Goodreads: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Hazel Evans and her brother Ben live in the town of Fairfold, where the locals know that Fae inhabit the forest and that if you are smart you leave out milk to appease them and go indoors after dark. Tourists come each year to view the prince in the glass coffin, the boy with horns on his head. And Hazel and Ben dream that he is their prince and they can set him free. But when he finally awakes, he is not the prince they were expecting.
The Darkest Part of the Forest achieves that rare feat of making the girl who kisses all the boys not the snotty “popular” girl but the protagonist. Even when she admits she breaks hearts by making some of the guys think they have a chance, she doesn’t seem like the type of character you want to hate, but the type of character you want to save from herself. But perhaps it helps that we see very little of her high school life and much more of secret woodland life–the one where she hunts the magical creatures who harm others.
Without making a big deal out of it, Holly Black casts Hazel as the sword-wielding hunter/champion and Hazel’s brother Ben as the cautious one, and the one who possesses a magical gift for music. We don’t have to read any justifications for this or read any “girl power” manifestos. This is just the way it is. A teenage girl can pick up a weapon and her brother can prefer not to fight. Now let’s jump into the action.
The story itself is perhaps not novel or groundbreaking. Indeed, as I sit here writing a review, I struggle to remember just what I thought of it. It was interesting. It kept me reading through the night. I liked it. I just don’t have much to say about it. If you like fantasy or fairies or paranormal romance, you will probably like this. It’s not particularly mysterious or romantic or thrilling, but it tells a story and it does it without feeling like it’s using all the YA cliches. Sometimes that’s enough.