Bullet Point Review | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Publication Date: February 8th 2018 (first published January 30th 2018)
ISBN13: 9780141388663
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Part of Series? Yes (The Hazel Wood #1)
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★

Goodreads Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a 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 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.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .

Book tag: Young Adult
Young Adult
Book tag: Fantasy
Book tag: Fairy Tale
Fairy Tale
Book tag: Dark
Book tag: Adventure
Book tag: Magic
Book tag: Series
Book tag: Ebook

“Life never turns out how you imagine it will when you’re young. Everything is smaller than you think, or too big. It all smells a little funny and fits like somebody else’s shirt.”

Okay, so today I am posting the review of a book which is currently in too much hype and was actually one of the most anticipated reads of many, including mine. But I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected. This is so sad considering the beautiful cover (the alternate edition) and the blurb gave so much hope to me 🙁 In fact, I realize it now, that I went into a reading slump last month because of this book only. It was too dragged. In simple words, this book was not for me.

This story is about Alice who grew up moving from one place to another with her mom Ella. They were always haunted by bad luck so they kept changing their places until one day they receive a letter that Alice’s grandmother, Althea, is dead. Althea was the author of famous fairytales books titled Tales of the Hinterland. Alice was never able to get her hands on the actual book but once her mother gets disappear she had no way except entering the dark and mysterious world of Hinterland and the Hazel Wood.

Let’s move forward with another bullet-point review.



What I Liked

  • Like everyone else, I loved the writing of Melissa Albert. There is no doubt that she wrote beautifully and at times it was captivating. It was only her writing that I was even able to finish it. Her writing made the story glorious. I loved her writing more when the chapters were actually fairy tales.
  • I loved the different fairy tales that the author wrote. In fact, reading those fairy tales were my favourite part of this book. All the stories were creepy and some of those even gave me goosebumps. They were so dark and interesting. In fact, I liked them more than the real story.
  • I usually like the mother-daughter relationship in books and I loved the relationship of Alice and Ella here too. Alice was so determined to find her mother that she was ready to do anything and go anywhere to find her mother. I loved how the author has portrayed this emotion through the story.
  • Finch as a character was so adorable. I liked how he was so invested in Althea’s book. I liked him as a reader. Also, I liked his friendship with Alice. It was slowly built and it was good that there was no romance plot given, for once 😀
  • I like all the description of the Hazel Wood and Hinterland to some point. Knowing all those little details about the estate was really interesting.




What I didn’t like

  • The first half of the book seemed very slow and was dragged too much. I don’t think it was required to make it that long. Most of the first part contains the road trips of Alice and Ella which doesn’t add much to the main plot.
  • I was not able to relate to Alice as a character. I wanted to love and understand her. But with all the craziness and anger that was portrayed for her, I felt it really hard to connect with her. At times I was irritated by all the foolishness she was doing and the way she used Finch.
  • I wanted more story for Ella and Finch. I really wanted to know Ella. I felt that her part as a character in the story was too small. Also, a major portion of the book was set around the stories written by Alice’s grandmother Althea, yet we don’t see her side of the story as much as required.
  • The second part of the book was filled with so many random and bizarre characters. I had a hard time remembering the purpose of each of them in the story. Later part became Alice in Wonderland for me with all those creepy characters kept popping in.
  • There was too much information withhold with each character and sometimes I was irritated. You don’t need every character to hide some information so that you can introduce a new character. It just made the story more confusing for me. I think there were some secrets which could have been told earlier rather than waiting for almost the end.
  • I didn’t like the ending. I felt it was too rushed and complicated. I had a hard time understanding it all and the coincidences were just weird. I wish there was some different ending.



Final Thoughts

This book was certainly not for me. Though I appreciate the author’s writing style and her imagination, I am not impressed by the story itself and the characters. I felt that this book would have been more interesting if it was just a short stories collection of those creepy fairy tales instead of a whole novel. For most of the parts it was boring for me and I had to literally drag it till the end. This book is more suited for the readers who like creepy tales and heavy fantasy world.



Overall Rating

3 Star rating @FlippingThruthePages



The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

** Thank you Penguin Random House UK and NetGalley for providing me eARC of this book. Buying this book from here would support this blog.



Let's Chat

Have you read this book? What do you think of it?

Do you like creepy and mysterious stories with heavy fantasy? Or you are a light fantasy reader?


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  1. Vee

    I felt the same way! I went into this novel with a lot of expectations but I found myself really let down. I didn’t like the slow pacing in the beginning, and I found the second part to be so different from the beginning that it felt like a completely different story. I did enjoy the story more as I pushed through, so I gave it 3 stars. Great review! If you have the time, I would love for you to check out my review of it!

    1. Post

      Thanks Vee 🙂 yeah we have exactly same thoughts on this one. I am really disappointed with this book considering it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year 🙁 The second half was definitely better, as you said.
      Sire, I’ll check out your review too 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  2. Literary Feline

    I am sorry this one didn’t work for you, Sim. I was really looking forward to this one and still plan to read it–I will just lower my expectations. And maybe save it for when I am looking for something on the slower side. I do enjoy fantasy, light or heavy, so perhaps this will work better for me. I really hate it when a book is the cause of a reading slump. Hopefully you have since read a great book. 🙂
    Literary Feline recently posted…Weekly Mews: New Audiobooks, Finally Some Rain, and My March TBR List PollMy Profile

    1. Post

      Oh please go ahead and read it. I think this is more like a case of “it was not for me”. I am sure many people would love it. It’s just that it was too dark for me to understand and I was not able to connect to the characters.
      Yeah, by the end of last month I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AGenda and that book literally blew me away and was my first 5 star read of the year. I loved it so much and thanks to it now I am out of the terrible slump 😀

  3. Marie

    Oh I’m sorry to hear this book was a bit frustrating for you, but I totally see where you’re coming from. It was a bit slow, and if you are expecting for magical worlds and the hinterland right away, well… it’s frustrating to see how much time it takes before the real action actually starts. You are making an amazing point about Althea as well, I feel like it could have been great to get to know her side of the story a bit more. I think I enjoyed that book a bit more than you did, haha, but I’m glad you still found it an okay read 🙂 hope your next read will be better! 🙂
    Marie recently posted…I Would Give Up the Internet Bookish TagMy Profile

    1. Post

      Haha thanks, Marie 😀 I know you enjoyed it much and so I wanted it to be. But it was too dark and confusing for me. And yes, it was so slow. I like stories with a fast plot. But if a story is slow then I want a good plot and good characters. Unfortunately, the first half of the book lacks all of these things 🙁 Seriously, I was disappointed but yes it is more the case of “it was not for me”. I am glad at least the writing was good so I was able to finish this.

  4. JJ @ This Dark Material

    I’m sorry to hear this one didn’t work for you 🙁 I agree, Melissa Albert’s writing is beautiful! And if you haven’t heard, she announced that she’ll be publishing all of the little fairy tales referenced in The Hazel Wood…I can’t remember if it’s in 2019 or 2020…But that might be something to look forward to!
    JJ @ This Dark Material recently posted…book review: the wicked deepMy Profile

    1. Post

      Thanks JJ. Oh wow, that’s certainly a news and I am looking forward to reading it 😃 But I am sure that I am not going to pick up the sequel now 🙈

  5. Becca

    So many mixed reviews for this book! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. Even though I really enjoyed the book myself, I can see why it doesn’t work for some people. I feel like your points sum it up really well.

    Great review either way!
    Becca recently posted…Author Interview: Hannah CarmackMy Profile

    1. Post

      Thank you Becca! I am glad you enjoyed it. This was too dark for me and I was not able to connect with any of the characters 😐 Most of the first part felt unnecessary to me 🙈

    1. Post

      Thank you Katherine. I guess we both are on the same page here 🙂 Absolutely right, the fairy tale sections were only the interesting part of this book. I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters 🙁 I am glad I am not alone in this feeling 😀

    1. Post

      Yeah, I was disappointed too 🙁 And it could be the worst case of overhyping going wrong for me. Yeah please pick it up. It was more like a case “it was not for me”. If you like reading dark fairy tales then I guess you might like this.

    1. Post
  6. Olivia-Savannah

    I was anticipating this book because it had a beautiful cover and it was a retelling, but actually most of the reviews I have been reading are quite negative. A lot of the problems you mentioned are reasons I probably wouldn’t enjoy reading this one either, especially if it drags at times especially around the beginning. I don’t think I will be trying this one 🙁
    Olivia-Savannah recently posted…February Wrap Up! [2018]My Profile

    1. Post

      Yeah I was attracted because of the cover too. But this book was more a case of “this was not for me”. I am not used to reading such dark fantasies so maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoyed it. But the writing of the author is beautiful. So I don’t know.. maybe you can like it more than me?

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