The Night Country (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Hazel Wood Series #2)

The Night Country (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Hazel Wood Series #2)

by Melissa Albert

Hardcover(B&N Exclusive Edition)

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The Night Country (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Hazel Wood Series #2) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
WordsLikeStars 4 months ago
Back in 2018 when I read The Hazel Wood, the novel was all the rage. I remember wondering if there was something wrong with me for not loving it as much as many others did—as I tend to wonder whenever a hyped up book falls short with me. But it was simply missing its spark, and while I enjoyed it as it was, it didn't hold the magic that should have been brimming in it. Especially for a story such as it is. All of that changed in The Night Country. One of the things I did enjoy in The Hazel Wood, and which continued throughout The Night Country, are the fairy tales that Melissa Albert spins. Stories within stories that not only take you away but that build up and shape a new world. That darkness that one can imagine clinging to a character such as Alice Three-Times, to the Spinner, to Sophia, stood out wonderfully in this novel and gave it an ambiance that was a pleasure to explore and love. One that I had previously hoped for. There was a beginning, a middle, and an ending with this second installment that I did not come across in The Hazel Wood. And while I continue to compare the two, I can't help it. They're both part of a whole story, and the story has grown and developed nicely. There is no rushing events, they're very well explored. Finch's delving into the Night Country at the end and attaining the role of Spinner was wonderfully detailed. The fight for survival and the choices that were made came at an ideal pace. Alice's struggle to find who the murderer is of Stories and bring it all to an end is so nicely explored. The reveal of the culprit—while not surprising—is still satisfying to behold. And the little kernel that the (original) Spinner leaves in Alice concerning the third, smaller version of herself is tantalizing. No part of this installment was filler, unnecessary. It brimmed with colorful characters and a dreary stirring deep in the gut that was very à propos to the type of tale that was being weaved. One of the things, however, that I would have liked to see is further interaction between the Stories, and something that was also done in swift passing in The Hazel Wood. It's there, we get snippets, and it is fascinating to behold in the party that Sophia last invites Alice to. But even then, it's fleeting. And while seeing the Hinterland wreak havoc among humans is morbidly entertaining, their interactions with one another happen behind-the-scenes, but not often before us. We can see them in the same room, we know that they live together and hang out together, but we don't know what happens behind those closed doors. I suppose that these are another set of doors which may stay closed to us for good, or that might be opened in the next book. Whatever the case, the mysteries behind them continue to sweetly torment.
gisellsamaniego 20 days ago
A good story that does not quite live up to its predecessor. I enjoyed the writing style, which is very descriptive and engaging. The narrator of the audiobook does a good job with the pace and cadence, bringing the characters and story to life. There was a lot of introspection on the part of the protagonist and the murder investigation subplot, while a bit mundane later becomes important; even so, too little, too late. I wish more time had been expended on delving into some aspects of the story that would have been much more interesting. All in all, a good sequel.
HugsandKissesforBooks 22 days ago
Thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review The Night Country! The sequel to The Hazel Wood has danger, deception, and characters struggling to find purpose in this world. When murders occur, the Ex-story characters try to stick together for safety and strength. Alice feels that she’s being blamed and, after she’s attacked, she vows to capture whoever or whatever is harming others. Mysterious and twisty, The Night Country weaves worlds, characters, and creators into a fight for life, 4 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
NovelKnight 25 days ago
I'm learning that perhaps this series just isn't for me.  After The Hazel Wood, I was intrigued by Albert's dark fairy tale world which reminded me of the original Grimm's tales, but I was over the characters. Specifically Alice. I wasn't a fan of her in the first book and had hoped that this "sequel," The Night Country, would be more of a companion novel featuring a different or side cast. Which I realized wasn't the case when the synopsis dropped. Once again, the story is told by Alice and I couldn't care less about her. After re-reading The Hazel Wood right beforehand as a refresher, I noticed everything I had an issue with came back to her and that, at least, was consistent in The Night Country. I never connected to Alice on any level and couldn't find a reason to want her to succeed. Everything about the story felt fake. Alice. The rest of the characters. All of it came off as a little kid's story trying to play at being adult.  And Alice didn't act so much as react. Most of the plot seemed to happen to or around her, rather than Alice taking charge. By the time she does, I stopped caring. Alice is the same person she was in The Hazel Wood. Hell, the only character that seemed to undergo any sort of character development was Finch and he was the lone bright spot of this novel. I would read about Ellery Finch all day long and he deserved better because even his development was pretty surface level. I'm both annoyed and disappointed by The Night Country. Here we have a series of dark fairy tale-esque stories come to life, the perfect set-up for a dark, atmospheric read. And it all goes to the wayside for a stubborn, bratty protagonist. I don't need her to be likeable but I do need her to be relatable, to connect to the main characters of a book to enjoy it, and I didn't. Character nonsense aside, I felt The Night Country lacked any substantial world-building. At least in The Hazel Wood we were slowly pulled into the Wood and the alternate universe came to life. Here, it's all New York and I didn't get the sense that I was ever there, more like I was looking at postcards or watching scenes from movies that could be in any city. When the Night Country (as in the place in the world) is finally introduced, we're already over halfway through the book. All in all, The Night Country fell flat for me. It wasn't a bad book. It wasn't a great one. I'm not really sure why I tackled it after having mixed feelings about The Hazel Wood but I'm chocking it up to hope that the sequel would be better. If you liked the first book, I think you'll enjoy this one, but if you struggled like I did especially with the characters, I'd pass on The Night Country.
Hilzie 3 months ago
** 4.5 stars ** There are sequels that fall short of the first book; that make you wish that you hadn't continue to follow along with the series, left you with mediocre feelings or wondering why you bothered to read the book in the first place because it was more of a place holder than anything. Well folks, I believe this book is NOT one of those. I actually think it may be better than the first. It gets into the darker aspect of the fairy tales that the first book was lacking. The growth and complexity of Alice's as she interactions with this darker world really shows that teen angst vibe. She is an awkward teen girl who doesn't know her feelings about herself, the world, or others. The are moments when her self-esteem really pushes her difficult situations and she shines through it. But there are still those other times that as a reader, I forget and want to yell "Ugh, why?!?" I am a little sad that there isn't as much about everyone's favorite, Finch in this book. He played such a minor role in the last book, but seemed to impact her so much. I had hoped he would play a more significant part. I won't run it for you. I'll let you decide. Overall, it is a great addition to the series. I hope we more of Finch in the future. ***I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review. ***
TorieStorieS 3 months ago
At first, when I dove into this sequel of The Hazel Wood, I immediately wished that I had taken the time to refresh my memory and re-read the first book. All I really remembered was loving it, but the details had gotten a bit hazy. But, luckily, this sequel isn't one that picks up right after, but some time (about two years) has passed and Albert includes enough reminders that I didn't feel lost for long. In the interim time, Alice has mostly avoided the other ex-Stories in New York City. But when Stories start getting murdered, she is drawn back to them. The beginning of the book feels a little too drawn out which really highlights Alice's lack of both charm and people skills. I really missed the fairy tale aspect of the first book... There are two tales included within this one, which I did enjoy, but wish that there had been more of them! Once Finch's story comes in, the book gets even more interesting! I especially love the letters that make their way to Alice. I also really love Albert's overall writing style and some of her more unique turns of phrase. And I liked the Libertyville shout-out in Alice's mother's phone number - my mother's home phone also started with 549! The ending here feels more complete than the first book - though, I would be quite happy if Albert continues to add onto this world that she has created - though I would be equally excited for a new setting, too! I really enjoyed this one, though I think that I liked the first one more. The Hinterland is inventive and original and I really enjoyed Finch's adventures, too. This a beautiful book and I really liked it a lot!
Yolanda Margolin 3 months ago
2.5 Stars Thank you to Flat Iron Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC. I rated the first book in this series The Hazel Wood, 3 1/2 stars because though the story goes off on an Alice in Wonderland like mind bend, I was still immersed in the mystery that was the Hinterland and The Hazel Wood. It keep me reading and wanting to find out what was going on. Alice has escaped the Hinterland, choosing to go back to New York City and live her life as before. You would think things go back to normal but someone is murdering her ex-Story friends in New York City, but who? This story is a murder mystery with more dark fairy tales to tell. What I Liked: *I will say this about the series in general, both books have amazing book covers so yay to the artist! *Sophia Snow is a new character in this book and I liked her a lot. I also liked learning about her fairy tale, even though it doesn’t come until later in the book. She was Alice’s only friend now that Finch chose to stay in the Hinterland. *The murder mystery kept me interested in this story. It gave me the creepy feeling I had like in the first book, especially the scene on the subway! I liked how the murders was something bigger than just some serial killer on the loose, I liked that twist in the story. *Ellery Finch’s letters were sweet! Maybe because I love Jane Austen but I thought it was quite romantic. As for their relationship, I can’t say there was much to grow on with them being separated and only having the one-sided letters but in the end they are finally in the same world. *This world of The Hazel Wood series is so unique, I love how it’s different and the fairy tales are so dark and scary. I adore that it’s a world of stories and books coming to life, that books are a door…that just got me thinking, yes, yes, YES. I get that so much. I think the concept of the Spinner making and remaking these worlds is so interesting. Things That Made Me Go Hmmm: *Triggers: violence, blood, murder scenes *I wanted to know more about what happened with Ellery Finch and he shows up later in the book. So much later that I thought, he wasn’t going to be in this book at all! By the time we see what he’s been up to, I’ve lost interest. Finch comes back strong in the ending, but by then, I just wanted to finish. *The middle of this story lost me. I was disinterested. I put it down so many times and picked it up, just to get a few pages in but it didn’t grab me. I’m amazed I finished. *The mysteriousness of the first book is gone in this one. The reason I kept reading the first book was because I wanted to know what the Hazel Wood was and if it was real. The Night Country didn’t captivate me like the Hazel Wood did. *I wanted more dark fairy tale stories! Final Thoughts: If you loved The Hazel Wood, you will love The Night Country because there is so much more than just the Hinterlands. The darkness is still there as it seems to always surround Alice, and though I enjoyed the first part of the book, I lost interest in the middle but managed to finish the book. I don’t know if I just needed to be in the mood to read it, but I thought reading The Hazel Wood just recently would have continued my interest in the sequel. That wasn’t the case, but that’s okay, I find this world to be unique, fascinating and dark and I may not love the series but I like it just enough.
Sarahb 3 months ago
Dark and gritty full of twists and turns this book was quite the surprise because I didn't realize there would be a sequel to The Hazel Wood. I found myself swept away by the haunting fairy tale stories of the Hinterland in The Hazel Wood, and in this book it was nice to revisit characters and the feelings the first book evoked. Told after the events of the first book, Alice is adjusting to her life back in the world she was raised and Ellery Finch is lost to another world, having his great adventure. Plagued by a feeling that things are not exactly settled, Alice starts to question the world around her and the world she left behind. Dark, emotional and full of twists, this second book by grabbed me and didn't let me go until its conclusion. I adored the first book but really felt this one was even stronger! Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for your honest opinion.
ruthsic 3 months ago
The way The Hazel Wood ended in its extended epilogue-like conclusion, there was already a setting awaiting for this sequel. Alice, now living with her mother back in her world, is still having ties to Hinterland intact in the form of the friends she made, one of them being Sophia. Like Sophia, many other ex-Stories who have come to this world are adjusting to their new life, while also longing to return back to the Hinterland or something like it, since it is dying. Alice choses to live a 'normal' life - complete school, go to college and stuff, but the other ex-Stories don't approve of her dulling her edges, especially their new charismatic leader, Daphne; they live in New York, but also apart from it. When some of them start getting murdered in mysterious ways, Alice is dragged back into their world. The story starts off with Alice's new life, living apart from the ex-Stories, but still worried that some parts of Hinterland will never leave her. Being a fairly monstrous character in her tale, and having been saved from her fate by Ellery, she wants to bury her propensity for violence. But with a new threat against ex-Stories rising, she feels easier to give in. Her struggle with her nature, an what she is, is done quite well in this book. Further in the novel, Ellery starts coming up with his story, as he travels the Hinterland and beyond, while also questioning why he never felt at home in New York. Fact is, both are sort of yearning for each other, but also remember that their paths had taken different routes. The parts of the bigger picture emerge from both their PoV, as the plot digs deeper into another dark tale about how the worlds are created. The dark fantastical nature of the novel is retained even in a city setting, and the writing creates the tension well, especially in one scary scene on the subway, and one where Alice faces someone from her story. The slow building plot brings us a good conflict, and an antagonist who is much scarier in goals. The ending was nice, and unlike the earlier book, didn't stretch too long, and it feels complete enough, though there are a couple of things unresolved. Overall, it was an immersive and delightful read.
vphillips88 3 months ago
When I read The Hazel woods I loved the fairy story plot and the idea of story characters who are stolen from their world and brought to reality. Continuing in this world is The Night Country an amazing book about what happens to the characters who become a part of existence but still remain ex-story. Sophia is a new character who like Alice is ex-story. She is my favorite of the characters in this book. I love her courage. Alice has found a friend in Sophia but Daphne is not someone to trust. I have to admit I suspected who she was but that did not take away from finding out I was correct. Finch also returns with an incredible character arc that was completely fitting to who he was but also surprising. I always struggle with reviews because I don't wish to spoil the story for readers. I will only say read this book because you will not be disappointed. I can't wait for Melissa Albert's next contribution to the world of fairy stories blended with reality.
MarziesReads 3 months ago
3.5 Stars The Night Country is a better novel than The Hazel Wood in part because we are already familiar with the Hinterland and some of its characters. And we get a few more Hinterland character stories as we see the Hinterland, for want of a better word, collapsing. Alice, the story that escaped, set a precedent. Living in New York City, we see other stories who are now hiding in plain sight but still needing the occasional support group meeting. But when stories start dying, Alice (and Ella) are terrified that Alice could be next. Some of her fellow stories are worried it's actually Alice who is doing the killing. Because some of the victims are frost-damaged and... missing things. But are these murders or willing sacrifices? And what is this rumor circulating on the down-low about a place called the Night Country? If the Hinterland disappears, what will happen to Ellery Finch? And to the Spinner? Melissa Albert continues to have a superb imagination. The pacing in this novel is improved over the first novel and the characters feel richer, in part because we know them better now, but also because I think they are more tightly written. The Night Country is a gritty, dark fairy tale place, and its origins are even darker than the Hinterland's. But I still want a bit depth more from these books. I want more about people being able to author their world. Because that's a message of hope in dark, Night Country-ish times. I received a Digital Review Copy and a paper review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
marongm8 4 months ago
This book was received as an ARC from Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I am a fan of fairy tale books and traveling throughout each story just like the Book Jumper, Inkheart, and Jumanji and this book definitely fit in as well. A lot of our patron did love The Hazel Wood and enjoyed every page and I know they will not be disappointed with The Night Country. This book was filled with action, drama, conflict and excitement that will leave you at the edge of your seat and wanting to jump into the book and take the journey with Finch and Alice in searching for a way back home. Our teen book club will love this book and will read it in one sitting cover to cover. We will consider adding this title to our YFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
DG_Reads 4 months ago
I received a complimentary advance listening copy of THE NIGHT COUNTRY by Melissa Albert. Thank you to Flatiron Books and Libro.FM for the chance to read and review! THE NIGHT COUNTRY is the second book in The Hazel Wood series. Alice is back in New York, but she didn’t return to our world alone. Some of the fairy tale story folk from the alternate world of the Hinterland have come into our world as well. Alice is trying to get back to something close to a “normal” life, but Hinterland’s survivors are beginning to die in dark and mysterious ways and she realizes she may be in danger as well. I don’t want to say too much about this book for fear of giving spoilers for THE HAZEL WOOD, but I loved seeing Alice try to navigate life between the world as we all know it to be and the dark world of fairy tales and worlds beyond. This book brings with it the magic of storytelling and books within a book all of which I really enjoy in my reading. Having read this one entirely on audio, I really enjoyed the narration and felt that it was really well done. The story kept me hooked throughout! If you enjoyed THE HAZEL WOOD I think that this should definitely be on your TBR. If you haven’t read THE HAZEL WOOD yet I would suggest starting there both because it is a lovely read and because it will help you to better understand the history behind this one. If you enjoy a good and dark fairy tale story, then THE NIGHT COUNTRY by Melissa Albert is a wonderful choice.
EmilieSG 4 months ago
I did enjoy the originality and uniqueness of this sequel. I did not enjoy it as much as the first book in the series, but it was still good. It made sense that our heroine would be affected by her time in the Hazel Wood and would have to readjust to her new life. She seemed to make some really strange decisions, though, and several times I found myself wondering, "Why is she doing that?" All in all, I did like this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Hazel Wood.
Kristi_thebookfaery 4 months ago
I loved Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood and I loved The Night Country just as much. Alice and Finch are two of my favorite characters, each for different reasons. Alice, awkward and unsure of herself in any situation, always rises to the occasion, sometimes in a really round-about way but her intent is always true. She has deep questions about who she is and her depth of actual goodness: “To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve even got a soul. If a soul is what makes you human, then I probably don’t. Unless a soul is something you can grow, like, after the fact. And I don’t think it is. So. No Soul.” Finch is complex yet so freaking decent and good. Whatever the worlds throw at him, he always does the right thing - no matter the cost to himself; he’s a hero in The Night Country but won’t realize it. He is adventurous, trustworthy, and just so authentically Finch! The addition of new characters is something I really liked in The Night Country, Sophia, who we meet in the end of The Hazel Wood plays a prominent secondary role and I loved reading about her. She is quirky and odd and wonderful. I loved hearing about all of them! The ex-stories are scattered about and are as interesting and dark in our world as they were in the Hinterland. The story-line is complex and compelling, dark and bloody but there are periods of happiness and light. When the ex-stories and Hinterlanders start to settle in to New York City, they think they are the ones to fear until the strange murders begin. Because of their unique deaths, all start to look suspiciously upon Alice. “We were predators set loose in a world not made to withstand us. Until the summer we became prey.” The worlds that Ms. Albert creates are astonishing and fascinating! Finch is a traveler and I didn’t get to explore as much as I would’ve liked. There were bits and pieces of his travels through the Hinterland and his travels with Iolanthe but I would’ve loved more! Ms. Albert is such a skilled world builder and I hope that there is a third book in this series. I feel like there will be because there’s still so much to explore! And, I want more! More of Alice and Finch, more ex-stories and Hinterlanders, more of the many worlds that lay just beyond! As Finch says: “Jesus, Are all these books doors? To which Io responds, “A book is always a door.” This is one of my favorite series, obviously, and I listened to The Hazel Wood on audio before I started The Night Country and it was just as fascinating as it was the first time I read it. This is a series that I would recommend to any reader who enjoys a good dark fairy tale, a bit of fantasy, or just a really compelling series. I feel like I need to say again that I am HOPEFUL (wishful) for a third book in this series! A big thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books, and Melissa Albert for providing me with a copy of The Night Country in exchange for my honest review.