Audiobook Review | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Series: The Hazel Wood

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: January 30th, 2018

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.

| Book Review |

The Hazel Wood is a book that made it onto my TBR when SuperSpaceChick raved about it on her youTube channel long before it’s release. And even though I am only just now getting around to reading it, I’ve been looking forward to it since then. I was shocked when I was approved for The Night Country on Netgalley and knew I was going to have to move The Hazel Wood up to be ready for this new release. 

Alice’s life is basically an homage to the phrase ‘If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.’ It seems she and her mother have been running from something (even if Alice can’t quite put her finger on what,) her whole life. This Young Adult Fantasy was so atmospheric and creepy. Every time Hazel turned around, there was something ‘off’ – someone who felt maybe just a little bit familiar but seemed to know her very well or seeing something that she couldn’t quite convince herself was real.

Alice’s grandmother may have been somewhat of a one hit wonder with her release of dark fairy tales in ‘Tales from the Hinterland,’ but she has a rabid fan base who hasn’t forgotten her, even though her books are nearly impossible to find in print. It seems Alice’s entire life is framed around her famed grandmother, even though she knows next to nothing about the woman. When Alice gets word that her grandmother died and then her mother disappears, she knows it has to be related to The Hazel Wood, the estate where her grandmother lives that no one is able to find.

I have to be honest – not much actually happens in this book. But it didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying it. I loved the original concepts for the dark fairy tales; they were what really lent to the spooky atmosphere of this book. I also loved Alice’s maybe-friend/maybe just superfan Ellery Finch. He was so incredibly charming in a geeky way, but I never knew what his motivation was, whether I could trust him or not, and to be honest, I still don’t know what to think of him. There was one surprise during the story that really threw me for a loop in the best way, but all in all, this felt like a prologue to a much bigger story. And that doesn’t bother me. I found The Hazel Wood to be gripping and exciting, and I am thrilled to find out what The Night Country holds.

Audiobook: I’ve listened to Rebecca Soler several times before, and even if I don’t enjoy what she’s narrating, I always enjoy the work she does. I feel like she ‘gets’ the stories she’s narrating and expresses points of view correctly, and if I’m ever on the fence for print or audio, her narration always tips the scales for audio.

| Rating |

| Series Reading Order |

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