[606]: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black


I’ve read quite a few books about the fae-dom in my years as a book nut. I can’t really say that I’m a fan. These paranormal creatures have always annoyed me, in as much as their worlds and rules frustrated me. They’re very tricky, these things. And the rules humans have to abide by are borderline ridiculous. Having read a number of wonderful reviews about this latest fae book from Holly Black prompted me to pick up a copy. In addition, I was curious about Ben’s relationship with a certain someone.


This book is about a town surrounded by a forest in contemporary America. The forest is home to faes. Growing up in this town, siblings, Ben and Hazel have known all the legends and myths that their town has become notoriously known for – some with a semblance of truth and some that are straight out of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale book. In the forest was a boy encased in a glass coffin. He’d been sleeping there for years. He was the town’s main tourist attraction. Ben and Hazel have considered him their own and therefore very protective of the boy. Many have tried to break the glass but fail miserably. Until one day, when Hazel woke up disheveled and dirty without any knowledge of where she’d been or what she’d done the night before. In the forest, the coffin lay in pieces without a trace of the Prince.

Over the years, humans and faes alike have learned to respect each other’s boundaries. But when the darkest evil begins to seep into the town, and the Sleeping Prince (now awake) on the loose, Ben and Hazel have taken the responsibility to protect their town and find the Prince before the town disappears into the forest. And as they race against time, Hazel’s secret life unfolds along with the barter she made with the fae in exchange for her brother’s prodigious musical ability.


It is amazing to see the dynamics of Ben and Hazel’s relationship flayed apart with every turn of the page. You see them as being as close as they are, but altogether far apart. To protect each other is the basest of their instincts and yet, there is a competing undertone of rivalry neither of them wanted to acknowledge. They’re never contemptuous and the reader can sense their love for each other. But amidst all that, there is a wide chasm that can only be bridged by Hazel’s and Ben’s admission of their guilt, lies, and hurt.

Hazel, in essence, has grown in spite of constant parental neglect, darkness and violence. And yet, she was not as psychotic as one would with her upbringing. Ben, in contrast, was the one who had their parents’ shower of affection (at least when they remember to act like parents). But Hazel never held it against Ben.

Speaking of sibling rivalries, this two have been in a romantic tussle against each other a couple of times. But again, they never talked about it and what they’d done to cause each other heartaches. They have this charisma that is irresistible to boys. Hazel uses hers to keep the boys away. She gave them false hopes only to ignore them soon after they fall for her charms. Ben, on the other hand, spent a lot of his time pining for the sleeping Prince in as much as his best friend, Jack pined for Hazel.


Holly Black knows how to construct a dark world where mystical beings roam alongside humans. It is the kind of world building that meshes modern with the kind of visceral phantasm where one would think they’re in the throes of a drug-induced hallucination. It is scary as it is beautiful.


The Darkest Part of the Forest appeals to a lot of Young Adult fans. Holly Black knows how to create a digestible world; romances readers will pine for, and characters that are more relatable for their flaws.

GOODREADS | January 15th, 2015 | Little, Brown for Young Readers | Amazon | Chapters !ndigo | Book Depository

  • I think this is going to be a “perfect me” read as far as the world build and fae/fairy tale aspect as I love the sound of Holly’s world building – the romance has me a bit nervous that I’m going to be sad between these characters.
    Lovely, lovely review!! 🙂

  • Love the sound of this one too! Many of my friends loved it.

  • I am afraid this wouldn’t be my thing, but I am glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Oooh… I love the sound of this one Joy! You have me curious about what happened with Hazel and the Prince!!

  • Melissa (Books and Things)

    I have been wanting to read this one ever since I heard about it. I love this author and it speaks more that you don’t love the fae trope but enjoyed this book.

  • I’ve actually only tried Holly’s middle grade series that she co-wrote with Cassandra Clare, but it was really lovely so I’ve been wanting to try her YA series. I’m not a big fan of fairy or fey based storylines either Joy, but seeing that you enjoyed it I’d love to give it a crack. Fabulous review and so glad you enjoyed it <3

  • I’ve never read anything by Holly Black but I’ve heard great things about her writing. You’ve made me intrigued by the mention of how she constructed a dark world that is “scary as it is beautiful.” Thanks for your honest and wonderful review. I’d love to pick this one up.

  • RO

    This book actually sounds quite interesting, even though I’ve never heard of Holly Black. May have to pick this one up in the near future.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I am curious about this one – i’ll have to try and get it from the library someday. In general, I need to read something by Holly Black. I don’t think I have yet!


  • Bec

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book, it’s been hard to resist buying it. The darkness of it is very tempting haha

  • Jazmen

    I had this book read a couple of pgs and returned it. I was never a real fae fan so I was feeling a little unsure. Maybe one day, sounds like it’s worth the read!

  • I’m glad you liked it! I’ve had Holly Black on my TBR for months now. Need to pick something up of hers!

  • I’m usually delighted by Holly Black, but this one was a miss for me. I think you’re spot on about the fae in literature, as well. They are so ultra-powerful! Personally, I think they’ve been largely exhausted of late in fantasy/paranormal lit of all types.

  • Jasprit

    I’ve had this book for the longest time too Joy, so I’m thrilled too see that you ended up enjoying it. I like the sound of how Black mixes up everything in this story, but also makes it work too, also I haven’t read a book that has a decent sibling relationship in ages! I shall be bumping this up my tbr!

  • Hmm did the library have it or not, must see

  • It sounds like a quick read. It might be too ya for me though?

  • Oh I love the sound of sibling dynamic
    in this book. Great review, Joy!

  • “scary as it is beautiful” pretty much sums up all of Holly Black’s books. This is that one book that I always wanted to read but can just never get around to it. I love Holly Black and I have a weakness for her books and books about fae so it seems I need to read this!!! Great Review! I’m glad you liked it despite your reservations.

  • kindlemom1

    It’s been awhile but I do remember this being good but really strange and unusual, which isn’t a bad thing. Black does know how to write then uniquely!

  • Lovely review, Joy! The sibling dynamics were indeed interesting to witness, and I love how the author infuses a sense of darkness into all her work, which makes it rather delicious for me!

  • Adriana C

    I like books about fae and this book sounds really interesting. I need to add it to my wishlist. Great review.

  • Awesome review Joy 😀 Ohhh. I am so glad you liked this book so much sweetie. YAY for it being pretty amazing 🙂 I don’t think I would like it, though : Seem to remember there being kissing with two boys. Ugh. Not for me, lol 😀 But the rest seems great. So glad you loved it. <3 Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    I thought the relationships in this one were definitely fascinating Joy, particularly between the siblings. The competitive undercurrent between the two was a step above what I would say normally exists between siblings and had a little darker tone, so I was intrigued for sure:) This was my first book by Holly black so I’m looking forward to reading more!

  • Nick

    I’m with Jeann. The relationship sounds really interesting as does the sibling relationship as well. I haven’t read anything by Holly Black before, but I’m adding this one to my list of books to check out. You know how much I love flawed characters.
    Fantastic review, Joy!

  • I’ve never really been into fae books, though this one does sound like it has some other interesting aspects to it (and I really do need to finally read a book by Holly Black lol)

  • I can’t remember who but someone recommended this to me to be my first fae book. I’ve heard tons of good things about this but still the fantasy aspect worries me that it might be too much for me. But now I think I’ll read this as soon as I feel like reading something like this, thanks for the review! 🙂

  • I have this one in my shelf to read and the relationship complexity sounds absolutely fascinating here Joy! I’m sick of reading about perfect couples so this sounds more realistic.

  • I have this book on my TBR and in general just want to read more Holly Black books. This seems like a good place to start. I am someone who loves my paranormal books as long as they are good and not annoying in the slightest. I also think that the sibling rivalry and relationship is what attracts me to this book most of all. Gonna have to keep a look out for this one. :3 Thanks for the recommendation!