Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Hazel Wood

Tales From the Hinterland

Rate this book
A gorgeously illustrated collection of twelve fairy tales by the author of The Hazel Wood and The Night Country!

Journey into the Hinterland, a brutal and beautiful world where a young woman spends a night with Death, brides are wed to a mysterious house in the trees, and an enchantress is killed twice―and still lives.

“Lush and deliciously sinister fairytales to be consumed as greedily as Turkish delight or any fairy fruit. I loved these.” ―Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

“This inventive, enchanting collection reads like the fairy tales of old, hushed stories passed woman to woman, before the Grimms came and wiped away all the blood.” ―Laura Ruby, author of Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

“The writing is as spare and precise as poetry, connected to the darker, edgier elements of fairy-tale conventions. Albert’s rich and tightly focused collection forms the core of the mythology created in her novels, and her fans will be thrilled at this further glimpse into that world.” ―Booklist, starred review

“Stories fueled by feminist rage, the frustration of being unnderestimated, and the insatiable longing to experience more mark this collection as timely and universal.” ―SLJ

240 pages, Hardcover

First published January 12, 2021

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Melissa Albert

11 books4,244 followers
Melissa Albert is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of the Hazel Wood series and Our Crooked Hearts, and a former bookseller and founder of the Barnes & Noble Teen Blog. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages and included in the New York Times’ list of Notable Children’s Books. She enjoys swimming pool tourism, genre mashups, and living in Brooklyn with her hilarious husband and magnificently goofy son.

Okay, now I will stop talking about myself in the third person. I try to reply to all messages and questions, so please reach out, or come find me on Twitter (@mimi_albert) or Instagram (@melissaalbertauthor)! (But please note: I don't accept GR friend requests anymore because of Amazon's related review policy.)

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,811 (33%)
4 stars
2,158 (40%)
3 stars
1,192 (22%)
2 stars
176 (3%)
1 star
40 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 883 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
603 reviews87.3k followers
March 28, 2021
I love a collection of fairy tale-esque stories, especially when it pairs with the world of a book I've already read. These tales were dark and creepy and all of that, so I did enjoy it overall. But, it got to be really repetitive. They all follow the same basic structure of a female protagonist being oppressed, mostly by males, and then rising above it in a creepy, weird way that gives a not so happy ending. That doesn't mean I didn't like them but I just knew where it was going to end up after awhile. The writing is great and suits the stories, it's very atmospheric and pulls you in. It read like a real book of fairy tales, with a feminist twist. I do think if you liked the Hazel Wood you'd definitely love the sinister nature of this, it's worth the read. Or just if you want something unsettling for a dreary day. Particularly I enjoyed The Skinned Maiden the most, and The Door That Wasn't There made me think of Coraline so that was extra unsettling for me. The Clockwork Bride was also interesting. Think dark and twisted Nutcracker.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews45.6k followers
August 3, 2022
My first favorite book of the year...happening in the first month of the year?

It's more likely than you think.


And since usually I end up five starring less than 10% of the books I read in any given year, I was thinking "not very likely."

Dear Melissa Albert: Thank you for making this book (which I basically had the idea for - I mean, you mentioned it in a different book, but I am on the record as saying I would like it to be a real book before even you were, so), and thank you for making it everything I wanted it to be, and thank you for giving me a five star read against the odds.

Even if I've read 30+ so far this year with only one more five star to my name. So what. We count our blessings.

This is a book of fairytales (my favorite) that is full of darkness and blood and powerful girls and selfish girls and powerful girls and violence and anger and revenge and badassery (all of which are my other favorites).

It is, in short, a dream.

Bottom line: More please!!!


when the book you dreamed up lives up to said dream >>>

review to come / 5 stars

currently-reading updates

i don't want to be dramatic but i think this is the prettiest book that has ever existed

tbr review

i WAS trying to buy fewer books this year...but then this one came out.

"I want to read Tales from the Hinterland (Grandnanny’s book) so badly. If Melissa Albert is smart, or loves me or the world or both, she will write that spinoff."



DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?????? I'm magical and the world is granting my wishes.


I would also like a pony and for all of my student loan debt to be paid off. And unlimited cookies.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
March 24, 2021

If you've ever wondered which literary world would be the best to live in, wonder no longer, cause there's a BookTube Video to answer that!
The Written Review :
4.5 stars

The Door That Wasn't There
The voice she heard was so thin and rustling, she could almost believe it was leaves against the window.
There once was a rich merchant who had a wife and two daughters. When his wife died, he found another. But the new wife was not pleased to be a mother and she locks the daughters in the house. One of them finds a way out...and the other...well...let's just say that the other won't be traveling any time soon.

Hansa the Traveler
There was a girl who spoke to the moon. That isn't enough to make a tale, but to her the moon spoke back.
Hansa has been forbidden from looking out the window at night for if the moon touches here...something awful would happen. At least that's what her father and paternal grandmother has told her. But...she's a curious kid. And one day, she finds a way out.

The Clockwork Bride
The toymaker arrived in town on the back of rumors so vicious they cut the tongue.
Eleanor and her brother were fascinated by the brilliant clockwork toys but the fascination soon turns sinister...ultimately extracting a terrible, terrible price that no one was prepared to pay.

Jenny and the Night Women
In the course of time she bore a child, a pink and white and beautiful child, with a core of hidden decay.
Jenny was the much-wanted child of two otherwise childless parents. But her hidden, rotten core begins flaring up the older she gets. After one particularly bad tantrum, she finds a rumor - a legend - that will allow her to punish her parents. The Night Women.

The Skinned Maiden
They reached up and peeled the fur from their necks, from their faces and shoulders and limbs...
A young maiden within a bearskin catches the eye of a prince. Upon some pretty poor advice, he finds a way to capture her - but not her heart. The skinned maiden does not forgive, nor does she forget.

When Alice was born her eyes were black from end to end, and the midwife didn't stay long enough to wash her.
The queen gives birth to this...child. This creature. This thing. And all she can think of is a way to get rid of Alice. Unfortunately for her, Alice proves very, very difficult to get rid of.

The House Under the Stairwell
On a knife-bright day at the edge of an overgrown garden, three sisters pricked their fingers on a briar and let their blood fall to the earth.
The sisters wish for their husbands to be revealed but one of them...let's just say that she got far more than she bargained for.

Ilsa Waits
In a village where a plague called the dream sickness slipped from house to house, a man lay dying.
The youngest of her siblings, Ilsa watched as one-by-one her family slips into death's clutches. But death? Death was never prepared for Ilsa.

The Sea Cellar
At the edge of a great wood, on the shore of an inland sea, is a house where daughters go to die.
Two sisters. One is gambled away to the house and one is pronounced "safe"...but the safe sister knew right away that there was no point unless she could be reunited with her sibling. And so she goes. To the house. To disappear.

The Mother and the Dagger
Wherever you live, there are rules you must go by.
A queen, desperate for a child. A king determined not to be fooled. A horrible fate alone, in the woods...luring in life.

Twice-Killed Katherine
She was called Katherine, and grew up in solitude.
The hated daughter of the sorcerer finds her own powers...and he is ready to take advantage of it. But Katherine...she is clever and ruthless and above all, she won't be tricked again.

Death and the Woodwife
Beware the hallow-eyed man who make their living on the road, beware the riddles and the pretty things they sell.
The woodwife suffers death but no more.

Overall Thoughts

Ohhh man. I've been literally waiting all year for this gorgeous book to come out.

I loved The Hazel Wood and the Night Country and I've been waiting for this companion novel.

I loved the scary-fairy aspect of this story - the stories were so creepy and well-written. I really wish this book had illustrations. I think that would have just brought up to perfection.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Melissa.
Author 11 books4,244 followers
May 7, 2020
Thanks to the good folks at Tor, you can read "Twice-Killed Katherine" right now:

January 2021, hurry up and get here! (Not just because 2020 is Not the Best!)
Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,295 followers
June 9, 2021
What a delightfully twisted collection of tales and fables! From the author of The Hazel Wood and The Night Country comes the elusive treasury of stories which inspired the events in the series. These are not your mother’s fairy tales, and certainly not things you want to read before bed at night. Melissa Albert has delivered the dark feminist stories from your wildest dreams and most menacing nightmares.

Fans of The Hazel Wood series have long asked for Tales From the Hinterland, the book that Althea Proserpine had written before her daughter Ella and granddaughter Alice fled from her. The consequences of writing such a book were heavy, so Althea shut herself away as copies of the book disappeared from the public over the years. Readers have received snippets and summaries of these stories, a couple of extended passages as they applied to the plot at hand, but most of the contents have felt just out of reach—until now.

For that reason you may find some of these stories more familiar than others, especially if you’ve recently read the other two books. I haven’t read either in about a year, so there wasn’t any part that felt redundant for me. A few of the names and general tone I recognized, but I didn’t feel like I knew what was going to happen next based off of that. If I could start to guess how a story would end, it was probably because they all had similar themes. There’s usually a young girl or woman, she makes a choice and it has grim consequences. There are very few happy endings in Tales From the Hinterland, and even the ones that do usually have a sinister twist to them.

You don’t have to have read either of the previous novels in order to enjoy this one. Some people might enjoy those books more by reading this first, if they’re readers who hate to have information withheld. I’d recommend at least reading the Hazel Wood before this, though, so that you don’t lose any of the suspense in that one. Still, if you are just looking for some dark and a little bit murderous stories in a bite-sized package, then I would recommend Tales From the Hinterland

*Thanks to Flatiron Books & Netgalley for an advance copy!

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for sarah.
382 reviews260 followers
January 17, 2021
"There was a girl who spoke to the moon. That isn't enough to make a tale, but to her the moon spoke back."

When I read The Hazel Wood back in 2019 I liked it, but what I really wanted was to read the collection of fairytale-like stories that were repeatedly referenced. I know I wasn't alone in that thought, so it was so exciting when Melissa Albert announced she was publishing the entire collection. Some of the stories were ones I remembered from the first book, but others were entirely new to me.

If you have enjoyed things like Leigh Bardugo's The Language of Thorns, this is along the same vein. They are told like fairytales, but not the happy, romantic, Disney type. They are dark and gritty- think the original Grimms brothers.

As expected, I liked some stories over others. Some of my favourites included The Door that Wasn't There, The Skinned Maiden and Ilsa Waits. Some I felt more meh about were The House Under the Stairwell, The Sea Cellar and The Mother and the Dagger.

Should you read The Hazel Wood and its sequel before this? Short answer, no but maybe. If you have no interest in the plot of the novels or even didn't really enjoy them, you can definitely still pick this up and enjoy it the same. However, if you know that you want to read the other stories, I would recommend at least reading the first book and then this one, like I did. I think the stories are much more impactful when hearing them for the first time in The Hazel Wood, and think that impact could be diminished if you already knew them.

Overall, if you are looking for a short, dark and original collection of stories for a rainy day, this is perfect. I have heard the finished copy will include full colour illustrations, which are sure to be stunning. Personally, I felt that the stories didn't hit as hard as when they were told throughout The Hazel Wood, but I have heard other reviewers saying the opposite, so definitely still give it a go!

Thank you to Flatiron Books for this ARC

Release Date: 12 January 2021
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,371 reviews1,835 followers
April 10, 2021
I feel like this did for me what neither THE HAZEL WOOD or THE NIGHT COUNTRY was quite able to achieve. I loved the backbone of the author's series, all set around this fictional book of stories, but I think somehow things just never quite connected for me. I liked some bits, others would fall flat; almost like in the telling of point A to point B I would find myself lost and tangled up. But this volume? I couldn't look away.

This author truly shines in short stories. But more than that, she shines because this places the focus on what I loved most of all : her dark fairytales. Stories that are less morality and more magic, more monstruous, more real, rarely featuring happy endings or anything happy at all. Some of these are definitely better than others but overall the whole vibe, the whole concept, just works for me.

I understand from the blurb that this book is supposed to be illustrated (I'm imagining something like THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS but who knows!) and I'm sad to say my ARC did not have any hint of what those additions might look like. So I'll likely be picking up a finished copy of this in order to re-experience it all with said visuals.

This is a must for fans of The Hazel Wood series but honestly? You could have disliked, or even not read, those books and still enjoy this.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for Cody Roecker.
808 reviews
July 19, 2020

Deliciously creepy in every single way. "The Skinned Maiden" "Ilsa Waits" and "The Door That Wasn't There" are particularly delightful. "The Skinned Maiden" will chill you deeper than your bones. I just *know* the finished copy of this book is going to be BREATHTAKING.

considering this was my first thought after finishing the hazel wood (besides how much i absolutely loved it) you could say I'm quite excited about it all.

melissa albert's writing is lyrical and gorgeous and simply stunning...and her short stories will definitely shine
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews957 followers
March 9, 2021
A series of short stories written in Melissa Albert's characteristically atmospheric style, most of which I enjoyed. That being said, I only really read this because the cover was beautiful I was curious to see how Alice's story ended (spoiler alert: there were no demon princes or exorcisms whatsoever), and ended up feeling pretty bored through some of them. Definitely recommend if you've enjoyed Albert's previous works.
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,275 reviews280 followers
December 18, 2020
[ARC Provided by NetGalley, my review is unbiased]
Wordpress Blog | Twitter

I read The Hazel Wood back in 2018, two years ago, and my only wish was that Melissa would publish the book of short stories mentioned in The Hazel Wood. I finally got my wish, and this was very good, but not quite as good as I wanted it to be.

It was hard to ignore the repetitive themes, mothers, childbirth, evil men and sharp knives. Every story seemed to be about a bride, and every man and boy seemed to be evil. Every relationship was straight, and around every corner seemed to be a door to the world of the dead.

The characters like Twice Killed Katherine, and Alice Three-Times, while they were powerful characters in the previous books, their origin stories here did fall flat and blur together at times, with every bride/girl seeming to be the same person rewritten.

The stories were dark, and powerful, and I did enjoy them. The illustrations at the start of each story were amazing. However I do have to look back at The Hazel Wood and remember that this was supposed to be a book of stories that stuck with every reader, and I don't think I found them that memorable.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,859 reviews473 followers
January 3, 2021
This collection of 12 creepy fairy tales reminded me of my first reading of the original stories by the Brothers Grimm. I remember being shocked when I read the actual fairy tale stories where the evil stepsisters cut off part of their feet to make the glass slipper fit, people were executed inside barrels studded with nails, and witches ate children. Disney definitely cleaned things up a bit before making cute movies based on the old stories! Melissa Albert takes the feel of those old cautionary fairy tales and brings them into her Hinterland world. Perfect! I loved every single story!

Don't look for fairy tale endings in these stories. Every one of them is dark and creepy, but incredibly entertaining!!

As a fan of The Hazel Wood and The Night Country, I love the fact that the collection of tales mentioned in the books have been published. I'm going to go back and re-read from the beginning now!

Although these stories are set in the Hinterland and are part of the series, the collection can be read as stand-alone stories as well. Someone who hasn't read the books but who loves dark fairy tales would still enjoy these 12 stories!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Flatiron Books. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Brogan Lane.
441 reviews151 followers
March 16, 2021
To all my readers whose first language was fairy tales

Is anyone else fascinated by fairy tales? I am. I love fairy tales, the darker the better, in my opinion. Melissa Albert has created brand new fairy tales, so dark and so creepy that they're far from the beloved Disney films. There are no heroes and damsels in distress, no knights in shining armour, or just one evil. These fairy tales are full the brim with shady enchanters, bloodthirsty girls, foolish princes, desperate witches, murderest princesses, talking cats, clockwork creatures, strange houses, deadly riddles, creepy forests and so much death. They explore humanity at its worst, and never at its best. Sister betrays sister, mother kills her child, men trick women, and women killing their husbands. I picked this up expecting all these things after reading The Hazel Wood and The Night Country, yet it still shocked me. None of these fairy tales retells stories we already know - they're original and incredibly unique. Could these be the new fairytales? They remind me of Angela Carter's fairy tales, yet I prefer Albert's as they, not only are new and exciting, but they also hold a sense of what the traditional fairy tales have. They're nonsensical sometimes, and absurd, but as you read them, you can't question them or think too hard on the logical side of things because they're fairy tales.

My top three fairy tales were:
>Jenny and The Night Women
>Ilsa Waits
>Twice-Killed Katherine
January 6, 2023
This collection of dark fairy tale stories really left an impression on me. Honestly, they feel so unique even though I can see seeds of the well known stories from Grimm's and Christian Andersen in the stories. They actually feel a lot more like something Angela Carter would have written, but with a unique feel specific to the author. The stories make me want to read more in this series, if this is the kind of writing and storytelling on offer.

Beautiful, but dark and disturbing and truly haunting, I won't easily forget the feel of these stories, even if I can't exactly describe all the details.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
Profile Image for Samantha.
1,632 reviews78 followers
October 30, 2020
Ah, the Hinterland. Seems like an absolutely terrible place to take a vacation, but the best setting ever for dark fairy tales.

I can’t get enough of Melissa Albert’s Hazel wood series, and this collection of dark fairy tales set in the Hinterland (some featuring familiar characters, some populated by new faces) was no exception.

I don’t think there’s anyone out there doing better work in the traditional dark fairy tale sub-genre at the moment than Albert, who hooked me with her world building with the first book set in this world and has continued to captivate me since.

These tales are perfect for readers like me who love very dark, very creepy stuff, but only as long as it doesn’t go too far. For me that’s no graphic/on-page rape or torture. Albert’s macabre collection toes the line between delightfully disturbing and just plain upsetting perfectly, as has her entire Hazel wood collection.

Though all 16 stories in this book are gorgeously rendered, here are my favorites:

-The Clockwork Bride (this has the feel of what I’ve always wanted Nutcracker adaptations to be but they never seem to achieve)
-Jenny and the Night Women
-The Sea Cellar
-The Mother and the Dagger
-Twice-Killed Catherine

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Carrie (brightbeautifulthings).
820 reviews30 followers
April 5, 2021
Collections of stories that exist in other novels seem to be gathering popularity lately, and in this case, I think it really works. I was dying to read these all through the Hazel Wood duology, and in a rare turn of events, I think I like them a bit more than the actual novels. They’re dark and deliciously creepy, sometimes with a grim, fairytale-like moral and sometimes not, and while I liked some more than others, I never found my attention wandering in any of them. It’s almost perfectly paced, with none of the stories being ridiculously longer than the others, and I appreciate Albert keeping them short and sweet. (Or, er, short and bloody, as the case may be.) I’m not very moved by the illustrations or the overall color scheme (green and orange aren’t a great combination), but I enjoyed the overall aesthetics of the book. It felt like I was holding something just a little bit magical.

My favorite stories were ones with connections to the characters in the duology: “Hansa the Traveler”, “Twice-Killed Katherine”, “Ilsa Waits”, and of course “Alice-Three-Times.” They do a lot to flesh out the backstories of those (largely creepy) characters, and they provide a fascinating look into the inner workings of the Hinterlands, with its unforgiving rules and skeptical morality. The stories as a whole overwhelmingly feature female main characters, many of them of the bloody and vengeful variety (which I’m totally here for), most of them clever and ruthless and occasionally the villain. While I’m excited to go back to the duology at some point with these stories in mind, I don’t think it’s necessary to read those to understand this. The stories stand on their own, and I’d highly recommend them for someone who likes Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns or Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods (who would have been an AMAZING illustrator for this collection, btw).

I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.
Profile Image for Natasha  Leighton .
364 reviews117 followers
June 4, 2022
A wonderfully atmospheric collection of stories that perfectly capture the dark, creepy vibes of traditional fairytales, as well as add to the wickedly delicious and addictive worldbuilding of The Hazel Wood. Ever since reading about the Hinterlands in Albert’s incredible debut I’ve wanted to get my hands on Althea Prosperpine’s fairytales—and honestly they didn’t disappoint!

If you loved The Hazel Wood or enjoy your fairytales dark, gruesome and just a tad grisly then I definitely recommend checking these out.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,005 reviews2,597 followers
January 19, 2021
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/01/19/...

If you loved The Hazel Wood and The Night Country by Melissa Albert, Tales from the Hinterlands is not to be missed. Heck, even if you aren’t a fan of the series, you should give this one a chance. Filled with stories both wondrous and terrifying, this is not your typical book of fairy tales.

Those familiar with the main series will recognize this as the collection written by the protagonist’s grandmother Althea Prosperpine before she all but vanished from the public eye, even as her work gained ground in certain circles. As readers, we were able to experience snippets and pieces of these stories over the course of Alice’s adventures, but merely peripherally, often in a secondary context. Now, finally, we are able to read them in their entirety, and discover out what they’ve been all about. If you haven’t read the novels though, don’t despair! They are certainly not a prerequisite, and in fact, it might even be beneficial to read this collection first as it may provide you with the context to appreciate the novels even more.

Normally when I review short story collections, I break down each entry by providing a brief summary along with my comments. However, I will not be doing that this time, since it would not work as well. Much like the traditional fairy tales that inspired them, many of the stories in here are allegorical, going beyond the plot to probe deeper themes and messages. The Brothers Grimm influence is also strong with this one, both in the whimsy and darkness of the tales. Some of them are downright twisted and disturbing, pushing beyond the boundaries of fantasy and entering horror territory as they explore extreme and impossible situations.

While I will not go into detail into each story, I do have a few favorites. The opening tale, The Door that Wasn’t There was a nice introduction, setting the tone for the rest of the collection. Fairy tale fans will appreciate the familiar tropes—rich merchants and their daughters, stepmothers and blood curses—but the ending will also surprise you, a reminder that Albert has her own ideas and that she’s working towards a unique vision for The Hazel Wood series. Other favorites include Jenny and the Night Women, The Skinned Maiden, as well as Alice-Three-Times. I loved how the protagonists of these stories are not your helpless maidens, but neither are they always good, kind, or sweet. In fact, some of them are highly unlikeable, and you’d be hard pressed to sympathize with them at all.

I also want to note that I’m generally not a big reader of short stories or collections because I prefer more developed characters and plotlines, and the short format is usually too restrictive for that. Fairy tales, however, are an exception. As I alluded to before, many fairy tales are often about something bigger than just the plot at hand. A lot of times, their characters as well as the things they do or feel are also less intrinsic to the story and more about representing something about human nature. I definitely got this vibe with many of the stories in Tales from the Hinterland, and in many cases, the shorter they were, the more meaningful they actually felt, while the longer ones rambled and lost much of their impact. Don’t get me wrong; all the stories in this collection were fun to read, but there were a few meandering, ambiguous ones that failed to hold my attention all the way, like Hansa the Traveler, Ilsa Waits, and even the much acclaimed Twice-Killed Katherine.

Still, the good stories were by far the majority. Save for a few mediocre entries, this was actually a very strong collection of fairy tales, one of the most impressive I’ve ever read. Be forewarned though, Tales from the Hinterlands is not for the faint of heart. Personally, I felt the overall tone was even darker and more mature than the novels, but that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much! Like I said, this collection can be read independently of the series, but mega-fans will probably want to seek out the print edition, as I hear the illustrations in it are gorgeous. I had the pleasure of reviewing the audio edition which had no visual component obviously, but I nevertheless had a great time listening to the fantastic narration by Rebecca Soler, whose talented voice acting made each story shine in its own way.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,084 reviews215 followers
January 30, 2021
I have been wanting to dive into this little novella for like EVER! Each and every story within Tales From the Hinterland had it's own little creepiness to it. I honestly really enjoyed diving into this because of how badly I wanted to do so after finish the first two books. There's just something about the creepiness and darkness that just sucks you in. Trust me, it will and it did for me. So, yeah, I enjoyed all the dark things coming my way.

Out of the twelve stories, I don't think I necessarily have a favorite or not. Or particularly hated one either. Each had something unique about it and a character that you could easily follow along with. I will admit that I now really want to dive into the series again just to fall back in love with the characters.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
903 reviews776 followers
January 17, 2021
“This inventive, enchanting collection reads like the fairy tales of old, hushed stories passed woman to woman, before the Grimms came and wiped away all the blood.” -Kelly Link

I don’t think I can write a review that sums it up better than Kelly Link’s quote on the back of this collection. This is a book with wicked teeth, bloody women, and the kind of truths waiting in the shadows of nightmares. I loved it.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,740 reviews750 followers
February 11, 2022
This collection of stories is just amazing, it was such a treat to dip my toes into the magically dark world of The Hazel Wood again. Each story is enchanting and beautiful yet dark and twisted at the same time and I couldn’t have loved this collection more. I got serious Grimm’s fairy tales vibes throughout and it was absolutely magical. I can’t leave this review without raving about the artwork for a bit! Not only is the cover gorgeous but the books underneath is beautiful as well. And then you have the STUNNING illustrations that introduce each story and beautiful little details surrounding each page. This book is just gorgeous from cover to cover and everything in between!
Profile Image for Sheena ☆ Book Sheenanigans .
1,409 reviews334 followers
September 1, 2020

This was unique and refreshing in every sense of the word and the perfect introductory piece to Melissa Albert.

'The Door That Wasn't There' was a great starting point to this collection of short stories as I was immediately entranced by the fantasy, supernatural, and paranormal elements that were thrown together and the author's ability in making each short it's own.

With 'Tales from the Hinterland' being the first novel I have read from this author, I am looking forward to diving into 'The Hazel Wood' series to see if her earlier works resemble this creative piece.

All in all, this author has gained a new fan.

Profile Image for Justine.
465 reviews297 followers
January 12, 2021
Fairy tales inspired by her Hazel Wood duology, I enjoyed these much more than the books that inspired them! I'd highly recommend these to anyone looking for a collection of original, dark fairy tales - whether you're a fan of her other books or not.
Profile Image for Joanne.
120 reviews
April 7, 2021
I have always enjoyed fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. Back when the first book in the series was published, I was already looked forward to a future book including all the ‘cult-classic pitch-dark’ fairy tales (as described in the summary of The Hazel Wood). I added The Tales of Hinterlands to my TBR before it was released. I mention all this to show how excited I was for the book and how much I wanted to love it. So it was disappointing to me when, halfway through the audiobook, I knew that it would only be a 2-star read for me.

What is it that makes Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales special? These stories originally started as oral folk tales, and somehow they were worth the effort of relating to others, and later compiling and publishing them, again and again until they reach us in the 21st century. So much history has been lost, but not these stories about fairy godmothers and princesses and talking animals. Fairy tales with similar plot or motifs are found in different cultures. The story of Cinderella, as a lowly girl who impressed a prince and was eventually identified by him through an article of clothing, existed in Ancient Greece, Middle East and China long before the Grimms added the story to their collection. To that end, classification systems have been created to categorise fairy tales according to their tropes.

Somehow, these stories managed to speak to people across different social classes, living in different countries and culture. Whether these stories travelled from one place and managed to take root in another, or whether they were created and evolved independently, the fact that they exist in so many forms is still absolutely remarkable. And somehow, these stories that resonate in the past, still resonate now, centuries later.

I love fairy tales because these stories are distillations of people’s hope, beliefs, morals, caution and fears. Little girls shouldn’t stray in the woods by themselves, because bad things will find them. A new stepmother (and her own children) changes the dynamics of the household, and can the grieving child really trust a stranger who is here to replace their own mother? An underdog servant can eventually escape from the daily grind of life, become the belle of the ball and finds her happily ever after, provided that she stays kind, humble and most of all, working for her superiors. A woman’s husband may be beastly, but he would eventually become a prince as long as she keeps waiting, because what other choice does she have? Young girls who don’t live within the rules of society are detrimental, even outright harmful to men, and can only be tamed by men through matrimony. These are the collective experiences and beliefs of the past generations. And in a way, they are still relevant today.

In my opinion, modern fairy tales and retellings should aim to challenge the status quo, to be more diverse, to make us question the beliefs, subconscious or not, that have been instilled by the tales we were told as children. Is the stepmother always so wicked? Is there truly an adoring prince for every heroine who keeps her head down and stays meek? What if the beast is truly ugly, inside and out, and Beauty has to leave him?

Simply copying the dark tone of Grimm fairy tales isn’t enough, nor is turning the ‘unrealistic’ happy endings into grittier, more open-ended endings enough to give it a modern spin. In fact, I would argue that even today, people still want a happy ending, especially in fairy tales. They give us the hope we need to live and smile another day. Unfortunately, both places are where Tales from the Hinterlands falls short.

For the endings, most of the stories end up with the protagonists evil (or at least very morally grey, in which they are 90% black and 10% white), in the villains’ clutches, descended into madness, or liberated, but at the heavy cost of someone else. These are hardly happy endings. While characters should struggle (it is, after all, what makes a story), I would want to see their struggle brings some measure of reward or relief.

And now onto the tropes:

- Every protagonist is a young girl who dreams of ~something else, something bigger~. This may have been feminist and groundbreaking years ago, but it is hardly enough these days, without well-written motivations and character arcs.

- Many of these girls are well-off or royalty, and if they become brides (they usually do at some point), they are often unwilling.

- Weird or otherwise evil children abound, who are somehow born (and stay) “not right”, and they usually bring grief and trouble to their parents. (This may be something vaguely problematic, but I don’t feel qualified to get into it.)

- Most men from the stories only ever take and take and take from women, whether intentionally or not.

- Parents are usually abusive, neglectful, overly lenient or otherwise failing in some ways.

- Death is always described as decay, ugly and horrible. When personified, it is someone that takes selfishly and without mercy. It is hardly comforting and new, and betrays the author’s lack of creativity. There are many belief systems and religions (open ones) that depict death in a more forgiving light, which the author could have drawn from.

- I don’t recall any noteworthy woman-to-woman interactions. Sisters exist, but only as plot devices, their deaths used as motivation to spur the heroines forward. The heroines seldom have female friends, and their relationships with their mothers are frosty at best (see above).

- While ethnicities are not explicitly stated (as I recall), it is safe to say all the characters and the settings were pretty ‘white’, which if nothing else, adds to the repetitive nature of the stories.

- No LGBT relationships exist in any stories, except an allusion to two women making a baby together, but they were never said to be lovers, so it is very dubious at best.

It is easy to see these fairy tales are far from diverse, as most characters are beautiful young girls eligible for marriage, and the rest are portrayed in an unfavourable light, or at best only briefly mentioned. Modern fairy tales should have space for more people. Not all protagonists fit the same mould, but they still deserve their own story. Some of them are:

- Boys and men
- Trans (it is part of LGBTQ but warrants a special mention)
- Older women: mothers, grandmothers, single women
- From other cultures (or at least from a setting loosely inspired by non-eurocentric cultures)
- People whose Big Quest is a Small Life, and it is not lesser
- People who want love, and marriage, go into both willingly with someone they like
- And more.

Some stories are better than others, I personally enjoy The House Under the Stairwell, Twice-Killed Katherine, and Death and the Woodwife . However, these stories still suffer from the problems above, and they weren’t outstanding enough to make listening through the entire book worth it. I am sure the author tried to write engaging and subversive tales, and that this isn’t a cash-grab trying to piggyback off an existed series. The book is very well received by other reviewers, so there must be something there. But I can’t see it, and to me, these stories simply ring hollow.
Profile Image for Theen.
145 reviews35 followers
February 16, 2022
A perfect successor to the last two books. Hearing the famous Althea Proserpine stories was a joy. Well, they were actually very dark, extremely bloody and filled with death. Sort of the opposite of joy I guess?

4.5 stars for an overall awesome read.
Profile Image for  Bon.
1,054 reviews83 followers
March 25, 2023
Thank you to Goodreads for a free giveaway copy, which is gorgeous, with decorative printing around the pages to give it a real storybook vibe.

I actually listened to the audiobook, and Rebecca Soler was a great narrator. I haven't read the Hazel Wood, but this was a fantastic collection of standalone fairytales within that universe and there was no problem! These were interesting, dark stories with all the hallmarks of original Grimm fairytales and I really enjoyed.
Profile Image for Lu .
343 reviews34 followers
December 8, 2020
Thank you so much, Flatiron Books and NetGalley, for the chance to read and review this book!

I fell in love with the world created by the author and when I heard she would write a collection of stories, the Althea Proserpine's Tales from the Hinterland I was over the moon! I'm so happy I got the chance to read this amazing book and I can't wait to have the physical copy in my hands to gush over the illustrations!

Tales from the Hinterland is a collection of sinister fairy tales set in this world and the stories are creepy and intense, heartwrenching and brilliant, scary and intriguing, each one of them. Through them the reader finds doors that led into another world, stubborn traveler looking for the truth and their justice, clockwork animals and people, murders and murdererers, spells and enchanters, blood and death, sacrifice and lies, deceits and punishments.
It's full of intriguing and interesting characters, wonderfully relatable in their search for the truth or for vengeance, love, family and home.
The female characters are incredibly brilliant, well written and well rounded. They fight against abandonment and neglect, against men's entitlements, society's expectations, against Death itself. Brave, stubborn, ready to do anything to get what they want and look for, they are the true main characters of Tales from the Hinterland, with their complexity and will. A feminist read, with female characters refusing to follow orders, above all men's orders, but looking for their own choices and fates.
Their tales are tales of blood, death, vengeance, revenge and justice. I loved every single page of it.

I recommend this book to those who loves fairy tales, above all the sinister ones, with intense and brilliant characters, that refuse to bend or break, who take their destiny and lives and deaths in their own hands.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 883 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.