#BookReview: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Hi reader fam, how are you doing? I am going to post soon the wrap-up for March, but I wanted to share with you first my thoughts on The Hazel Wood that I recently finished reading. The beginning of April has been an incredibly productive reading time, and fingers crossed it will continue to be like that because I already finished 3-4 books. Yeah…

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“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.”

The Plot…

The story is focused on Alice and her journey in finding her mother who is taken away, and doesn’t have anyone else to help her but Finch, the cute kid at school who is obsessed with her gran’s stories. The funny thing, it’s not even a spoiler as it is given away in the book description. The plot takes a very long time to pick up and unfortunately I saw the plot twist at the end midway (which was a total bummer), but I was still hooked and enjoyed it. I felt that it was quite simplistic and relied too much on the whimsical writing and Alice’s obsession to find her mother which felt sometimes like dust in my eyes. The ending left me quite unsatisfied as well; I loved the fact that she managed to break the wheel, but was deflated about some other choices.

What this story did very well, was the suspense of Alice finding her mother. The mystery aspect of the novel kept me turning the pages until I finished reading it, so well done there!

Characters…

Alice, the main character, is a 17 years old girl followed by bad luck as bad things continue to happen to her and her mother. I initially liked Alice as a character, but as I progressed I started to like her less and less until I wanted to smack her in the head. I do not understand why she was so hung up on other people being rich. It really annoyed me that she thought that her mother’s husband was not good enough for her because from what I read, he did not do anything to Ella. Same with her step-sister who wasn’t actually mean to her, she was just rich and could afford to do eccentric things like rich people do. That’s it. Does that make her bad? No! Alice hated on because she was rich, like rich people do not have feelings or a brain.

But she did not stop here, she acted like a turtle with Finch who was there for her every step of the way. It was not his fault that his dad had money, he was actually a decent, smart guy who was better off without her. Why did she have to be like this? Being rich doesn’t mean you’re bad or not good enough, so talk to the hand! (and no, I am not rich) I know, I know, it makes sense when you read the ending, but what bothered me was that it was never challenged, like Finch never turned around to say ‘Hey, that shit is not ok!’ I actually really liked Finch and I wish he would’ve been treated a bit better as he was key for her journey and deserved a lot more credit.

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Alice is looking to find her mother Ella, but I struggled to understand her obsession, it felt really unhealthy and unbalanced. Ella became less than a person, became an idea that Alice was chasing, memories strung together by flowery writing. It also annoyed me to no end that right at the beginning of the book, Alice acted with so much jealousy towards her mother because she married and was convinced that Ella needed to leave him because he was not good enough for her. Ella, giving their past experiences and her ability to manipulate situations and people to get what she wanted, was perfectly capable of looking after herself. Somehow Alice made everyone seem less for almost all of the book.

Writing style…

The Hazel Wood is slow paced and whimsical, wanting to read like a fairytale and building a dreamlike (or nightmarish) quality to it, but that’s ok, I can like that. What I do not like, is weird descriptions like “dead coffee” or “furious glitter”. Like what’s that supposed to mean? Why do I feel like it was meant to pull wool over my eyes…?

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World Building…

Again, it felt that the world building was not as good as it could’ve been and for at least 70% I had no idea what the rules of the game were as a lot of the things happened because Alice had lots and lots of hunches…

Enjoyment….

The Hazel Wood, regardless of my picks on the characters, plot and writing style, it was extremely entertaining and kept me hooked. I read 50 pages on Tuesday night, and finished it off yesterday, in one sitting. I was hooked and I could not put it down until I finished it!

I will give it 3.5 stars because although I had some issues with it and wanted more from the plot and the characters, it kept me really entertained.

3-5-stars

Have you read it yet? What do you think?

Xoxo

Jane

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2 thoughts on “#BookReview: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

  1. I know, right?! Like I met a lot of morally grey characters but they usually have some redeeming features, but not on this occasion. It was addictive though, wasn’t it?! 😁

    Like

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