Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (2015), narrated by Lauren Fortgang

Fairfold is not like other towns. Here, regular people live side-by-side with faerie folk, though not always peacefully. In the heart of the nearby forest is a glass coffin which has been inhabited for generations by a horned boy, who remains deep in sleep. Hazel and her brother Ben come to look at the coffin, as others do, and whisper secrets to the sleeping horned boy. Then, suddenly, he wakes.

Despite living in such a magical place, Hazel and Ben are regular high school kids. They have crushes and text their friends and defy their parents. They also know the rules for attending a faerie revelry, have seen tourists murdered in ways that can only be magical, and their friend Jack is a changeling. So, you know, things can get weird. The same night the horned boy's coffin is broken open, a local girl is found almost dead, her mouth full of dirt. Hazel and Ben set out to find out what happened and try and set things right.

I love the cover art, and I will admit it is a large part of the reason I read the book (despite the fact I listened to the audio and barely saw the cover). This really wasn't my kind of story - I mean, faeries? Especially faeries with an 'e'? No, thank you. But because it was Holly Black, and because I so enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown even though it was about vampires, I thought it was worth trying.

The story was good, though as with many books I listen to I think it would have been better for me in print. But I got the gist of it despite my attention-span problems, and I liked Hazel and Ben and Jack and even the horned boy. I liked that it was magical and modern at once.

Some of the narration left a bit to be desired - a few of the male voices sounded forced and fake - but otherwise Fortgang did an excellent job. Her strong voice seemed just right to capture Hazel's personality.

All in all, it was enjoyable enough but didn't really grab me. I have nothing bad to say about it, but it simply wasn't the best choice for me. This wasn't a book that made me excited to listen to the next chapter, but I think people who like books about magical folk would have a different experience.  The Goodreads rating is one of the highest for Black's books, higher even than The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Although I didn't love it, I will likely try other books by Holly Black, but I'll stick to ones that sound more my speed.

No comments: