My rating: 1 and a half of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pacing: Slow to Normal Pacing
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published: January, 30th 2018
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.
“Life was a big thing to live without a map.”
I received The Hazel Wood in an Owlcrate Book Box at the beginning of 2018. I’ve been putting off reading it, to be honest I was a tad scared of the mixed reviews it was getting. So I decided to go for it this month and make it part of my Winter Wonderland Reading Challenge (that is put on by the TBR and Beyond group). Ok… this was not one of my top reads this year. I hate giving low reviews because someone poured their heart and soul into it but I just couldn’t get into the story.
So let’s start with the positive, I like the premise of the story, the fact that everything revolves around a fairy tale book and the mystery that surrounds it. That whole enigma kept me interested into what was happening for a little while and that is probably the only thing that kept me going to be honest. Well that and my refusal to DNF a book, I have a compulsion to finish things.
I also did enjoy the little geeky references we got here and there like Doctor Who or Supernatural only because I’m a fan of both and love when they are referenced, they had nothing to do with the story.
Let’s talk about Alice, the main character. For me, Alice was unlikable and not in the good anti-hero way we see sometimes. I couldn’t relate to her, she seemed very whiny and came off as entitled. I didn’t care about what was happening to her at all. It felt like the author was trying too hard to make her edgy and it just didn’t work for me. She was a lot of the time nasty to the people that tried to help her.
The plot was disappointing. I thought it was super predictable, from the beginning I was pretty sure of how it would play out. I was hoping that the ending would save the book for me but it didn’t.
I really wish I liked The Hazel Wood more but unfortunately it didn’t keep me interested enough to get me to read the upcoming books. I would probably give the author another shot.