Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice's life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a 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 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.To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began...
Review by Sarah McDuling
Jeepers creepers and holy moly! This book really did a number on me.
The Hazel Wood is best described as eerie, mesmerising and beautifully haunting… and also dark, twisted and strange. I struggled to put this book down, and the weird thing is that I’m not totally sure why? It’s almost as though Melissa Albert put me into a trance. I had to continue reading, even though the book often made me feel downright unsettled and weirdly tense. I just had to keep going because I was a slave to the story.
In many ways, The Hazel Wood is a bit of a slow burn. It takes a while for the action to kick in but it’s worth the wait. The plot may not move quickly, but the writing is hypnotic, the characters are compelling (if not always likable) and the world is a grim and shadowy place full of lurking threats and hidden secrets. It’s a dark fairytale wrapped in a mystery with a generous dollop of horror and suspense.
Alice has lived her whole life on the road, running from “bad luck”. Forced to keep moving from town to town with her erratic mother, she has never known a real home. Her grandmother is the author of a book of fairytales that has gathered a cult following over the years. When her grandmother dies and her mother is kidnapped, Alice is left with only a dire warning, “Stay away from the Hazel Wood”. And yet the Hazel Wood is the only place she can go if she wants to save her mother…
This book is super creepy and probably not a book you should read alone after dark… unless you want to give yourself some vivid nightmares. I found it both utterly bewitching and deeply unnerving. Though the conclusion could have served as a final ending to the story, I am delighted to know that there will be a sequel (though there is no title or release date yet, damn it!).
Perfect for fans of Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maggie Stiefvater.
About the Author
Melissa Albert is the founding editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog and the managing editor of BN.com. She has written for Time Out Chicago, SparkLife, MTV and McSweeney's.
The Hazel Wood kept me up all night. I had every light burning and the covers pulled tight around me as I fell completely into the dark and beautiful world within its pages. Terrifying, magical, and surprisingly funny, it's one of the very best books I've read in years. -- Jennifer Niven
Thoroughly, creepily captivating, with surprises I never saw coming! Such a refreshing and beautifully written inversion of the classic fairytale-inspired story. -- Kristin Cashore, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series
This book will be your next obsession. Welcome to the Hazel Wood, where bad luck is a living thing, princesses are doomed, and every page contains a wondrously terrible adventure - it's not safe inside these pages, but once you enter, you may never want to leave. -- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of CARAVAL
A WINDING, CREEPY, INSIDIOUSLY DELICIOUS NOVEL. UTTERLY SPECTACULAR -- Melinda Salisbury, bestselling author of The Sin Eater's Daughter
THIS BOOK NEEDS A WARNING LABEL. CAUTION: SINGLE-SITTING READ. Once you start, you cannot stop. -- Alana, Goodreads Reviewer (5 stars)
If you like DARKNESS and MURDER, strong family ties and light romance, you should probably get ready for this book to mess you up in the best way possible. -- Gaby, Goodreads Reviewer (5 stars)
IMAGINE BEING ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE TO READ HARRY POTTER . . . That's how it feels to read The Hazel Wood in manuscript form.It's Inception + The Magicians + Alice in Wonderland + Night Film, plus humor and warmth and heart. -- Eb, Goodreads Reviewer (5 stars)
With dark fairy tale elements woven into a thrilling story, The Hazel Wood had me under its spell from beginning to end. Magic crackled on every page. -- Kate Ormand, author of The Wanderers
A beautiful, terrifying, astonishing and strange story that reads as though Angela Carter has been sucked into a Grimm fairy tale, this book is a wise and wonderful read for fairy tale fans. -- Robin Stevens, author of the Murder Most Unladylike series
A dark and magical modern take on age-old fairy tales. -- Lauren James, author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
A beguiling mix of contemporary thriller and dark fantasy, coupled with stylish, sharp prose, makes this a dangerously addictive debut. -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller *