A new year means new books! The genre of books that is my favorite is YA, particularly fantasy. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of YA fantasy books coming out this year that have the potential to be good. Well, I’ve found the first great YA fantasy book of 2015. The book is called The Darkest Part of the Forest and it’s by Holly Black.
The book centers on brother and sister, Ben and Hazel Evans, who live in a small town called Fairfold. Fairfold is unlike any other town because humans and faeries co-exist there. Ben and Hazel always had a dream to save the sleeping prince, Severin, from his glass coffin that is kept in the woods. One day, people discover that the coffin is empty and that Severin is not only awake, but gone. It becomes Hazel and Ben’s mission to find the prince. Many other problems arise to ruin their mission.
There were some things about this book that I really enjoyed. One was the fact that Black set this book during modern times. She could’ve set it back 200 years ago but she didn’t. There were a lot of unconventional ideas that Black used in this book that I really enjoyed. For one she had Severin, the prince, in love with Ben and not Hazel. It would’ve been predictable to have the prince in love with Hazel and then that would’ve created the stereotypical love triangle that we encounter in a ton of YA books. It would’ve been a love triangle because Ben’s best friend, Jack, was in love with Hazel. This option was also unconventional because in a lot of fairy tale princes are in love with a woman so they can marry a princess.
Second, I liked that Hazel was the knight instead of Ben. Even though Hazel had her issues, she still ended up being a strong female character. She had her emotional breakdown, but this was good because it proved that she could show emotion instead of making her into the stereotypical stoic female character incapable of expressing herself emotionally and can only kick butt. Third, I like that Jack wasn’t human, yet Hazel still loved him. She didn’t think of him as a faerie until she saw him in his element with his people. Although, at times she was afraid of him, she still loved him in spite of everything.
I like the writing style of this book. It had the right amount of description and I was able to get a good idea of each character’s personality. This was the first book of Holly Black’s that I have read, and I was impressed. The book was at some points dark, but at the same time there was an element of comedy that I liked. Ms. Black’s book features complex, fully fleshed out characters. As their stories play out, they each find their own happy ending. The Darkest Part Of The Forest will serve as a great introduction to this brand of YA lit, and will also likely please adult fantasy fans as well.