STARRED REVIEW
January 2015

A sinister, enchanting forest

By Holly Black
“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin . . . and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.” So begins Holly Black’s exquisite story about siblings Hazel and Ben and the sleeping faerie prince they swore to protect.
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“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin . . . and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.” So begins Holly Black’s exquisite story about siblings Hazel and Ben and the sleeping faerie prince they swore to protect. When Hazel and Ben were children, they would disappear into the forest, whisper their secrets to the horned boy and protect unsuspecting humans from the evil faeries. Ben subdued them with his haunting music, while Hazel wielded a sword against the sinister fae who lured tourists to their deaths. As they grew older, Hazel put away her sword and Ben gave up his music. But then one day the horned boy woke up. Hazel, now 16, once made a bargain with the fae, and they’ve come to collect.

Black’s stories are like the faerie world she creates—deeply dark, yet achingly beautiful. She turns stereotypes on their heads and engages her readers in a discussion about social constructs and finding oneself, whether in a faerie land or the real world. This is a true storytelling achievement and perhaps Black’s finest work yet.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

By Holly Black
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316213073

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