Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Series: The Hazel Wood #1
368 p.
Published: 1/30/18
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Amazon Affiliate Link: http://amzn.to/2EDxRaB

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic 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 away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.” 
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
My thoughts:

I didn't know what to expect with this book but dark fairy tale is something I do gravitate toward. I was not disappointed and really found the tale to be inventive and unusual. I did see some things that felt like retellings, but it really felt like something new.

I admit it took me a while to get used to Alice and really like her. Part of the problem is that it took a long while to get to Alice's true origin story. Even though that was frustrating in part, you also knew that when you got the story it would have to be close to the end and that it would bring all the elements together. I also was a bit frustrated with not knowing all the fairy tales we encountered. Like the stories were dangled just out of reach and I wish it came with a companion book of the fairy tales. Tales I know would be hard to read as the ones we got to know were dark as if the Grimm brothers took an even darker turn with their tales.

What kept me going was the mystery I was determined to solve and that I really started to like Alice. I really wanted a win for her and I wasn't sure this story would end on a positive note. I won't tell you if it does end well, but I will say that the story felt complete (despite it being the first in the series) and not everything ended in how most stories end. I'm extremely curious to where the author will take the next book.

I give this story 4 stars. Despite the problems I had in the plot, it was very readable and I also found it very unique. I also think that some of the problems with the plot were intentional. It mirrors Alice who is messy and dark and who we learn about as she learns about herself. There is great character growth in this book.

๐Ÿ”ฎ

66 comments:

  1. Despite some little problems it looks like it is a good novel there. I don't think I knew about it

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    1. Thinking about it, I really think that some of the problems were really intentional.

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  2. This sounds like an interesting plot, the premise is fascinating! I love a bit of mystery in a novel so this sounds perfect. <3

    Charlotte | https://charlotteidek.com

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  3. Love that this has a darker feel to it, I tend to gravitate towards those as well, especially in re-tellings of classics fairy tales for some reason. I think I would enjoy this one as well. I love how you said it felt old but new and all its own at the same time. Lovely review!

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    1. It isn't quite a retelling, but it does have that feel. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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  4. I'm happy you liked this one! I fell in love immediately because of the writing and I was sooo curious about the mystery.

    I agree with you about the next book, what can Melissa Albert write about? I'm going to see her at an event this weekend, so hopefully I can get some answers!

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    1. Oh sweet! I hope you find out and yet I want to preserve the mystery! :) I'm gonna need that next one too!

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  5. I was curious about this one, I LOVE Alice books :D

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    1. It does have an Alice feel... in a way... but it isn't your usual Alice. :)

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  6. Wow, I feel like I'm seeing this one *everywhere* lately. The set-up is definitely interesting but it's a shame it took so long to get to the heart of the story. Glad it ended up being worth the wait, though!
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. I can see why the author chose to do it that way but yea... it did pay off! :)

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  7. This is the second review I've seen today for The Hazel Wood. It sounds like a good story, one I would probably enjoy.

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    1. I think it was a unique take on the fairy tale! :)

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  8. A unique read is always a good thing in my book plus mystery. Lovely review!

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  9. Not one for me because I've never been a Grimms Fairy Tale person or Alice for that matter-even though I had both books as a child. And I do know they weren't really for children. But I'm glad you found something dark and unusual that you enjoyed!

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    1. I didn't care for them as a child either, but for some reason has grown on me. I think that is because I appreciate dark tales more. It is true, though, if you don't like dark, this one isn't for you.

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  10. Hmm, so it takes a long time to get going and doesn't dole out the details very much until later. The dark tales atmosphere would definitely hook me in. :)

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    1. It does get going early but details are much later. I do think it was purposeful. It was very dark! :)

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  11. Thanks for sharing. Sorry it was a bit hard to get into at first, but I'm glad you ended up really liking it - and Alice!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  12. I was curious about this Melissa, and I do like the darker tones.

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    1. I'd love to know if you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  13. Alice + Grimm = weird story ?
    sorry you didn't like it that much, but maybe i'll give it a go one day

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    1. I did like it, I was just a bit frustrated by it. :)

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  14. Everyone I know has loved this book. It's not my typical read but I might take a look.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I think you might be frustrated like me, but I hope you enjoy it at least as much as I did! :)

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  15. I definitely love different, dark reads, but I'm scared about the not knowing the origin story part. I get extremely frustrated when there are things about a certain world or character that I don't understand. XD So glad you enjoyed this, though! Awesome review. <3

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. We sorta know... but not specifics. It was really interesting taking the journey with Alice. :)

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  16. I was sent and audiobook copy of this one. I am eager to read it knowing it is a fairly original dark fairy tale.

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    1. Oh I'd love to see if the audiobook plays differently than reading it.

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  17. I think everyone that I have read so far has the issue with Alice and her character, great review, it's nice to see something more positive about this book

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    1. True, but I do think that was purposeful. That makes her growth even more important.

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  18. I haven't read it but it sounds like a good book despite the few problems you had with it. Thanks for the review.

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  19. I can't recall ever reading an Alice retelling, so I'm really curious about this one. I've been seeing mixed reviews everywhere, (mostly positive) and it's definitely comforting to know that although some of the plot is a bit iffy, the story is good enough to back up those flaws. I think I'll give it a try!

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    1. I've read a few and it really isn't quite a retelling but I can also see a connection (both worlds are crazy!). I hope you enjoy!

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  20. I love dark fairy tail! Despite all the issues, I'm glad you still able to enjoy it Melissa :)

    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

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    1. It was interesting! :) I hope you get to try it!

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  21. I don't think I've ever read a dark fairytale... Or if I have, I didn't know it was one! Another for the wishlist, I think! :)

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  22. I've seen this book floating around! It caught my attention, but I'm wary of reading it. There is good frustration and then there is bad frustration, and I think this one has the latter. I'm a big fan of knowing things, and this sounds like a book that wants to keep you from knowing things until the last possible second, lol.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. A bit of both kinds of frustration for me, but more good. :) However, there will still be questions but nothing that doesn't throw you off a cliffie. :)

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  23. Who loves a unique story? Me, me, me!! :)

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  24. This is on my TBR, so I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it :)

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  25. I'm really curious about this one. I ordered it for my teens so I'm letting them have first crack at it before I start it. ;)

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  26. This sounds really interesting and so good! Thanks for putting it on my radar!

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    1. It was different... so if you are looking for something like that...

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  27. So much buzz around this book and I'm glad that it worked for you!

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. It did make me curious for the next. It felt complete even though there are lingering questions.

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  28. I'm really excited to read this one. It sounds like overall the series is off to a good start. d you enjoyed it.

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  29. Nice review. I have this one on my to-read list. I like the sound of it. Glad you mostly enjoyed it - that's good enough for me!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

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  30. Dark creeptastic fairy tales are the best!
    I so need to read this book...Great review Melissa :)

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  31. Even with the issues you mention, it sounds very good overall. Great review.

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    1. The issues didn't bother my enjoyment so WIN! :)

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  32. So glad to read your review on this book. I completely gravitated toward the cover (it's breathtaking!) when at the library a few weeks ago. Happy to have found your site, too. It looks like there will be lots for me to catch up on! :)

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    1. Thanks for coming to the blog! I hope you read and enjoy this one.

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  33. Despite the issues, sounds like it had a good mystery and turned out to be an enjoyable read.

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