The Darkest Part of the Forest is a must-read for any faery tale lover, especially the tales where Fae are tricksters, inflicting chaos on unsuspecting humans. Fairfold is a little town located near a forest teeming with faeries; they live in tentative harmony, though the humans resort to superstition in order to avoid tricks. It’s been unusual but quiet in Fairfold for many years—but that’s about to end. The horned boy in the glass coffin wakes up, and with him chaos stirs.
I didn’t like the main character, Hazel, at first. There’s nothing special about her, and though we learn later that it was done intentionally, in the first chapter I wondered why she was the main character. Others—like her brother Ben, or his friend Jack—seemed more worthy of the title of protagonist. Of course later we learn there was more to her than the plain girl who kissed lots of boys.
But what we’re really interested in is the horned boy who’s slept in the glass coffin since Hazel and Ben’s parents moved to Fairfold. The glass has been beaten, screamed at, kicked, defiled, but nothing wakes him up. Hazel and Ben have always wanted to wake him, but could never have imagined what would actually happen when he did wake—never predict he would have such a bizarre personality, or lead them into a world so dark and frightening.
The Alderking rules over Fae who live perpetually dancing, drinking, eating, causing trouble to humans—but they aren’t truly free. I don’t think they know what happiness is, because they don’t know true love. The one time true love did come about, the Alderking put an end to it—something I can’t elaborate on without spoiling things. These Fae are not happy so they pick on the humans. I loved this idea of them.
Hazel seems so plain in the beginning, but I closed the book thinking I really wanted to be her, to live where she did, to have the friends she did. This is a book that swept me away; the writing was fantastic, poetic, creating vivid imagery in my head. It would be a great springtime read for anyone who likes faeries, mythology, and complicated characters.