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.
The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert
*** (3 out of 5)
Amazon | Goodreads
Disclaimer: The above Amazon Link is an affiliate link. If you purchase any books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.
Have you ever tried to fast forward something on the TV but accidentally pushed the button too many times and then it was going too fast that you couldn’t stop it in time?Thats what this book felt like.
It starts out really really slow. Then it speeds up and starts to get exciting. Then it goes too fast and just blurs through everything. It would have been much better if the pace stayed the same throughout the whole book.
Before I started reading I was worried about it being an Alice and Wonderland re-telling. When I was halfway through I couldn’t tell why it was considered a re-telling, but in the last half it makes more sense. She even mentions Alice and Wonderland in the book. But the story overall was still good. I liked the premise of it.
I liked the characters a lot but I wish we would have gotten to know more about some of them. There were so many side characters that seemed super interesting, but you never really learned their stories. A lot of them are alluded to as being stories from the Hinterland, but you don’t get to know anything about them, just bits and pieces and random allusions that make no sense. It was super frustrating!
Finally I didn’t really like the ending. The relationships didn’t turn out the way I hoped (I can’t say more without spoilers) and there were new characters introduced right at the end. This goes back to my last point! I want to know everyone’s stories!! Even if it is just a brief history!
Overall I thought the book was just “Meh” but I know a lot of people loved it. My friend Phil really liked it and he is actually the one that convinced me to read it. I will try to get him to write a review! But he is a butt so he probably won’t 😉 Help me convince him to write a guest review!!
Have you read The Hazel Wood? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! And tell Phil he needs to write a review since he made me read it!!