Goodreads Summary: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
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.
*I received this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review!*
Release Date: January 30th, 2018
My Thoughts: After seeing a million glowing reviews for this book, I could not wait to read it. The day I started it I read about 40% of the book. Right away I was drawn into Alice’s life and story. The mystery of Althea Proserpine and her book of fairy tales was perfectly captivating and creepy, and I thought it was paced very well. My favorite thing about this book was the language. Alice’s funny and sarcastic voice felt very real and relatable, and I loved all of the specific real world references (the Harry Potter references being my favorite for obvious reasons). The mix of reality and fantasy really enhanced the world and made the fantasy aspects more believable. I also loved the language of the fairy tale stories themselves. They were creepy, dark, and absolutely beautiful. I wish I could read all of the Tales of the Hinterland, in addition to the few we got to experience within the story. I loved all of the characters. I adored Alice and Finch, and was pleasantly surprised at their relationship throughout the book. It was really refreshing, different, and quite bittersweet. I also loved all of “The Stories” from the Hinterland. It was such a clever concept, and it was fun seeing them both in and out of their world. All of Albert’s characters were very unique and specific, and I had very clear pictures of them in my mind. While I was thoroughly engaged in the plot and the characters, I expected a lot more when they finally got to the Hinterland. There was so much build up to this final destination, but the story went by so fast. I would have loved to see more of it, and find out more details about how everything worked. Not revealing everything about the Hinterland might have been an attempt to create a more mysterious atmosphere, but parts of it felt underdeveloped. I really liked everything we were given, I just wanted more. More time and more detail, especially with the ending. It all seemed a little too easy. I loved the idea, but it felt rushed through and could have been expanded. I was engaged enough for it to go on a bit longer, and I wish we could have seen more of a fight. This book started out really strong but kind of drifted away for me towards the end. I was still hooked on the story, but after all the hype, my expectations were really high and I was left feeling a little underwhelmed.