The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
This book had been one I'd been saving for myself for some time. I'd heard wonderful things about it and I hoped that it's promised tale of magical fairy tales and a mysterious house called The Hazel Wood would give me a great fantasy tale to lose myself in. I was, unfortunately, going to be disappointed.
This book firstly was just not full of characters I fell in love with, set in contemporary New York setting we follow Alice, a young girl of seventeen whose grandmother has just passed away. Her mother disappears and she is then told that she must stay away from The Hazel Wood. The Hazel Wood is the estate of her deceased grandmother where she lived as a recluse for much of her life, having written a book full of dark and mysterious fairy tales.
I could not click with any of the characters in this novel. They were all written quite superficially and as a result, we never really scratch the surface of their emotions. Alice is quite one dimensional and also we have so many characters coming in and out of the story so quickly that we fail to bond with any.
I DNF'd this one at around 50% of the way through as by this point we hadn't even reached the mysterious Hazel Wood and I was losing the will to live with this book. There was none of the magical fantasy I'd wanted from this book, instead we get a few snatches of some dark tales that Alice's grandmother is said to have written but they are disjointed and don't add much to the narrative. Alice instead comes across as unhinged and slightly mad and it was more a weird Wonderland vibe than a magical dark fairy tale.
I was disappointed by this, however, I am learning this year that I am not gaining anything by plowing through books I don't enjoy. I'd rather cut my losses and move on. I was frustrated not to have the strength to finish this one but this is still very much the exception rather than the norm.