Dark mysterious fairy tales that bleed into the real world? With a promise of THAT it’s obvious why I was more intrigued about this book then a piece of jam on toast! Which is saying SOMETHING because I love jam toast!

(but I read the book AND still made the toast because snacks are nutritious yes)

Rating:

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I am a notorious dubious gremlin when it comes to hyped books and my smol expectations were low for this one dudes. BUT I ENDED UP LOVING IT? SO HERE’S ANOTHER UNPOPULAR OPINION but this time I’m nice!! Wow yes I am as surprised as you.

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My blurb : Alice and her mom have been on the run because bad luck is following them like an overly attached puppy. And of course the mom has something mysterious she isn’t telling Alice like a good YA mom she is. But Alice’s grandma dies and then creepy things and fairy tales start happening!

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basically this

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The characters…aren’t great.

Alice had some serious shitty behavior going on and definite anger management issues and look I love a sharp angry girl as a protagonist (not all girls are nice and I definitley love seeing the ones that aren’t in books too!!) but it was so hard to get behind her. Also if one more author names their character Alice* I WILL EAT A COUNTRY IN RAGE.

*(sorry to all Alices out there I only have a thing with your wonderful name in YA not otherwise)

 

Ellery Finch was not much better in terms of interesting character-ness. I was actually dreading the romance with every fiber of my smol being because I hate the “boy has crush on girl from before the book started” for some reason unknown.

(ok so maybe the reason IS know and it’s that I just find boys that obsess over girls for long periods of time creepy…but then again I would much rather eat unsalted broccoli soup then have a crush so take my word for what it is)

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The side characters? Even worse. I struggled to care for ANYONE for about half the book.

…AND YET.

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The creepy darkness!

It’s tone confused at first sure BUT THEN. When the dark stuff really starts blending in better and it doesn’t just look like a rare cactus in the middle of a pine forest IT GETS GOOD OK. The atmosphere is everything and it reminded me of creepy Fae stories with it’s forest and murder and blood.

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The writing is seriously good.

I don’t know why it stood out to me or why I liked it so much? But it had a SOMETHING I really enjoyed. It was detailed in the best of ways. Interest for the whole of 5 senses for the win!

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The world and timeline and events felt…real?

And thought out like the author planed it all like a conscientious time traveler with homework and then plopped some dysfunctional characters into this world and yey see how it reacts. Needles to say the world is not happy but you know…we never really ask the world what it thinks now do we. So atmosphere is on point!

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ALL THE INVENTED FAIRY TALES.

One thing I’ve realized recently is that I will probably read anything that closely resembles a fairy tale and bribes me with such promises of fantasticalities.

That being said ….*raises hand* Can I request a real Tales From The Hinterland? Come on publishers give it to me already you know you want tooo! I’ve got the money and you like money way too much to say no so I expect my copy with a bow on Amazon soon.

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I could not put it down!!

Or stop thinking about it. Damn you book taking over my mind space. It made me the obnoxious person in the book club that’s all like:

Me: Ok guysss so I’m super busy at the moment so it might take a while for me to actually get around to finishing this book ok?

Sensible humans : Ah yes of course!! That’s totally ok!!

Me: Oh really that’s gREAT!! Because I FINISHED IT!

Sensible humans: Yeah wait what?

Me: Yeah 🙂 !! Check out my review 🙂 !!

Sensible humans: But-but-but…

…Ahahaha. Ups? I wholly blame the book for that!! It’s the inanimated object’s fault!!

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Favourite part: Entering the Hinterland.

It. Was. So. Good. My little frozen heart melted a bit. I loved the plot with the Spinner and the Stories. (and that’s just a mild spoiler and out of context ok I’m trying to keep it spoiler free around here)

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THE ENDING WAS ABSOLUTE PERFECTION!!!

HAHA IT ENDED IN THE BEST WAY THAT IT COULD HAVE POSSIBLY ENDED. It didn’t even cross my mind but heck if I didn’t love every single thing about it. I was surprised the author chose it but IT FIT SO WELL.

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 The first part felt either too slow or too fast.

I can’t remember exactly which one and this point doesn’t even make sense so I apologize for the fact that I can’t words good. But nothing was happening and then things happened really quickly and I remember being all over the place ready to complain about it in my review. So here it is.

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 Alice at times got on my nerves for doing some crap stuff.

Like girl seriously stop raising your hand at people when you’re angry (halfway trough writing this I realized there are some male characters that do this too but they are still loved by the masses HMMMMM…anyway STOP MAKING THREATENING PHYSICAL VIOLENCE OK). Also just fighting with Finch over arguing with cops seeing as Finch is POC is not. cool.

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The fact that I was waiting for a romance I knew I would hate for like 80% of the book.

Yeah it got tiring to get annoyed and scrunch up my eyebrows at every interaction between the leads after a while. I did not like the romance please oh so spare me the awkward talking and flirting.

My eyebrows are tired and they did not enjoy their time and neither did I.

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AHAHA HAHA It didn’t live up to the hype at all.

I went in with low expectations and prepared myself for a heartbreaking disappointment. So I definitely think I had an advantage by having a distrust of hyped releases. With no expectations or standard I had so much more fun but it wasn’t what I expected when I first heard about it last year.

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OVERALL: I NEED TO REREAD THIS!! IT’S A GOOD DEBUT!! Also is there any kind of sequel, spin-off, 15 other series I should be looking our for because YES PLEASE??

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Read as part of Thecursedbook’s Bookclub and this was our book for May!

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34275232Seventeen-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.

Goodreads

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 What did YOU think about the book? Did YOU think it was deserving of the hype or was it just flaming rubbish? Do you compare books to jam toast?

TALK TO ME.

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29 thoughts on “The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert // of spooky scary fairy tales and unlikable protagonists

  1. Oh I’m so glad you ended up enjoying this book – it seems to be an either love or hate kind of book for many people in the community! I agree with a lot of points you made here, I really enjoyed the writing of this book overall and somehow that kept me captivated from page one and it was really an original tale overall. I get why the main character could get on your nerves a little bit haha. Still, happy you had a good time reading that one overall 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy I liked it too because wow look I’m positive about a really hyped book for once!! And it had such an amazing premise I would have been sad if I hated it 😂!!
      I’M SORRY ABOUT FINCH!! I would have loved to actually care about him but alas…MAYBE A SEQUEL!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i do want to read this, but i’ve read soooo many reviews complaining about the characters, especially alice. that’s why i’m on the fence because while i love dark fairytales, i NEED to be able to like the characters to enjoy the story!

    also i’m totally with you on there are too many alices in ya. and they are all somehow magically special!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I WAS A SCEPTICAL BEAN TOO!! actually very sceptical since I expected to read it and make a whole review making fun of it all 😂. So this came as a bit of big unexpected surprise! But I totally get why it wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea.

      And yeah if a person is named Alice watch out there’s like 86% chance they will be a magical snowflake! Huuray PLEASE AUTHORS STOP.

      Like

  3. Ahh it’s great that you got to enjoy this because you had lowered your expectations! I try to not get too hyped nowadays too haha, faced one too many disappointments *cries* It’s so interesting that you enjoyed this despite not being a huge fan of the characters! Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank youuuu ❤️! Oh my favourite hobby to pass the time : read negative reviews of hyped books 😂! I need a gingle of loweeeeer your expectationssss!! Hype is everywhere but I find books sooo much more enjoyable if I just…ignore all of it. Which is hard to do ugh the bookworm problems are reaaaal.

      And yeah it surpised me too! I wouldn’t have guess that I will like it as much as I did but *shrug* 😊!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t quote me on this but I’m pretty sure I read about a book deal with this author in Publisher’s Weekly that she will be writing basically “Tales of the Hinterland” and there’s also going to be a second follow-up next year! But again not totally sure where I read this because now I can’t find it anywhere :/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First of all: I loved it too. And I actually liked Alice. Angry girls really remind me of myself *looks at all the people who think that I’m only nice and fluffy*
    But yes, can we talk how Finch talk her about the cop and instead of listen and talk, she almost crush them in the car? I was really on WTF mode on.

    I also agree that characters in general weren’t incredibile, and I think a lot was focused on Alice’s journey. I would love to see Finch in the sequel, because, the end (I cried, btw) was amazing and left open so many things.
    But I wouldn’t say no to a fable book only. I just want dark stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes angry girls in books need more appreciation!! But that car scene…ummm noooo.

      The end was fantastic!!! I don’t really want a Finch sequel (but thats probably what is going to come next) I’D MUCH RATHER READ A BOOK ABOUT THE SPINNER THO!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. POSITIVE UNPOPULAR OPINIONS ARE WHAT I AM HERE FOR!! I did LOVE the tales but I feel like we were THROWN INTO THE hinterland and I was SO overwhelmed. I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN EITHER ONCE I GOT INTO IT!! And yeah, the characters were MEH and I did NOT Like Alice especially after that messy police white privileged police scene, ew. I didn’t enjoy that there WERE SO MANY HINTS AT romance and then nothing happened…it did feel a little pointless to develop a romance that never happened. I just loved the creepy darkness and the writing and ALL THOSE GOOD DARK VIBES.

    (and look look SEE YOU LIKE DARK AND CREEPY STUFF…the…accident…season…hi)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goshhhh that police white privilege scene was yuckkkkkk nopeeee nopity nopeee. But like did it haveee to be in the final book?? Like… REALLY?? I mean…Alice could’ve gotten angry about literally anything else like maybe she was hungry because duh so like #HANGRY you know. It DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THERE.

      I feel like such a sneak because I didn’t want the romance to develop at all!! And I was like “ok ok dieeee” throughout the whole book so like maybe the book heard me and did its thing 😂. I was waaaay too happy at that point I knowwww let me beeee.

      DARK VIBES FOR THE WINNNNN. Honestly yes give me dark side approved books any day.

      (The accident season. Hello. Been reading it for like…4 months…yup that’s going GREAAAAAT hahahHAA AHEM. i’ll finish it eventually dingity damned school.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I KNOW IT WAS SO MESSY. like i feel like it could’ve been done so well; like alice is like wow, i really suck and i acknowledge my privilege and turn back around now but instead she tries to kill them and yeah ://// really sucked.

        Haha, I wasn’t too disappointed there wasn’t a romance but it felt weird that the author hinted at one and then nothing came out of it??? haha, but i get you.

        (OH MY GOSH YOU MUST FINISH IT. im super scared you’ll hate it now and i’ll be a failiure at books recs)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. LOVELLYYY REVIEWWWWW. (i dramatically put it in all caps for added emphasis because yes, your review is THAT fabulous)

    the characters were definitely not the best. (HAHA understatement of the year?? that one scene with Alice and the police… *winces* yikes.) I think the only character I truly truly adored was Ella, and even she wasn’t a huge part of the plot.

    the writing was just as atmospheric and dark as the story demanded and IT WAS AMAZING. I’m definitely going to keep my eye on Melissa Albert because WOW she has talent. personally, this book was so unputdownable—I inhaled it in less than a day and I was left feeling so emotionally drained, in the best way possible?

    I must have been an emo hipster goth in my past life because I have an ENORMOUS soft spot for these creepy, twisted fairy tales. ❤ literally, the creepier it is the happier I'll be!!

    (also I would like to let you know that your condensed blurb is everything)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HANNAH OMG I MISSED YOUUUUUUU!!! rare hannah comment to warm my heart 💓! I always apreciate thoughtful caps!!

      I LOVED ELLA. Yup yup fave character right there. She was kinda like the actual princess of the story and Alice was more of a secondary character which was interesting!!

      THIS WAS SUCH GOOD LEVEL WRITING FOR A DEBUT!! Like wooow all the applause because how can you write so gorgeous??? I’m right up there with you stalking for new Mellisa Albert books.

      You’re like between the hipster and the goth on that meme scale that I see floating around the internet 😂.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ahhhh sameeee!! I swear I need to keep on suddenly disappearing off the face of the blogosphere :”)

        Ella was muchhh more likeable than Alice. I loved her mother-daughter relationship with Alice and how it stayed strong despite everything. honestly, #goals

        also omg omg did you hear Melissa Albert is releasing a sequel to The Hazel Woods?? I feel like it’s going to be more of a spin-off since things seemed to end pretty nicely in The Hazel Wood with Alice’s arc… I’m actually so excited what the heck??

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I had pretty similar thoughts about this book. It didn’t really live up to the hype because of the characters but the writing and overall pacing was divine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank youuu ❤️!! Agh that’s a tricky question. If you want a bit of spooky fairy tales and twists and things not going the usual YA way then I’d say give it a try! If you don’t like unlikable characters then it’s probably not the best choice for a next read 😂.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I would compare anything with toast and rarely anything tops it, but I try to stay away from hyped books and only read them around 2 years after they were published. I feel like anytime I read a hyped book I just don’t enjoy it and feel like there’s something wrong with me because everyone else simply LOVES IT! Does that make sense?

    Like

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