Published by Moon on January 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.
*I received this book for an honest review
Hazelwoud (or The Hazel Wood in English) is a book I had been looking forward to for quite a while. This book seemed to be a hype even before it got published. To me, it sounded like a book right up my street. A fairytale filled, mysterious book. Well, I’ve read it know. And to be completely honest… I liked it, but I didn’t love it.
Before we get into it, I just have to say how much I love the cover. It’s just a beautiful cover that also fits the book really well. This is the Dutch translation and it has a different cover than the original one. I believe this is the UK cover. And even though I love the original one as well, this is stunning as well. Also, it’s a hardcover. Which I really like, especially since that doesn’t happen too often in Holland. So if you’re a Dutchie, I’d recommend getting the Dutch translation.
Shift in the story halfway through
The first part of the book was very interesting. I got sucked into Alice’s story right away and I was really interested to find out how it all connected and what was going to happen. Halfway through the story, there seemed to be a sort of shift. The story got more difficult, complicated, a little bit slower and just not as interesting anymore. I guess there was just too much going on, which made it difficult to keep up. Overall, I did really like the story. As well as the characters. But I do feel like it could have been a lot better, a more developed story.
Dark and gruesome fairytales
I loved all the fairytales in this book, well if you can call them fairytales because it’s not your standard ‘and they lived happily ever after’. No, they were quite gruesome, and without happy endings. While reading this, I kept on thinking that this book should have been released around Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a horror book, it’s not scary at all. But for me, it did have that mysterious, exciting Halloween feel to it. I think the whole mystery vibe is what I loved the most about this book. It keeps you interested and engaged.
It also has some twist and turns that I personally didn’t see coming, which is always a good thing. I did have one mouth drop moment while reading this. I have to say there was also a twist that I didn’t really like. I was convinced a certain character would end up with another character (I don’t want to spoil…) but they didn’t, and I felt a little sad about it.
All in all, I liked the book; the world, the story and the characters, but in the end, it left me feeling a little bit unsatisfied. It just wasn’t all it could have been. I am still really excited for the second book though. I gave this one 3 stars.