Book Review: The Hazel Wood
The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert
Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me an Advanced Reader's Copy of The Hazel Wood. All opinions expressed below are my own.
Confession - I'm going to keep this one short and sweet, as I admittedly have a huge backlog of finished but unreviewed books. In the hope of getting them shelved back on my completed shelf, I'm going to get my general thoughts out there for you all to see!
Overall, I really enjoyed The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert and think that it is a strong debut novel. I loved that Alice is a strong female lead who does not need a man to help her through her fairy tale. It tends to be a pet peeve of mine when female characters in fairy tales (even retellings) need someone to save them during the course of the text. There is a male supporting character, but this one definitely does not fall into the rabbit hole of romance.
The world building in The Hazel Wood was phenomenal. I loved that the novel starts us in a totally normal reality and then slowly eases the reader into the fantasy world as Alice learns more about her grandmother, the Hazel Wood, and Hinterland. This was a somewhat unique concept to me as a reader and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I did want more of the backstory, more fairy tales, and more time in the Hazel Wood and Hinterland. I felt like the build-up in the first half or so was great, but that the ending felt a bit rushed and moved forward at a dramatically different tempo. This is the reason for rating the book somewhat lower than I had hoped going into the novel.
It's been a while since I read the book and still have fond thoughts about the story - this is a 4 star read for me and I'd definitely jump back into the series if we are promised more dark fairy tales from Hinterland. I'd recommend this for fans of novels such as Caraval, Everless or Girls Made of Snow and Glass. If you enjoyed those reads, I'm confident you'll enjoy The Hazel Wood as well!