The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Review

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a full copy in exchange for honest review. All thoughts are my own. 


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: January 30th, 2018

Pages: 368

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Goodreads blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong. 


The Hazel Wood was a memorising book. I was unable to put it down and I was truly so involved with the plot that I was gasping almost every page. If you enjoyed Caraval (which, I hate but I can see how these two connect) or The Raven Boys I truly believe you will like The Hazel Wood. It has such a dark fairytale vibe to it that throws you into the world where nothing is truly what it seems. 

I went in with some pretty low expectations, I had been seeing some mixed reviews around the place and that always makes me a tad cautious. This book blew those low expectations right out of the park. I was so shocked by the writing, the mystical style and the fact that this was actually an urban fantasy. I was expecting a high fantasy, but nope. I absolutely love urban fantasies too, so this made me happy beyond words.

Actually, my favourite thing was just the fairytales. I absolutely loved the writing style of the few that were included. They left me itching for more and re-reading the pages to try and find hidden messages that would be added to the plot.

One of my favourite things about The Hazel Wood is how unlikeable the main character, Alice, is. She doesn’t give two shits if it doesn’t concern her or her mother. It doesn’t matter to her. It’s always just been Alice and her mum, something I related to considering my family is just my sister, mum and I. The pair have been running for years from bad luck. The bad luck follows them no matter how far they drive or how many houses they live in. They can’t get away. Until Alice’s grandma dies and her mother believes they can finally relax. Finally, escape the cursed fairytales she wrote about. Until Alice’s mother is kidnapped. Teaming up with the help of one of her classmates, Finch (hate that name, too many flashbacks to All The Bright Places), she goes on an adventure to find her. Along the way, she makes many discoveries that change her to the core. She never loses that sense of self though and remains quite unlikeable throughout the whole novel, with her anger and ability to isolate herself. I felt like she grew on me though, like a fungus of sorts.

My only dislike is that we didn’t get a lot of the fairytales, which from the small snippets we did get I wanted more. However, looking at the Goodreads page I presume they’ll be getting released as a novella when book two in this series is released.

Oh also, I hated the lack of parents. They’re only 17 and I mean, yes Alice’s mum has been kidnapped and yes, Finch’s parents don’t like him and he’s mind-blowingly rich. It just seemed like all the parents disappeared though and it was a little annoying because why is no one kicking these kids asses for missing school?

Overall, I loved The Hazel Wood. It was such an interesting read that brought out the darkness involved in fairytales and really highlighted it. It even reminded me of Inkheart, a book I loved when I was younger. It was truly just magical.

Happy reading everyone!

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2 thoughts on “The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Review

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