After The Hazel Wood, I was so intrigued to see where Albert took Alice’s story. The Night Country is a story about trying to figure out who we want to be. Will we let our past shape our future? Determine who we want to be in the present?
In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.
With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
The Night Country tackles this issue of ex-stories making their way in Alice’s world. It’s a process full of grief, confusion, and growing pains. It encompasses our feelings of not fitting in, with our sharp edges and ghosts of power. How can they figure out a way to press themselves into the world? To soften their edges? Because at these moments, we have to decide if we are going to transform into something new entirely, or change the world.
After the revelations of The Hazel Wood, who is Alice now? Not even Alice knows how she is supposed to fit back in to life in New York City, not to mention with all these other ex-stories. Is she a monster? A mouse? Or something in between? How can Alice reconcile who she used to be in New York City before the Hinterland and this new Alice? The Night Country starts with Alice’s introspection, which made it more difficult to get back into because there was a sense of listlessness. But it seems to mirror Alice’s own confusion and inner state, struggling with her relationship with her mother, Alice is lost.
Action and Introspection
The Night Country is full of the dangers and hopes a city can hold. It is a city populated by people yearning for new chances at dreams and those wanting to re-write their stories. Who do we become when we have to be? When we are given a second chance? The second half of The Night Country introduces action and mysteries as something begins hunting the survivors from the Hinterland. Each day we are faced with choices to stay or to go. To choose not to belong, or to turn our backs on new friends.
Can Alice figure out who is hunting down her fellow ex-stories and the mystery of the Night Country, without the fragile life she built falling to ruin? Alice has more than any of the others: a home, someone who loves her, and a maybe future. Our dreams and fantasies can become something twisted when it becomes an escape. We can become monstrous when we get exactly what we want. It’s a story of people who are being influenced by others with heavier hands, stronger ambitions, and crueler intentions.
The world can be made and unmade with stories. The Night Country is a book that examines transformation, ambition, and sacrifice. It’s a story about choosing to stay, to fight the difficult battle, and to make a future for ourselves. Find The Night Country on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.