I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on “The Hazel Wood” by Melissa Albert, it is due for publication today and available in various formats. Published by Penguin it can be purchased from Amazon UK
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.
To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .
When you think of fairy tales it is often woods, wolves, castles, princes and princesses with a happy ever after. The Hazel Wood is nothing like that, it contains fairy tales but they are darker with an underlying feeling of dread to them. The reclusive and mysterious author Althea Prosperine published her only novel Tales of the Hinterland. Her granddaughter Ella has never met Althea, never read the book, but is aware of it. In fact not many have met Althea or even have a copy of the book. Ella and her mum Alice have to move around a lot, they keep their heads down, always try to keep ahead of the bad luck that seems to shadow them. This story is how Ella and the reader learns about The Hazel Wood, the book and the bad luck.
This is a brilliantly woven story using the basic premise of a fairy tales. Twisting them into a dark and brooding journey for the reader. As we follow Ella and Alice there are things that are seen out of the corner of an eye that gives feeling of the supernatural that have mysterious darker undertones, shadows that linger, people that don’t quite fit in, this all adds to a feeling of tense suspense. As the story unfolds there are several twists that I didn’t expect, they are clever and make this an extremely addictive read. There are several characters in this story and they are easily remembered and play their parts well, they have good backstories, and while I didn’t like all the characters I found them intriguing.
Once I started this story I could not put it down, the descriptions give a vivid and imaginative picture. I loved the style of the writing, at times it had the fairy tale feel you would expect, but also a darker much more intense feel that was far removed from fairy tales. I would like to see follow on from this book as there were several characters that I would like to know more about, and some that left me with questions. But overall it has been beautifully put together and is one I would absolutely recommend.
So if you like a dark and twisty fantasy read that has some roots in magical fairy tales then this is a book for you. It is a young adult read, that an older adult loved.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for my eARC of this wonderful book, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.
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Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share. Or go and grab yourself a copy of this brilliant book 🙂 xx