THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST
Paranormal Young Adult
Available January 13th
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Children can have a
cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel
quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe
they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can
believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and
fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts
tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how
to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is
a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it
sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel
and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there
for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years
pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties,
and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
The Darkest Part of the Forest is an odd sort of tale, one of those stories with a combination of elements that leaves us not entirely certain of how we feel when we reach the last page. There’s a lot to like about the world and characters Ms. Black has created, but there’s a certain unusualness–an otherness, for lack of a better word–that is both a highlight and a drawback as events unfold. There are layers upon layers to both Hazel and Ben, their relationship with one another, as well as with their parents and their respective love interests, dotted with sore spots we can’t help but want to–a little sadistically–poke to see if the resulting pain produces answers to questions we didn’t even realize we’d asked.
Hazel and her brother Ben are intriguingly protective of one another, but at the same time highly competitive in a quiet, passive way, often hiding selfish motivations inside words or actions that otherwise appear supportive. It’s not as though they’re unlikable or vindictive however, it’s more that they have a gritty and darkly beautiful relationship with more facets to it than we have time to admire in three hundred pages. While a connection to either of them isn’t overly strong, there’s still something captivating about each of them individually as well as a brother/sister pair, and even long after we’ve finished reading we’re not entirely sure how to put our feelings for them into words.
The two separate romances for Hazel and Ben aren’t quite as fully developed as lovers of romance like myself might wish, but as with Hazel and Ben themselves, there are layers to their loves we know are there but can’t quite see. Overall, The Darkest Part of the Forest is captivating in that it takes us to a place we’re not all that sure we’re comfortable being but don’t necessarily want to escape before doing a little digging to see what we can find. This is the first story I’ve read by Ms. Black, and I look forward to reading much, much more.