Posted in Melissa Albert, Reading, Review

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert [Review]

So, for me, this is one of those books where the cover is the best thing about it. I didn’t actually have a cover – I got an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – but I’ve seen pictures from people who received physical copies and it does look gorgeous.

I would usually only give something a one or two star rating is it’s problematic or I have a personal vendetta against it because it reminds me of exams, but I’m giving this one a low rating because it’s just so boring. I feel like it’s marketed as a fantasy, but I was two-thirds into the book when I finally reached the fantasy aspect, and at this point I had stopped caring about the story entirely. This book feels more like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ rewritten as a YA mystery, and mystery is a genre that I’m not a huge fan of reading, so that could be why the story didn’t work for me.

Some points (good and bad):

  • The first half is extremely slow and too long
  • The storyline relies heavily on fairytale logic
  • So many thinks conveniently happen
  • I’m still very confused by the ending
  • Alice is rude and selfish and unlikable, but there’s no depth to make the traits interesting
  • I don’t think she’s supposed to be unlikable
  • She disregards how Finch was uncomfortable around the cops (he’s biracial and he’s explaining about racial profiling) and just says that he’s rich and privileged
  • Ellery/Finch is an extreme hipster who also has no depth, but is slightly less unlikable
  • The other named characters aren’t too memorable (as I can’t remember their names)
  • It kind of romanticises/glorifies kidnapping??
  • Alice was kidnapped when she was six and has so many fond memories of it that it concerns me
  • It references Alice’s grandmother’s backstory a lot and I found that more interesting than the actual story
  • It includes stories from the grandmother’s book that I actually loved

In summary, this was not the book for me or my tastes. But, just because I disliked this book, it doesn’t mean that you won’t pick it up and be engrossed and love it and devour it in a day.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Author:

On a cold Autumn evening back in 2008, seven-year-old Tegan Anderson began to write their first short stories, finding a more creative way to learn their spellings. Many years and many more short stories later, they haven't stopped for anything. Now, they're writing more than they ever believed possible. Tegan may write the worlds they would prefer to exist in but currently lives in Devon with their overflowing bookshelves and expanding imagination.

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