Deep in the forest, in a glass coffin, sleeps a beautiful horned boy. He sleeps through the wild parties that various generations of Fairfold teenagers have around his coffin. He has been an object of fascination for Hazel and her brother Ben since childhood, but when he wakes no one in the town is prepared for the consequences.
Holly Black is back on familiar ground with The Darkest Part of the Forest, although it doesn’t feel quite as edgy as the ‘Modern Faerie Tale’ series, it has all the elements you would expect. It is first and foremost a book about secrets; the secrets we keep from our loved ones and more importantly the secrets we keep from ourselves. The problems of the transition from childhood to adulthood are never simple, but Black makes them all the more complicated by introducing a host of faery folk to interfere in the lives of the locals. What is so wonderful about this novel is the way that Black reveals and unfolds the secrets and desires of the characters to create a poignant story of growth and self-awareness.
Sometimes it can feel like there’s a little too much happening all at the same time. Certain things that might be developed a little bit further get glossed over, but all in all, this is only a minor frustration in an otherwise extremely pleasurable read.
A book which blends ordinary life with magic so seamlessly and which evokes the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult so unpretentiously like this one, is definitely a winner.