By Zoe D.
I am as obsessed with The Hazel Wood as Ellery Finch is with Tales of the Hinterland. Alice Proserpine is the granddaughter of the fairy tale author, Althea Proserpine. After the death of her grandmother and the disappearance of her mother, Alice and her personal guide to the Hinterland, Finch go on the road to find the Hazel Wood and the not-so-fictional Hinterland. On this journey they meet the horrifying protagonist from her grandmother’s coveted stories.
I truly cannot recommend this book enough. I was hooked from the very first page and couldn’t put the book down. This book is the perfect mix of mystery, horror, and fantasy. I couldn’t predict what would happen next. The Hazel Wood is perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
I could write an entire paragraph about this book’s imagery (and I will). The best word to describe the imagery is gorgeous. Seriously, I love it almost as much as I love the book itself. Melissa Albert never left me questioning any little detail and did it without overloading me with too much information. It is a truly rare feat that an author can put the words ‘neurotically’, ‘wine’, and ‘carnage’ in one sentence without genuinely confusing me.
I loved all the characters from Alice to Ella. I could easily understand Alice’s motivations, but lacked character development. At the end Alice seemed like the same person that she was in the beginning but in completely different circumstances. That being said, each character had many flaws and that is what made them all likable and realistic. While Alice lacked character development, Finch’s development throughout the story was amazing and part of the reason he has risen to be my favorite character by far (wow, a book obsessed nerd willing to do anything to join the fictional world and live out his days in a fairy tale? I never would’ve guessed).
Although the book captivated me, I had issues with the pacing. The first half of the book seemed too slow and too focused on minute details. Subsequently, the second half of the book was too fast. The book felt messy towards the end and unsatisfactory.
Even though the book had its flaws, the pros outweigh the cons. I sincerely enjoyed the book and hope more people read it. The Hazel Wood deserves all the hype it’s gotten.
Rating: 4/5 feather, bones, and combs