I loved Holly Black's book The Coldest Girl in Coldtown so much. (It was my third-favorite teen read in 2013.) It was a memorable take on the vampire ethos, haunting and gritty and unique. So when I read that she had a new teen fantasy novel, I was so excited to read it. Especially as it is a remodeling of the Snow White fairy tale, with a fairy prince standing in for the maiden sleeping in the glass coffin and a dash of the changeling myth thrown in—well, maybe I built up my expectations too high.
It tells the story of Hazel and her brother Ben, who grew up in the small town of Fairfold, which lies just on the borders of Faerie. Under the haphazard care of their artist parents, they grew up telling each other stories about the horned boy, who lies in a glass coffin in the woods; as they get older, the stories change into fairy-slaying adventures. The horned boy is never supposed to wake up, nor his glass coffin ever break—but one day, both of those things happen. One night, actually, and then next morning Hazel wakes up in dirty sheets, her feet pierced with glass shards, which is just the beginning of her most dangerous experiences in Faerie.
Which sounds awesome, right?
And really, I'm not sure if I'm being fair. It was pretty awesome. The way the plot unfolded and the secrets were revealed was clever. I liked the characters and the romance.
It just felt like...just another teen book, I guess. Whenever I have a reaction like this to a teen book, it makes me think is it because of the book itself? Or because I'm not the intended audience? I think a specific type of teen reader really would love this book. I just can't imagine it sticking around in my brain for very long. Except to recommend to those certain types of teen readers who will like it.
So yeah: The Darkest Part of the Forest. A fun read. It kept me entertained, but it didn't change my life.