The Darkest Part of the Forest (Book Review)

In a clearing, in the forest lays a glass coffin with a beautiful creature inside. On and on this person sleeps, never waking no matter what anyone does.

Think you know this story, huh? Think again.

The coffin contains a boy with horns and pointed ears. The things that haven’t awakened him include kisses from local teenagers, hard blows to the coffin with a sledgehammer, and loud, raucous parties with girls dancing on top to tunes blaring out of their iPods.

Welcome to Fairfold, a town where the lines between what we’d call fantasy and reality are blurred. A town where the Folk, as fairies are called, fill the forest and occasionally play nasty tricks on the human residents and visitors. Where sometimes the fairies will fulfill a wish or a blessing, but always with dire consequences.

Enter Hazel and Ben, brother and sister who have spent their whole lives in Fairfold. They know how to run the forest paths, know every inch of the stream and hills, know all the stories and secrets of their hometown.

These two have a few secrets of their own. Years ago, after Ben had been blessed by a fairy woman and could play music that enchanted humans and Folk alike, the pair decided to become monster hunters to protect tourists and townsfolk from the creatures that crawled the woods. Hazel longed to become a knight and would become one, in a way, when she pledged seven years of her life to the fairy king in exchange for a music scholarship for her brother.

Now the coffin has broken, and the boy is gone. Hazel is losing track of time, and when she wakes in the mornings, she her body is bruised and battered, her clothes and feet covered with mud. Acorns with secret messages fill her pockets, and her beloved sword is missing.

What is going on? Who freed the fairy boy, and what will this mean for the town of Fairfold?

For the answers to those questions and more, read The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black.

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