The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (Spoiler review)

Synopsis- 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. – Goodreads


I looked forward to this book as I had heard it was loosely based on Alice in Wonderland (one of my favourite books) I had also heard a fair number if people had DNF’d it so I was a bit hesitant to read it.

Once I’d made a start I found very quickly that I didn’t want to put it down. It was creepy and fast pasted. The only problem I had from the start was the main character’s, Alice, attitude. (This is later explained towards the end of the book)

When her mother goes missing Alice finds the title page of one of the stories her grandmother made up – Alice-three-times. Alice and Ellery begin to track down copies of her grandmothers book but with no luck. The book seems impossible to find. Luckly Ellery has read it and remembers the stories by heart. This comes in handy when they begin to notice people around the city that are not from this world but are from her grandmothers book of fairy tales.

Their hunt sends them to Hazel Wood, the house her grandmother owned and where her mother grew up. When they arrive at the forest where Hazel wood is hidden, they are greeted by a couple of ‘stories’ (people who are part of a story in Hinterland- basically a darker version of wonderland)

At this point I will cut out a large chunk of the book out as there’s spoilers 😄 and then there are spoilers 😧

The second half of the book I found was rushed. To me the author wanted to cram in as much as she could about The Hinterland, it’s stories and characters that there were a few loose ends. Explanations were quick and characters that were in the book before were just thrown back in for a couple of pages then forgotten again *cough* Ellery Finch* cough*

Despite that last part, I throughly enjoyed this book and would like to read more. I’d like to know more about Alice’s mother and grandmother. I’d also like to read the stories from The Hinterland.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars

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