Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Release day January 30, 2018!

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: The Hazel Wood

Series: The Hazel Wood #1

Author: Melissa Albert

Publication Date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Macmillan USA

Page Count: 368

Format: Paperback

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Fairy Tale, Mystery

Cover Artist: Anna Gorovoy

My Rating: No Rating – DNF

The Hazel WoodThe Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I received an ARC of this book via Goodreads giveaway. Thank you!

DNFing at page 185.

Hold on to your hats, kitties, because this review is about to get strange. Stranger than this book? Probably not.

What I mean is, the reason why I DNF’d this book is because…I get creeped out too easily.

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It’s not that this book is horrendously terrifying. It’s because this book is such a slow burn with plot revelation that it allows time for your mind to wander. I think this is my main problem. Key points aren’t revealed fast enough, so my brain thinks up numerous alternatives…which end up being way worse than the actual ending! This is why I can’t handle horror anything. My mind is overactive enough on a daily basis–I don’t need anything creepy to prompt that type of thinking at all.

This is a perfect case of, “it’s me, not you, book with a beautiful cover and fantastic plot.” Seriously though, if it wasn’t for my ineptness with reading scary stories, this would probably be one of my favorites for this year.

I know, I’m screaming inside too.

The writing is matter-of-fact, with creativity scoring off the charts! Melissa Albert’s writing style may not be for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed how she depicted her characters, and slowly introduced the secrets of the Hazel Wood, also commonly known as the Hinterland.

This tale is unlike anything I’ve picked up before, to the point of where the possibilities feel endless. However, I must listen to my conscious as well, because, I have to live with it. I don’t want to be jumpy for the next few weeks (or more) because I’m always thinking about how this book creeped me out.

To be honest, some people may find this to not be creepy at all. Good for you! I’m not saying it is the creepiest book in the world–I had a similar reaction (for different reasons) when I tried to read The Raven Boys. Despite the fact that it was such a thorough piece of literature, I couldn’t stick with it.

I’m really hoping I’ll be able to change my mind and complete this book at some point. Alas, for now, I must put it down and move on to something less stimulating.

NOTE: These were my accounts up until the point of where I abandoned the book. This is not observing the entire book. 

Vulgarity: There were 85 words counted up until about the halfway mark. My assumption is that there would be a lot more in the second half of the book.
Sexual content: Minimal, if any.
Violence: Moderate to prevalent. The fairy tales being told are often gruesome and without cause. They make for a twisted read.

View all my reviews

No-star rating is to be assigned to this read as it is a DNF.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert”

  • Your reasoning makes perfect sense to me! I finished and mostly enjoyed The Hazel Wood, but I also gravitate towards creepier stories. It’s definitely on the darker side for YA so I think it’s totally understandable that the story, however nicely written, won’t appeal to everyone. Great review, Sheila 🙂
    JJ @ This Dark Material recently posted…sunday post #3My Profile

  • I’m halfway in this and I can totally understand how the amazingly descriptive writing and the dark aspects can become a bit horrifying 😀 I hope I can pull through the other half because it definitely is interesting but yes, it can be quite creepy at times >.< Though, I'm glad you're being honest about your opinion! Fanna recently posted…Wicked Charm by Amber Heart [ARC]My Profile

  • Hi there! I was browsing the web for The Hazel Wood art and came across your review! I just finished the book today, and for a minute I had set it aside because I, too, found it to be creepier than I prefer– just at my threshold for reading but at times crossing the line. I’d made a policy not to read it at bedtime, but then I was probably just over halfway through (maybe– it was on Kindle, so I lost track for a while) when I decided one night to delve in again, and I then couldn’t put it down. I guess I’d just hit a sweet spot where the imagery was lighter, and I determined that I would indeed finish it. TBH, I would at times read a bit of Hazel Wood and then pick up Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs to feel more “balanced,” haha. I feel all my cringing was worth it by the time I finished the story, and now I am excited to get the next installments (maybe see a film version eventually?). In any case, I’m glad to have stumbled upon your blog. Happy reading!

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