The Hazel Wood Review: A Dark, Creepy, Fairy Tale

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.


“She talked like a woman who knew more books than people.”

So I feel slightly betrayed by how absolutely freaking gorgeous the cover is, and the fact that the book isn’t nearly that good. I mean, everyone says don’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s be real, everyone does and that is beautiful

Alice and her mother Ella have spent their entire lives on the run from all the bad luck that seems to follow them. Her grandmother, the elusive Althea is someone Alice has never met, but had a brief stint as a writer who wrote a book of dark fairy tales, Tales from the Hinterland, before promptly disappearing into her estate, The Hazel Wood, and never being seen, all the copies of her book slowly fading away.

This book was dark. It was a lot more dark and nitty gritty than I thought it was going to be. My favorite parts were the little fairy tales from Tales from the Hinterland that were in the book–a couple of full length ones, and then some that were described briefly through the rest of the book–and they were no Disney tales. More similar to the darker original tales that I adore, they were full of violence and Death (with a capital D) and had no real meaning or moral.

I think this book was sort of walking the line between paranormal and fantasy. The first half of the book or so all takes place in the real world, with just mentions of the supernatural, and weird, creepy, unexplainable things happening. After that, it’s sort of like a darker version of Alice in Wonderland, and switches to an entire fantasy world.

At this point, I was kind of confused. Although I guess that might have something to do with the fact that I was reading this book at 1AM because I just had no know how it ended haha and might have been too sleep deprived to catch everything. But the ending just seemed weird and what the heck is happening.

There’s pretty much no romance in this book, which is a bit refreshing and different. For a while I thought there was going to be, but then it sort of disappeared. I really enjoyed how Alice’s motivation for everything she went through was not to save her boyfriend or whatever generic stuff, but to save her mother, the only person who she really cared about and loved. And it was great how she was so strong and able to figure stuff out on her own, without relying on someone else.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like Alice that much as a character. I felt that she could be rude and irritating. She had obviously had crappy things happen to her her entire life, having to be constantly on the move, but she was pretty whiny about it. I also didn’t really like the way she treated Finch, her friend and the only black character, at times.

3.5 out of 5 Hinterland stars


25 thoughts on “The Hazel Wood Review: A Dark, Creepy, Fairy Tale

  1. I love dark fairytales! The summary kind of reminds me of a Halloween Town-like family/world dynamic. Definitely adding this one to my TBR ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is one beautiful cover! I’m always afraid of those :/ Plus, I’ve seen so many mixed opinions on this book that I legitimately do not know what to even think anymore…
    Great review, though! Gave me a lot of insight into it 💛✨


  3. I agree with this review so much! I listened to the audiobook for this one and really enjoyed I, but if I were to have sat down and read the book I think I would have been lost. It definitely does get confusing near the end when Alice goes into the fantasy world. I loved the Tales of the Hinterland and want to read more of those! Great review! 🙂


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