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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
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My problem with YA is: the stories are good because the fundamental idea behind the story is great, but most of the potential gets lost along the way or is wasted on elements unnecessary to the plot. Regarding 'The Hazel Wood' this was true, sadly.

First, I really couldn't connect with the characters. Finch was too much a means to an end (money, car, etc.) and had no other importance to the plot. This made him not very memorable. And Alice was too much of a damsel in distress, even though she managed to grow throughout the events of the story, into a kickassing fairy tale character (who would have expected that?!). However, what I liked about the characters and their relationship was that it remained wholly platonic. The romance was nipped in the bud. Yeah, no love triangle!

Second, the first part of the story dragged and dragged on. Should have been much shorter. It was too much back and forth, to much whirling around. I needed more Hinterland and less reality.

Third, the narration was a bit confusing and weird. Even though it has a fairy tale character, it cuts no ice, especially in the Halfway Wood and during the end of the novel.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the feeling and atmosphere evoked by getting into a fairy tale world and into the fairy tale Alice had to live through. The secret behind Alice's figure was absolutely what I expected and what I hoped it would be. Getting a little bit jealous here...

And by the way, enjoyed reading the 'Tales from the Hinterland' far more than reading the actual novel. Why does this continue to happen? So I'm looking forward to reading that fairy tale collection (it was already announced).

Another aspect that stuck with me is the language employed by the author. Throughout the text one finds a lot of metaphors and comparisons, ranging from normal to creative to strange. The comparison I fell in love with is: "a boy whose eyes were the alert, shiny color of sunlight through coke". It is a weird way of describing the eye color but you can perfectly picture it. However, I would have preferred a much more straight forward way of expressing and describing things, and less beating about the bush.

Even though 'The Hazel Wood' is a YA novel, it has a much more adult tone to it than other novels of this genre. It is not as naivish or too love-triangly. Still it missed part of its potential (especially in the last quarter of the book). And I think the story, characters and fairy tale figures (which reminded me of Ransom Riggs Peculiar Children) could have been much darker, more villainous and wicked. The descriptions of the Hinterland and of the events should have been less superficial and short-lived but more detailed and elaborated. Metaphors and comparisons don't always do the thing.

All in all, 'The Hazel Wood' was not as bad as I expected, but it wasn't phenomenal either. It is an interesting modern fairy tale, which I liked but not too much. It is nice as an in-between read.

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Reading Progress

May 10, 2018 – Shelved
May 10, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
May 15, 2018 – Started Reading
May 15, 2018 –
page 49
May 21, 2018 –
page 83
May 22, 2018 –
page 115
May 27, 2018 –
page 269
May 28, 2018 –
page 299
May 28, 2018 – Finished Reading

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