The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is a book that I had been anticipating reading since I heard about it. I mean a book that’s about a darker turn of fairy tales. Yet, I feel that it did not live up to that hype. I was also in love with the cover to be honest, but who isn’t it’s absolutely gorgeous. The book had it’s ups and downs, but for me especially it had a lot of downs.
Right off the bat the pacing is a bit weird. Especially in the beginning of the novel, they find out her grandmother is dead, they decide to stay in New York, and then her mother is married. The most I can remember about this part of the book is that her husband’s name is Harold, he has a lot of money, and has a daughter named Audrey who once sunk a ship. Suddenly they are kidnapped and it sets off the entire journey that Alice takes an unwilling willing participant, Ellery Finch.
Finch was my favorite character in the book and what made this novel enjoyable for me. He was a character that felt the most human and his actions reflected that. I honestly didn’t know that he was supposed to be dead until Alice began to mention it. I almost didn’t believe it because of that and good thing I didn’t. I also felt like they kind of just threw Ellery away. Suddenly, he’s alive, might have a new love interest, is not going back to Earth, and then you find out he is out there exploring the other worlds.
My biggest problem with the book is that I kept forgetting the main character’s name until it became a huge part of the story. I could not picture what she looked like and I quickly forgot any descriptions of any of the people surrounding her. I enjoyed how her tale worked it’s way into the story and reflecting on that there were a couple of hints that pointed towards that concept.
My second problem was that I felt like I had a list of questions that grew longer the further I got into the novel. There were some points that felt glossed over in the sense that it was a major problem and then they just move past it too quickly.
The second half of the novel is where it all came alive and I read through it quicker than I had the first. I felt like the first almost half of the novel made me not want to pick the book back up again because it was so different. It was like having a book having a bit of an identity crisis.
I also kept calling the novel and Althea’s book was called the Hinterland. The novel was more about the Hinterland than the Hazel Wood in my mind. Alice was a part of the Hinterland and she took it away when she changed it. In the end, the Hazel Wood has become a tale of the Hinterland and falls accordingly with the world.
Overall, I would give The Hazel Wood 3/5 stars. If you are interested in mystery, dark fairy tales, and multiple worlds then I would definitely pick up a copy of this book.
Let me know what you thought of this book. Did you like it, hate it, or just indifferent to it? Let me know below.
See everyone on Saturday for another book review.