Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: January 30, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Indigo Teen

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic 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 Hinterland, 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.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began-and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.


I won this book from an Indigo Teen’s giveaway, which doesn’t affect my review. Thank you, Indigo Teen and the author.

 

“I remembered less from my own life than I did from the books I read.”

With dark and beautiful storytelling, Melissa Albert introduces you to an eerie fairy tale. The Hazel Wood is a good start to a well-thought-out series. And as much as I wanted to fall in love with the lush writing, I couldn’t. This Alice in Wonderland retelling doesn’t quite capture my imagination.

I truly wanted to like it more. But while reading, I felt that the story dragged on for more than half the book. And once you get to the Hazel Wood and Hinterland, the storyline fractures into pieces that I found too distracting. I knew this book threw off a lot of readers who thought it’s not set in our modern world. So thankfully, I knew that coming into Hazel Wood.

I hate writing negative reviews. So much work goes into creating a book. And I have to give respect where it is due. Melissa beautifully creates a spooky world. And her writing draws you into her storytelling. You see her dedication to her craft. But I didn’t build a connection to the story or the characters. And I was expecting more world building in this kind of novel.

Alice has survived from one bad situation to the next. She never seems to find good luck in her life. As she and her mother live on the road, Alice has always been fascinated by her grandmother, who wrote the infamous Hinterland. I wanted to like this character, and while I loved her sarcasm, I felt that she puts herself and others into certain circumstances that she can’t get out of. She can easily prevent this problem from occurring, but she doesn’t stop to think what the consequences will be before doing said action.

Now I had my doubts about Ellery Finch, a fan and collector of Hinterland. I thought I couldn’t trust him, but I was wrong. Surprisingly, I enjoyed his character later in the story, and I think he might be the reason why I’d read the sequel.

If you’re looking for a peculiar and strange take on Alice in Wonderland, then The Hazel Wood should be your next read. While I loved the design of the book, the fairy tales in Hinterland itself, and several secondary characters, I feel that Hazel Wood may not the book for me. But the storytelling makes up for some of my disappointments. With her writing, Melissa will surprise you.

“And while they’re being told, stories create the energy that makes this world go. They keep our stars in place. They make our grass grow.”

Monthly Wrap-Up | February 2018

Hi, dearies!

February is gone? Really? I feel as if it flew past me, and I had no time to get anything done. I certainly haven’t put any dent into that TBR pile, which likes nothing than to laugh at me. Okay, I may need a break if I think my books are taunting me (send help).

This part may not be book related, but I absolutely loved the Black Panther. Can I get more Shuri, please?! I’m so happy to see a female character championing STEM. I really do, and I’m counting down the days until I see Infinity Wars.

 

Look at that. I read more than four books in a month. Woo!!! 😅 I wish I had more time to get to more though. They’re too tempting to see on my shelf. And if you know the secret of how to read quicker, teach me your ways, please.

 

 

Everless by Sara Holland

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love, love, LOVE this book. I cannot get enough of it. I don’t always rave about a debut novel, but you need to read it. Please. I need someone to fangirl with. Sara blends together deception, secrets, and political intrigue in this novel. I’m seriously impressed with her writing and storytelling.

 

Romanov by Samaire Provost

⭐⭐⭐

I thought I left vampires behind, but I was reminiscing over the books I loved, so I signed up for this tour. While it has some rough sections, Romanov is a family-centred fantasy with Russian lore mixed in.

 

Devil’s Gold by Amanda McKinney

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This novella is short yet sweet and so steamy. I want to read more mystery and thriller novels, and I’m glad I picked up this one. Amanda draws you in with independent and strong-willed female characters and a fast-paced writing. I can’t wait to see the next story.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I find that writing the review of this book is hard. But The Cruel Prince, by far, one of my favourite reads of 2018. There is a lot of hype surrounding this book, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it. However, Holly knows how to write fae stories. Jude is a ruthless human who can easily rival faeries. Cardan, the broken prince, is a worthy opponent for her.

My review is coming soon!

 

This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Am I Kelley fan? Yup. Did she make a stellar thriller? Hell yes. Her Rockton Thriller is burning up the mystery scene, and I cannot wait to read the next book.

If you’re looking for an atmospheric book with a touch of romance and fantastic writing, pick up this series.

 

You can find my review posts linked in the titles above.


 

I think I’ve lost count on how many books I need to read, but I keep adding to my literal TBR pile, without actually tackling it. Am I ever going to see it go down to single digits? HA. Now I understand why there are so many memes to help bloggers lower their list.

I lucked out this month by winning a free copy of The Hazel Wood. Thank you, Indigo Teen! I can’t wait to read it.

 


 

How exciting was February for you? Did you grab your most anticipated book of the month? Let me know in the comments.