The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert - A Review.
The Hazel Wood is a YA fantasy novel which was originally published in 2018 by penguin books.
It follows the story of a young woman, Alice, who has spent her entire life moving around with her mother, Ella.
Seemingly, bad luck follows the pair wherever they go and strange characters appear out of nowhere - all have a particular interest in Alice.
Alice’s author grandmother, who is something of an enigma to Alice, dies alone on her estate, ‘The Hazel Wood’, she is the famous writer of a collection of creepy and almost gothic fairytales which becomes a cult obsession of a select few people. ⠀⠀
When Alice’s mother is kidnapped, Alice is drawn into the world her grandmother created, quite literally.
This book started off well, I loved the creepy vibes and Alice herself was feisty- if a little cold at times, she was a character I didn’t like but wanted to get to know.
The backstory of Alice and her mother was intriguing and I was interested enough to read on...
But the middle this book lost its way for me.
I still loved the gothic vibes but somehow there just seemed to be too much going on - some of the description was really odd - ‘My mouth tasted like dead coffee and the air smelled prickling and green and my head aches like a hangover and my skin felt electrified’ 🤔
And Alice lost her oomf, instead of interesting, she was bratty, selfish and irritating. I no longer cared. ⠀⠀
If you’re a fan of poetic prose, you may enjoy this book more than I did, but the lack of logical explanation really frustrated me.
In essence, this is a dark fairytale which is usually very, very attractive to me, but this book didn’t quite hit the mark.
✔️ Creepy ‘mini’ stories
✔️ in parts, well described world building
✔️ Lyrical prose gave me a vivid sense of the world.
❌ annoying main character
❌ random descriptive sentences which made no sense
❌ rushed ending which left me feeling ‘meh’