Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: 12 May, 2015
Blurb via Amazon:
Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for…
Generally I am a huge fan of all the fairytale retellings that I read, because of my love for both the original tales and the Disney adaptations. This book is a dark fairy tale, so is more like the original stories by the Grimm brothers, although they did not usually write about fairies. Fairies are my favourite supernatural creature, because of how cunning and malicious they are. I don’t know what that says about me as a person, but it’s probably not a good thing.
Within the book, Holly includes LGBT features, like Ben being gay, but until now I have never read a story with a fairy that has fluid sexuality. Another thing I like about this is the whole small town vibe you get. I tend to be a fan of this in books, because it makes you feel as if there are secrets being hidden, which there are, but this time from the outside world. What I will say is that I was confused as to whether the world knew about fairies or not. I know there were tourists, but was that because they knew the fairies were real and in the forest?
My favouurite character in the book was Hazel, because although she made reckless and stupid decisions, she did them selflessly. This book has one of the most beautiful but simple quotes I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading: “Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.” Can… we… just? Holly Black has done it again everybody! She has created a masterpiece within the genre of fantasy!
The more I think about it, she tackled issues with homosexuality and feminism really well, because Hazel is a warrior and actually saves the horned prince. This is great because the roles of the predictable damsel in distress scenario are reversed. And Hazel is good with a sword! The way that Holly tackles these issues is really subtly, but at the same time poignantly enough so that it makes you think. You don’t often see a fantasy-contemporary mix in books, but this definitely is one and I love it! I think this is a standalone, which is fine, but I would not say no to a sequel. *cough cough *.
5/5 stars are awarded to this dark, twisted and modern fairytale from the wonderful author Holly Black.