Love, love, love The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. My only criticism is I would have enjoyed spending more time in the Hinterland …
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 4947 KB
Print Length: 347 pages
Publisher: Penguin (8 Feb. 2018)
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels.
But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a 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, by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world from her grandmother’s stories.
Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.
To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .
Available to purchase in digital, paperback and audio formats.
Alice fascinated me. With over-riding memories of her childhood being the highway and staying in different places with different people she’s an outsider, never having that sense of belonging. It’s obvious from the beginning there is something different about her. Mum Ella teaches her strategies for cooling her anger and of course there’s always the accidents and bad luck that follow them wherever they go. Even after grandmother Althea dies. With Ella (the only other person who has been a constant in her life) missing, she’s lost. As you would imagine from her insular lifestyle, when Finch becomes involved she finds it hard to trust him. The fanatical look he gets in his eyes when they talk about her grandmother’s book, ‘Tales of the Hinterland’ doesn’t help either. I must admit I found the beginning of the story a bit slow although of course I understand the need to introduce characters and to get us to a place where we have some (but not all) of the information. Once Alice and Finch meet the characters from the Hinterland, The Hazel Wood became a real page turner for me and I just couldn’t get enough of this world.
I loved the three ‘gifts’ that were left for Alice in The Salty Dog and couldn’t wait to see how they would be used. And like all the best fairy tales, Alice goes it alone on her quest from the time she’s left in the Halfway Woods. Of course she meets others who give her guidance on the way but to crack the final challenge she has to find the strength to be able to break the web. With every fibre of my being I was hoping that Alice’s 17 years of humanity would make a difference …
The Hazel Wood is a dark and demanding fairy tale with creative use of the themes you would expect in any fairy tale. If you enjoy fantasy and magic, this is for YOU! I’m very interested to see where Melissa Albert will take us next.