The Hazel Wood is atmospheric, whimsical, and detailed. Reading it was like living inside a Tim Burton inspired Alice and Wonderland (except darker and WAY more my style) in a parallel Every Heart a Doorway universe.
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
Let me first begin this review by saying the atmosphere is 100% there for me. I loved the writing style. It was whimsical, and lyrical, and detailed. There was a great balance between details you needed to build the picture in your head, and details that enhanced the imagery. At times I was lulled by the beauty of the word choices, and at other times I was swept up in the rhythm of the story. So I knew I had to start my review by gushing about how much I loved the writing style.
- Continuing onwards and forwards. I loved the idea and fantasy of this story. It was darker than I was expecting in the BEST of ways.
- The mother/daughter relationship was fraught, vulnerable, and genuine.
- Albert brings in the sexism in the smallest of touches. And I loved this one conversation about privilege too!
- And I will never get over stories within stories. (It’s like Albert looked into my soul when I was sleeping and thought, what things make her tick?)
- GIVE ME ALL THE LITERATURE REFERENCES. And based on them, Albert and I should be friends, just throwing this out to the cosmic universe.
- The plot had all the mystery, all the suspense, and ALL the eerieness. It demanded you keep reading and you know how hard it is for me to resist books….It also has masterful levels of cleverness
And the little details, you know I’m a sucker for those, were ON POINT. The cover is amazing and so meaningful once you realize the significance. The chapter headings were a beautiful touch. Overall, the book is wonderfully whimsical and quirky and also self reflective about the nature of stories and the ways they are kept alive in our hearts.
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