The Darkest Part of the Forest
By Holly Black
Since I really enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I started paying more attention to Holly Black. This book didn’t hit me quite the same way, but it is still a fun read. There’s something really pleasing about her heroines in both books: they know what they want and they go after it. Even when they flounder about a bit, there’s a certainty to them that I like.
Hazel, the main character here, occasionally (okay, more than occasionally) makes idiotic decisions, but she does so with a purpose. It’s always understandable and I’m often left wondering if maybe she’s right. And when she’s wrong, she acknowledges it, which is another rare and attractive quality. I didn’t feel much of a connection with Hazel (it’s possible I’m aging out of YA, at least a little bit), but I liked her.
The book also provides an interesting look at how easily some pretty horrific things can be normalized such that both the characters in the book and the reader reading the book don’t think too much about it… until someone points out that, wait, no, what you had been accepting for so long is actually not acceptable.
Only the most obvious example of this is how cruel, tricky and magical the fae are, but also how accepted they are in the town of Fairfold. They’re a dangerous and disturbing part of life in this town. People just carry on… until they can’t anymore.