Book Review: The Darkest Part of The Forest by Holly Black

Written by: Holly Black
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Pages: 336, hardcover
Series: Standalone
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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?



All right, so I’m a big fan of Holly Black. The only books of hers I haven’t read are her Modern Faerie Tales, so when I knew she had a new book coming out I was already in line to pre-order it. Because I knew I was in for a wicked story. When I found out this was a book about the Fae I grew even more excited. I’ve adored Spiderwick for the story for so long it’s been a problem. I knew Holly would be able to create something amazing with the Fae since her writing has grown so much since the Spiderwick times.

What I really didn’t expect was what I got with The Darkest Part of the Forest. I expected a story, I expected a read that I would read while taking time to continue my binge of Dragon Age Inquisition (You’ve been wondering why I’ve been quiet? Heh.) what I didn’t expect was to practically ignore everything for this book. I read until late in the night, I picked it up the next day until it was forced from my hands. I even took my Kindle copy with me to an all-day even that I knew I wouldn’t be able to read at. But if I had two seconds to read I wanted this book with me! Spoilers: I didn’t. But I had it with me.

The Darkest Part of the Forest has a simple narrative, a simple straight forward story, but it flowed. It grew from one page to the next. Holly wove a story that drew the reader in and didn’t let go. The words let the story turn into more than just a story, it was alive, almost. Words can’t even describe this story.


Sometimes Black needed to tell some history so the reader could understand what was going on currently. The best way to do that was flashbacks. While I like flashbacks, and I didn’t mind them in The Darkest Part of the Forest. I have no doubt there are people out there that were thrown for a loop with the flashbacks. To be removed from the story currently going on for backstory can be off putting to some. And I understand that, but I also understand Black’s reasons for doing the backstories the way that she did.

I also feel like there were several secondary characters that I would’ve liked to get to know more. Now I understand this is a 350 page standalone novel. Not everything can be included in a novel like this, there just isn’t time. That being said I would’ve liked to get to know a few more characters. The largest one is Carter, I feel like he really should’ve played a larger role in the story than he did. I would’ve liked to get to know him a whole lot more.


With some books you can point to a character, or a paragraph, or even a story arc and say “Yes. This is why this book is amazing. It’s that part there.” if you were to do that with The Darkest Part of the Forest you’d point to the whole book. There wasn’t a moment where Black allowed the book to fall flat. She kept things rolling throughout and it built and moved and grew and it came alive. In the Author Notes Black comments that the book was difficult to write and went through many changes, well I can sit here and say I can see why and I can see how it all paid off in the end.

Some standalones the reader is left with this grasping feeling of “No, please don’t stop it there! You have to keep going!” but with The Darkest Part of the Forest the end is wrapped up with a bow. Things are going to move forward, but I’m not left dying for answers. I’m okay not knowing exactly how things will go. I’m okay just sitting back and letting that story sit on the shelf as a completed story. Somehow in 350 pages Black did that, and I can’t even sit here and tell you how she did it. Because for all of the buildup, for all of the work that she put into this I should want more. But I love it on its own. I’m so happy and thrilled with the book.


As if my gushing hasn’t been enough for you to understand yes you need this book in your life here it is explicitly stated: Yes. You need this book in your life. You don’t even know what you are currently missing without this book in your life.


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