“Look until the leaves turn red, sew the worlds up with thread. If your journey’s left undone, fear the rising of the sun.” —Melissa Albert, The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1)
I am currently reading The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.
I used to have the goal of reading a new book every week. Time, however, is limited, and society forces us normal folks to allocate it unwillingly. But, that doesn’t mean I always let it win!
So, if I can fit a book into my life every two to four weeks, I feel pretty accomplished.
So far, The Hazel Wood is a pleasantly creepy read that combines the macabre with fantasy (my favorite sort of fusion).
Without spoiling the plot, I can vouch that the story is about a teenager named Alice who spent most of her life on the road with her mother, seemingly always running from something or someone. They could never stay in one place for too long, else something tragic would happen to the people around them.
When Alice’s mother is abducted, Alice goes on a journey to rescue her from a fate mysteriously related to her grandmother, a writer whose past is as ominous as the fairytale book she wrote.
If I am honest, I am not a huge fan of young adult novels mainly because I’ve outgrown them. However, I occasionally find a gem with edge.
I love the dysfunctional relationship between Alice and her mother (matching tattoos, smoking, and survival in a brutal society). It’s a real yet heartwarming representation where they seem more like sisters than mother and daughter. Yet, there are mounds of unconditional love between them.
I also enjoy the main character Alice. She is tough and independent, but not just for the sake of being so. She has flaws: anger, trauma, and unanswered questions about her life have shaped her into someone desperate for the stability of a home and healthy relationships. However, she is terrified of putting her trust into others due to the uncertainty of her upbringing.
She is not a “perfect” girl boss, and her humanity truly shines through early in the story when she has to admit to herself how terrified she is without her mother and summon the courage to find a solution to save her.
I am still only one third through the book, but so far I am pleased. If you enjoy dark fairy tales and fantasy with edge, this might be for you too.