If you follow my blog regularly you may have noticed me talking about my friend Phil. He is one of my best friends and one of three people that I know in real life that know about my blog. Plus, he is the only person, outside of my blog, that I talk about books with on a regular basis! He was the one that told/asked me to read the Hazel Wood, so its only fair that he has to write a guest review! So without further ado, here is
Phil’s Review of The Hazel Wood
To give some context, I really love dark fairy tales. I love the idea of taking sweet, pleasant stories that we typically tell to children, and turning them on their head with murder and mystery. It’s why I love the the show Grimm, the graphic novel series Fables and its spin off game, The Wolf among us. Its probably why I have such a soft spot for this book.
First, let me get out of the way what me and Brittany both agree on. The pacing is terrible! The beginning was way too slow and the ending way too fast. It felt as if the author was trying to hold back the intriguing mysteries of the story and forgot about a compelling beginning. The only argument I can make for the fast dizzying pace towards the end, would be that it was made to match the setting of the later half of the book. I also agree, to a lesser extent, with her point on how relationships play out in the book.
So why did I still love this book? It’s hard to fully describe without spoilers but I will try. To me (pacing aside) it was a hauntingly beautiful book. The love her mother had for her and all the trouble she went through for Alice made the stakes compelling. Alice’s growth and struggle to fight a possibly tragic destiny was the biggest draw for me. I personally hate the idea of fate or destiny. Like all the best dark fairy tales, The Hazel Wood has a great mix of beauty and tragedy.
I completely understand why some people didn’t like this book, but to me it hit a soft spot with the emotional punches it landed. Overall I have to give the book 4 stars. It would have been higher with a more compelling start and better pacing throughout.