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Total Fangirl Moment | Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Get out your wallet – you’re going to want to buy The Darkest Part of the Forest ASAP!

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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the darkest part of the forset holly black book review

Title & Author: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy- Fantasy, Fairies

Release Date: January 13, 2015

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?”

Another Hit from Holly Black

The first YA fairy book I ever read was Tithe by Holly Black. And it rocked. my. WORLD. Black has an immense talent of blending ethereal otherness with vivid reality. She does this in Tithe, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and now in The Darkest Part of the Forest.

This book enthralled me. The setting is unusual and completely unique. Brother and sister Ben and Hazel live in Fairfold, a small town in the modern age (complete with social media and typical high school problems) but with a magical forest that houses a slumbering elf boy in a class coffin. After decades of enchanted teens attempt to smash, break and otherwise rouse the elf boy, he finally wakes up.

The Darkest Part of the Forest, like I’ll Give You the Sun, features a brother/sister relationship that is rich in its complexity and depth. Hazel and Ben are both a little bit in love with the boy with horns in the coffin. Hazel spends her time getting every bit of enjoyment she can out of life, which equals kissing as many boys as possible, and trying to forget her large weighty secret.

And, Ben does the same by sitting quietly next to boy with horns and whispering all his heart’s desires.

What makes this story magical is how Black couples real, relatable problems with whimsical magic. For example, Hazel receives cryptic messages from the fae in acorns she finds in her pockets. What a beautiful, magical detail that immediately transports you to the Fairfold forest, with its mystery and tricks.

Even though Black has written about the fae before (in both Tithe and the Spiderwick Chronicles), she makes it new each time, re-spinning ancient mythes and legends into new, modern tales.

The Darkest Part of the Forest is just amazing. Between the romances (yes, plural!), the lovely details and the beautiful relationships, I fell in love with this story. Holly Black is a master of description and fae, and I will buy anything she writers forever.

Bonus: It’s also a standalone fantasy. It just keeps getting better.

Other books by Holly Black I’ve reviewed:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
– Curse Worker series: White Cat, Red Glove, Black Heart


Black has done it again. She’s created a fascinating world that combines fantasy with the mundane and re-invents the uncanny fae. I insist you make The Darkest Part of the Forest your next read – you’ll thank me and then we can be book BFFs for life (win-win-win).

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • So excited to hear that you loved this one! I read Tithe so long ago, I’m definitely due for a reread. I remember loving her style and being fascinated by the worlds she can create. I just bought The Coldest Girl in Coldtown the other day and definitely will have to bump it up on my TBR.

    • Ohhh yes to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown! It’s super unique – can’t wait to hear what you think!

  • Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    So much yes to this! I never really wanted to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but after reading “Forest” I went out and bought it immediately! I fell in love with Black’s writing – and this is so whimsical and amazing that I had to preorder a hardcover even after reading the ARC!

  • Beth

    She’s never NOT awesome. She’s dangerously close to being an author from whom I always expect greatness. And thanks for the recommendation- this one is now on my list!

    • Exactly, which is scary because I want to <3 her forever and ever. I hope you love this book as much as I did!

  • Oh I can’t wait to read this one. I read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and loved it. Sounds like I need to read her other stuff as well.