physical force wasn't going to be of much help.As I was saying, the romance. It felt refreshing in a way. There’s a lot of kissing and talking about kissing -kissing for fun, kissing because you’re scared, because you don’t know what else to do at a party, because the boy you want to kiss is the sleeping faerie prince inside the glass coffin that won’t break. If you judge Hazel for the way she acts I will personally fight you.When actual romance (and not just random kisses) develops, it is so sweet and -combined with the amazing writing- it makes me want to reread parts of this book right away because they were just too good. “When I heard your voice that night, I recognized it instantly. It’s a voice I know better than my own. […] You know, it nearly drove me mad to listen to so many voices, a cacophony of sound, of words I didn’t know piling up, of time slipping in skips and jumps. And then you, speaking to me-to me. I started to know the length of a day in the interval between your visits. While reading this book, I couldn’t help often being reminded of The Raven Cycle. There are some parallels - the town where magic stuff happens, the kiss-talk - but this book is also more…grounded? I adore TRC with all my being but the actual fantastic elements can be confusing at times, just because they’re not explained, whereas with this one everything is explained and it leads back to a myth.There are no loose ends (it’s a real standalone) and I found the ending very satisfying and I would recommend this book to everyone.(view spoiler)[And because apparently I’ve become someone who cries for every single book now, this last line made me bawl my eyes out because I fucking love happy endings:There, a prince of the Folk takes up the mantle of king, embracing a changeling like a brother, and, with a human boy at his side, names a girl his champion. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    Once I picked this one up, I couldn't put it down. I read almost all of it in one day. It was that entertaining. I was hooked, needing to know what was next, what was going on, where these characters would end up. My first Holly Black book will certainly not be my last!
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  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored this! It’s a creepy, modern fairy tale with princes, curses, deep secrets, knights, an ominous forest, and wonderful characters. I didn’t want to leave this story, and I fully intend on rereading it probably sometime soon.
  • Eryn☘
    January 1, 1970
    **3 stars**Buddy read with: Chelsea Well, after nearly a year on my bookshelf, I finally read this. And unfortunately, it was pretty much just average.The beginning, however, was not good at all. I mean, talk about a steep slope to get passed. Phew. That beginning left me extremely bored and had me losing interest in the story fast - and I even considered DNFing it. However, because I hate doing that and because I was buddy reading this novel, I pushed on through. And was I happy that I did? Mm. **3 stars**Buddy read with: Chelsea Well, after nearly a year on my bookshelf, I finally read this. And unfortunately, it was pretty much just average.The beginning, however, was not good at all. I mean, talk about a steep slope to get passed. Phew. That beginning left me extremely bored and had me losing interest in the story fast - and I even considered DNFing it. However, because I hate doing that and because I was buddy reading this novel, I pushed on through. And was I happy that I did? Mm. Yes and no.Yes, because the book did end up getting better the further you read. I liked finding out about "The Boy in the Casket" or "The Prince" - the whole backstory surrounding him, Hazel, Jack, and Ben. It was pretty interesting. No, because the story continued on being slow, and I really didn't like Hazel. She was obsessed with boys, and literally every chapter was filled with her wanting to kiss someone, being jealous of her brother kissing someone, wanting someone she couldn't have... Ahh, it was too much for me. The girl needed to chill.Overall, it was an imaginative story. I thought it would be a lot darker than it was (though I think Holly Black tried really hard to make it eerie, I just never felt freaked out while I was reading. It was just all kind of borderline weird/fairy-tale like, and while I do enjoy that, this book was obviously supposed to be something darker). What I'm pretty much trying to get across is that this novel was about as average as you can get with a book, before it turns into a "not-so-great novel."
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  • Lexie
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my god.As a book that channels faerie lore, this merits its 5 stars.As a book that explores intricate family dynamics, it merits its 5 stars.As a book that celebrates the beauty of the written word, it merits its 5 stars.So... 555 stars total? I've lined them side by side, and that sounds just about right.
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  • Fenia
    January 1, 1970
    Dark, dreamy and romantic. I loved it! 'The Darkest Part of the Forest' is my first 'fairies' book, and Holly Black's book, and it was amazing! Its such a page turner, action-packed, full of dark myths and rhymes. Hazel, Ben, Jack..everyone, is special in their own way, and the whole book was special. I havent read anything like it before. I want more!
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  • rin (lorenzo)
    January 1, 1970
    a little offtop BUT GOD HOW MUCH I LOVE DIFFERENT STORIES ABOUT DIFFERENT CHARACTERS NOT EVEN CONNECTED SET IN THE ONE UNIVERSE WOO BOYanyway, i actually happened to enjoy it more than the cruel princegod i loved the plot so much (view spoiler)[and the fact that all those messages hazel left to herself??? ainsel thing???? IT WAS SO COOL I LOV THINGS LIKE THIS SO MUCH (hide spoiler)]i loved the characters, hazel and ben are such cute siblings, like they love and care for each other but also are c a little offtop BUT GOD HOW MUCH I LOVE DIFFERENT STORIES ABOUT DIFFERENT CHARACTERS NOT EVEN CONNECTED SET IN THE ONE UNIVERSE WOO BOYanyway, i actually happened to enjoy it more than the cruel princegod i loved the plot so much (view spoiler)[and the fact that all those messages hazel left to herself??? ainsel thing???? IT WAS SO COOL I LOV THINGS LIKE THIS SO MUCH (hide spoiler)]i loved the characters, hazel and ben are such cute siblings, like they love and care for each other but also are competitive in some way, i love good portrayal of brother-sister relationship. family-wise, i also loved jack's human family so much when they went against town people?? so niceromannnnccccee. THIS WAS SO CASUALLY GAY (- em). i found ben and severin getting to confessions a little too soon but idc it was cute and made sense in some way. (psst can we get spinoff about them like pretty pwease??) hazel and jake were cute too overall, it's a very solid novel. i love holly black's writing, i need to read more of her books.
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