When there are books that are super hyped up, I’m both nervous and excited to finally read them. I feel like I had been hearing nothing but rave after rave after rave reviews about THE HAZEL WOOD and I was so excited to finally sit down and read one of my most anticipated reads of 2018.
The 411: Our protagonist is Alice, a nomadic teen who has spent most of her life flitting from place to place, receives news that her grandmother has died. Her grandmother is an old recluse and acclaimed author of a collection of dark fairytales. When Alice’s mother gets taken captive by a mysterious entity who claims to be from The Hinterland, the magical world that her grandmother’s stories take place, Alice is forced to confront family secrets and the book’s crazed fans that she has long avoided.
Ok, so that premise is AWESOME, yes? I want to make completely clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this book. It’s super interesting, extremely creative, and has multiple Iowa references…which made this little Hawkeye very happy. I breezed through this in a couple of hours. And it definitely still deserved a place on the most anticipated releases list…
Here’s where the disappointment came in: One of the main things I read in reviews was that the story was twisted and dark. Fantasy + twisted + dark = everything I want in a book. I do recognize that my threshold for creepiness is a lot higher than most people’s, but I didn’t find this book twisted or dark or creepy at all. If I had just picked this book up without hearing anything about it, the rating might be at least four stars.
I’m happy that there are going to be more stories from this world, because I highly enjoyed Alice and The Hinterland and all the fairytale characters. Now that my expectations are different, I predict it will be a completely different reading experience.
MY RATING: ✰✰✰1/2
RECOMMENDED FOR: YA-fantasy lovers
MAY I ALSO SUGGEST: MENAGERIE series by Rachel Vincent
Thank you Flatiron Books for my galley. THE HAZEL WOOD is available now.