|Darkest part of the forest|
Author: Black, Holly
In the town of Fairfold, where humans and fae exist side by side, a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives awakes after generations of sleep in a glass coffin in the woods, causing Hazel to be swept up in new love, shift her loyalties, feel the fresh sting of betrayal, and to make a secret sacrifice to the faerie king.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 171329
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 20.0 Quiz: 65120
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/14)
School Library Journal (10/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (02/15)
The Hornbook (00/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2014 Gr 8 Up—Fairfold is no ordinary town. Its citizens live in uneasy détente with the surrounding forest's magical Folk. Like most residents, siblings Hazel and Ben fear and desire the magic that hovers just out of reach. The Fae gifted Ben with a supernatural musical ability that he cannot control. Hazel's own bargain with the Folk causes her many sleepless nights. Fairfold's fragile equilibrium tips when Hazel frees imprisoned Prince Severin, setting in motion a war with Severin's father, the Faerie king. Hazel and Ben will have to confront long-buried secrets if they want their town to survive. Once again, Black examines the intersection between self-reliance and guilt. Neither Hazel nor Ben nor Hazel's love interest, Jack, can combat the Faerie attack until they reveal their secret desires, often transformed and augmented by Folk magic. Black deeply embeds these conflicts in her story, but anecdotes and flashbacks pull readers away from present action, curiously slowing the pacing into a dreamlike holding pattern. Action scenes pepper the story, but the author's detailed world-building continually restrains the pace. Lush settings juxtapose the wild, alien nature of Faerie against the normalcy of mortal existence. Familiar tropes like Hazel's romance with changeling Jack and her conflict with the Faerie king will not surprise readers much, although Ben's crush on Prince Severin provides interest. While not Black's best, it is still better than most teen fantasy. Pair with the faster-paced "Modern Faerie Tales" (S. & S.), or, for a satisfying slow build and dense setting, try Robin McKinley's novels.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2014 Magic lives in Fairfold, but the fantastical creatures rarely bother the human residents of the town, reserving their sometimes cruel attention for the tourists who arrive every year, mostly to snap photos of the horned prince in a glass casket. Hazel and her brother have spent their childhood visiting the prince, making up stories and telling him secrets, imagining that he will wake and save Fairfold from the monster in the woods. And one day, he does. The same day, Hazel wakes up with shards of crystal in her palms and mud caked on her feet, and a sorrowful monster, whose presence sets everyone to weeping, begins stalking the town and putting unlucky Fairfoldians into a coma-like sleep. Expertly weaving fairy-tale magic into a contemporary setting, Black slowly reveals Hazel’s mysterious involvement with the fairy court and her heroic role in setting the prince free. Though there’s enough backstory that this dark fantasy occasionally feels like a sequel, Black’s stark, eerie tone; propulsive pacing; and fulsome world building will certainly delight her legion of fans. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Black has a long list of hits, and this grim fairy tale should add to it. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 02/01/2015 The residents of Fairfold have an uneasy alliance with the dangerous Fae that live in the surrounding forest: Fairfold natives are protected, but the many tourists who visit the small town to get a glimpse of its main attraction, a horned boy sleeping in a glass coffin, are fair game for the Fae. Siblings Hazel and Ben have grown up knowing to scatter oatmeal beneath their pillow, to carry grave dirt along with their cellphones, and to have iron on hand when entering the forest; all the warnings, however, didn’t stop Hazel from making a bargain with the Fae seven years ago to ensure that Ben gets into an elite music academy. Now the horned boy has woken up, a monstrous creature threatens the town, and Hazel’s realizing it’s time to repay her debt. Black returns here to the dark faery realm that spurred her initial success, and if anything, she’s only gotten better, writing with an elegant, economical precision and wringing searing emotional resonance from the simplest of sentences. The juxtaposition of the dark Fae world, clearly threatening but shrouded in mystery, against the quotidian, everyday town of Fairfold, replete with cheap souvenir shops and bored teenagers, is captivating, particularly as residents come to realize that their détente with the Fae is coming to an end. Most haunting, though, is the relationship between Hazel and Ben, a contradiction of affection and envy that is saddled with secrets and sacrifices that neither understand entirely. Fans of the author’s Valiant (BCCB 10/05) and Ironside (BCCB 9/07) will be pleased to see Black back in the realm of faeries. KQG - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.