Review of The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The town of Fairfold sits on the edge of a forest, and in this forest rests a horned prince asleep in a glass coffin. Hazel and Ben, two human children whose fates are entangled with the Fae, entertain each other with a myriad of made-up stories about the sleeping prince. When he wakes up, an evil seeps into the town, and Hazel must leverage all her strength to help save the elf prince, her family, and herself.
Yeah, so I absolutely devoured this book over the course of an afternoon.
I’m a total sucker for enchanted forests with magical creatures, so this was seriously the perfect book for me!
I love the world of the Fae that Holly Black has given us, and want all the stories she can give us in this realm.
But as entertained as I was by the Darkest Part of the Forest, several pieces of the story felt rushed and underdeveloped.
Most notably the characters felt a bit superficial. With only a few snippets from their past, much of the story focuses on the here and now, which is fine, but it doesn’t leave as much room for growth.
Of the four main characters, Jack is the most developed and is my favorite. He is a changeling raised in by human parents alongside his “twin” brother, which has left questioning who he really is.
Hazel is the badass lead that has a complex relationship with the Fae. Her night-self is a trained warrior, but her day-self has no memory of her skills or actions.
Although we do get some background, I have so many more questions about her training, her lost memories, and her relationship with specific Fae. Most notably, how did her brother, Ben, not realize she was sneaking out every night for years?
Ben’s past wasn’t as complicated, so he was a pretty solid character. He is a little lamb and is absolutely precious. His devotion to Severin is everything you think of when you hear ‘storybook love’.
Then we have Severin, the mysterious elf prince. Of the four, his character was the least developed but had the most potential.
When we first learn of the sleeping prince, there are all sorts of legends of who and what he is. The character was veiled with so much mystery that I felt the quick unfolding of who/what he is was anti-climactic.
I felt similarly about the tree-creature, Sorrow. Lots of potential for deep dark creepiness, but overall she was kind of meh.
Though I did love the imagery of a gnarled tree-being eerily repeating, “dead and gone and bones,”.
My favorite part of the story was Jack and Hazel’s attendance at the revel, simply because I’ve wanted to attend one since reading the Folk of the Air trilogy!
Despite thoroughly enjoying this story, I wish it was longer to provide more substance to the plot and the characters.