Friday 3 May 2019

The Hazel Wood - Book Review

The Hazel Wood - Book Review
Melissa Albert
YA Contemporary Fantasy 


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 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…

Book Review:

For a debut book, I think The Hazel Wood was an outstanding read and I’m only sorry I didn't pick it up sooner. Dark and delicious, it pulls the reader into a real-life world that becomes increasing warped and twisted as the realm of fairytales sneak in. 

The story centres around seventeen-year-old Alice who has spent her entire life on the road, running from something her mum refuses to name. But when Alice’s mum is stolen away, Alice will pay any price to get her back. But when her search leads her to the The Hazel Wood, the hidden estate where her grandmother - famous author of a book of obscure fairytales - chose to reside, Alice discovers the true reason her life has been shadowed by strange incidents. Because maybe her grandmothers stories weren't so made up after all….

This is a delicious, and beautifully constructed book. Admittedly it did creep me out, but in a good way. Its the kind of story that hooks you, even as it gives you chills, but you’ll keep on reading in the hope something good will happen to chase those chills away.

It has a very layered plot. And by this I mean a real crows nest of plot threads and sharp maze turns that will keep you guessing all the way through. Not only did this make the story hard to predict, but even where guesses could be made, every storyline had its own unique twist.

Actually this shadowy storytelling reminded me a lot of Holly Black’s Tithe series, only better. Not only is THE HAZEL WOOD a book that contains stories within stories, but the main character herself is extremely complex.

While not a particularly likeable person, Alice is a compelling protagonist and I adored all the pop-culture references she would make. Normally I don't like when authors do this, but in this story it just helped make Alice so much more real, and it separated her from the otherworld of the fairytale. 

But be warned, the fairytales in this story aren't the kind that come with happy endings. Creepy, gruesome, yet lyrical and vivid with imagery, they haunt the mind long after you step away from the story. Which yes, did make it a bit hard to sleep later that night. 

However this book was so beautifully written. I am very excited for the second instalment of this series which with release in the autumn of 2019. I can’t wait to see what the author, Melissa Albert will do next.

The Hazel Wood is a 5 star read!

Chat with me

Have any of you read this book? Would love to know you're thoughts on this one, were you as creeped out as I was?

Want more creepy stories with atmosphere? Enjoy magical realism? Try THE DISAPPEARANCES or THE OTHERLIFE


  1. Glad you loved this! I was also definitely creeped out, but in the end I didn't love the book because the writing annoyed me :( It was too flowery. But the atmosphere was beautiful!

    1. Ah sorry to hear you thought it was so flowery! I have to agree, but I like flowery writing... even if it was bone chilling!

  2. So glad you had such a good time with this one! It was definitely rather chill-inducing at times. I thought it was really clever and creative. Great review!

    1. So clever and creative! Really excited for the sequel to this one... although a little but worried as my expectations have been pegged so high!