Adapted from: GoodReads
Despite the fact that I am a huge fan of fantasy, eerie fantasy has always struck me as a little too close to horror. Well, The Hazel Wood defied all odds and managed to be both eerie and one of my top reads of the year! I mean, this fact didn’t help me sleep any easier the night I read it but…
I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up The Hazel Wood, but it certainly wasn’t this. From the first few pages, I loved Alice and her white-hot temper, her strength and attitude. The mystery surrounding her grandmother is both glamourous and dangerous and when Alice finds herself in the center of her grandmother’s world, things get really, really creepy. The Tales from the Hinterland are strewn throughout the novel and honestly, they were the part that made it hard for me to sleep the night I read this book. I think Ellery, the boy Alice enlists to help her, explains it best: he says that unlike many fairy tales, these stories don’t have a moral or a reason. They’re just real. Dark and horrible and real. And there is something very human in that raw darkness.
I think one of my favourite characters has to be The Spinner, SPOILER: <span=”spoiler”> the character who originally created all the stories that make up the Tales of the Hinterland. She’s sneaky and brilliant and tricky.</span> A true Slytherin if I ever saw one. Then there is Ellery who is gut-wrenchingly sad. Not because he’s a sad character, but because he is the son of an extremely wealthy family and yet he is neglected and wants so badly for something more than the world he’s in. He’s not perfect by any means, but you feel for him and his naivety. He’s like a kicked puppy. You can’t help but love Ellery.
Then there is the writing. It is stunningly, hauntingly beautiful with the right amount of is someone watching me right now creepiness. I was very surprised to discover that this is Albert’s debut novel. I feel like it isn’t common to see an author’s first novel be this well written. It flows really well (I would say it is fairly quick paced. A lot happens in the short novel, but it never feels rushed) and everything from the descriptions to the dialogue is well crafted. Overall, a delightful read that makes me think we will see amazing things from Albert in the future!
ALSOOOO I discovered that the story has already been optioned to be made into a film. I think that the writing style in this one really does lend itself to film and it’s sure to be a stunning movie should it all go through.
I really wish that this book had come out in October though because in my opinion, it is the perfect Halloween read. It isn’t horror by any means, but the otherworldliness of it really lends itself to the Halloween feel.
If The Hazel Wood isn’t already on your pre-order list, then make sure to add it nooooow! I anticipate this book being huge when it comes out in January.
A quick shout out to the lovely folks at Indigo Teen for kindly giving me an ARC! It wasn’t even on my radar until then, and that is super regretful. This one needs to be on everyone’s radar!