Thursday, December 4, 2014

ARC Review & Discussion: The Darkest Part of the Forest (Read-A-Long)

Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Category/Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: January 13, 2015

See it at Goodreads

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Lyn of Great Imaginations and I recently read The Darkest Part of the Forest and then had a fun discussion review on it! Today we are sharing our thoughts on the read, and as you can see had slightly different experiences. I always love having read-alongs like this and sharing our discussions since it gives an edge to the review process and changes the pace sometimes. :P

From my perspective, you can tell that I really loved The Darkest Part of the Forest. It was one of my favorite reads of the year, and I was so excited after finishing it. I will be highly recommending it to many!

Lyn: Alright! Pixie and I did a co-reading of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest. Now we’re co-reviewing the book together!

Alright, Pixie! You seemed very whipped up over the book. What was your overall take of the novel?

Pixie: I was immersed into the story from the very first page! I seriously could not stop reading this book. Haha.

Lyn: I LOVED that the book started with a glass casket. That is one of my top attention-grabbers: anything that sounds like it could be ripped right out of a D&D game. Big plus there.

Pixie: Yes! There were some very easy visuals because the descriptions were amazing.

Lyn: This was my first Holly Black novel, so I was very nervous about picking up this novel, since I had no previous exposure to her writing. Is this your first HB book?

Pixie: No. I’ve been a big fan of hers for years. She was one of my first YA authors after I picked up Melissa Marr in my early twenties. :)

Lyn: How did it compare to her other books?

Pixie: DPotF had a more contemporary vibe to it. I liked that. Despite the fantasy elements, it felt as if she gave her characters (and world) a more modern approach.

Lyn: I do love some contemporary fantasy. I suppose you could label this urban fantasy.

I suppose I should come out and be honest - I wasn’t crazy over this book. I gave it three stars. :( Womp Womp. The descriptions were beautiful and I really loved the plot, but the characters were very dull and flat for me.

Pixie: LOL, don’t feel bad. I gave it four stars. I don’t think it was her best (Coldest Girl in Coldtown still wins, I’m almost sure), but I liked the story and world-building for the most part. My biggest complaint were the characters also. I felt they could have used more. Especially in the romance.

Lyn: The romance REALLY killed it for me. I am very critical when it comes to pairing, and I seemed to get side-tracked by the constant “Who does s/he like more/the best?” The whole “let’s play fantasy pairing!” issue really killed a lot of my enthusiasm. I know it sounds horrible, because I so loved the whole GLBT angle, but it just didn’t end up working for me. I wanted more fae and court life.

Pixie: Oh I agree! I almost want to say that if it were longer or more detailed in some areas to better explain some things, it’d be even better for that area. It can be difficult for stand-alones in my opinion to gain some perspective for romances. I think I could’ve done without a romance and would’ve loved the whole general story.

Lyn: I have to give props to the author for writing a stand alone. I love my series, but it seems that a multi-book series is all the rage right now. I think it would have helped if the book was longer. There was quite a bit going on for such a short page count.

Pixie: Major props to her. I’m the same way. I love stand alones. :) I always find myself going to Holly Black’s books because that’s what she writes a lot. Fantasy and stand alones. But I agree, would’ve been nice seeing more. Or maybe I’m just selfish and wanted more of that pretty writing. Lol.

Lyn: I am excited to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, so I have a basis of comparison. The descriptions were awesome, but the writing left something to be desired. It almost felt like this was a short story that the publishers pushed to become a novel, so the writing felt a bit forced. Maybe it was just boredom setting in, but I really didn’t feel the heart of the writer in this one, you know?

Pixie: I understand what you’re saying. I have seen her writing through the course of the years and it does come off a bit differently here. I’m excited to see what you think of Coldest Girl!

Lyn: Same here! Is there anything else we want to cover?

My take away from this is flat characters that i wanted to like in the worst way, but the plot was awesome and the description of the fae and the magic of the forest was very dazzling.

Pixie: That is almost my same take, except I think I was a bit more enchanted than you by the book. :P Other than that, I don’t think there’s really anything else I have to discuss without

putting in spoilers and I don’t want to go doing that. Lol.

Lyn: So agree!


Pixie's Rating: 4


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