Title: The Hazel Wood (Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert
Date Published: 8th February 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
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 . . .
Alice has spent her life on the road having to move from place to place after strange incidents and bouts of bad luck. Her mum Ella is the only family she has after being estranged from her grandmother, writer and recluse Althea Prosperine who wrote a book of fairy tales that are so rare that anyone who gets their hands on them becomes obsessed with them.
A letter arrives announcing the death of Althea and telling them that they have inherited her estate, the Hazel Wood. Ella takes this as a sign that their luck has changed and settles in New York, not wanting anything to do with her mother’s estate, but suddenly she vanishes. Strange things start to happen as Alice begins see people from her grandmother’s stories walking around the city.
As the real world and the fairy tale world collide, Alice embarks on a treacherous journey to find her mother with the help of her friend Ellery Finch.
So I decided to take a break from my usual crime fiction and delve into a bit of fantasy, a genre I haven’t read for a while. This book is also young adult but I’d say it’s at the older end of the spectrum just because there is a bit of bad language and violence.
I love the writing style, there’s this almost poetic feel to the whole book. My favourite part had to be the very creepy fairy tales that are scattered through the book, which are really dark and twisted with no sort of moral to the story. I really hope the author releases them as a separate companion book in the future.
It took me a little time to warm up to Alice, just because I found her to be quite angry and standoffish. Her relationship with her mother could also be categorised as seriously clingy/sisterly which I always find a little cringe worthy. I did however like Ellery Finch, Alice’s friend, who hides his sadness under a smile and even though she keeps being horrible to him, he’s there when Alice needs him the most.
Yes there was the standard YA trope of the mum getting kidnapped but I can forgive that because the story is so twisty and absorbing you kind of forget.
The Hazel Wood is original, enchanting and a little mind bending too.
I know the next book is due out next year and I’m interested to see where the author will take it next as I felt that it kind of round off the story at the end of the book.
About The Author:
Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of BN.com. She has written for McSweeney’s, Time Out Chicago, MTV, and more. Melissa is from Illinois and lives in Brooklyn, New York.