The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

by Holly Black


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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they're destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she's found the thing she's been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does...

As the world turns upside down and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316213073
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 01/13/2015
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Holly Black is the bestselling author of contemporary fantasy novels for teens and children, including Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale and the #1 New York Times bestselling Spiderwick series. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award and the Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award. Holly lives in Massachusetts with her husband, Theo, in a house with a secret library. Her website is

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The Darkest Part of the Forest 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
KrisDinnison More than 1 year ago
Holly Black is a master and both rooting her stories in traditional fairy lore and setting them in the modern world in a way that draws readers in and makes them want to stay. And she doesn't shy away from the violence that has always been a part of the interaction between the human and fairy worlds. In this new novel, a brother and a sister are both heroes and victims in their small, Fairy-adjacent town. When people start disappearing, they each use their gifts and their grit to battle both the obvious villains and the more subtle ones of prejudice and fear. Black's characters, setting, and the depth of her understanding of her topic all mix seamlessly to create an enchanting read with some real teeth.
avidreaderMO More than 1 year ago
I was walking through Barnes & Noble carrying a different book when I came upon The Darkest Part of the Forest. I picked it up, read the first paragraph and put the other book down. The first paragraph was magical. I immediately wanted to know everything there was to know about the horned boy in the glass coffin. The journey to find out was exciting and intriguing. I just wish she would've left out the language. My children want to read the book, but I'm torn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Remember the older fairy tales, when the warnings were abundant about how not to trust the fey folk? This tale is of a small town that is living on the boundaries of a faery land. Not quite real, but very real also. The main characters are teenagers very much in the 21st century, but affected by their fey neighbors. There is tension and character development throughout this read. Everytime I picked it up to read, I found it hard to put down. Excellent writing ... and caused me to remember those tales that caution against the fey.
SezjbSB More than 1 year ago
It's hard for me to write a review for The Darkest Part Of The Forest, I didn't hate it nor did I love it, it was more of a meh read for me, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters at all which didn't help, the storyline only seemed to build to anything exciting at the very end and even then it wasn't an edge of your seat kind of action-packed ending. The tone of the book pretty much stayed the same most of the way through, and while I wouldn't say that I was bored reading it I wasn't exactly eager to pick it up once I'd put it down either. I loved the idea of the concept and I really enjoy stories that feature fairies, but it unfortunately wasn't enough to leave me as intrigued and absorbed as much as I wanted to be. This was my first Holly Black book ever, and I've heard so many good things about her writing that I think my expectations were so very high that I hyped myself up a bit too much, however I will give her books another go, the way I look at it the next book I read of hers may just become one of my favorite books, you never know. I still recommend picking this book up, everyone has different tastes and most people that have read this already seem to love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldnt put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Hazel and Ben. Wonderfully written. Definitely recommended! SPOILER It has a GAY romance where no one dies, nor does it heavily rely on someone coming out, nor is it highly sexual. I cannot begin to say how thrilled I am that someone like me gets the "storybook fairytale romance". I rarely find books like that so I always try to tell others when I do!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was lovely
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw thibook when i was in seventh grade. It was in my school library, so i picke it up and checked it out. I liked the begining but was never able to finish it even though i check it out about 20 times. I always got to busy to finish it and ended up checking it back in. I wish i could read it and finish it for once.
MyndiL More than 1 year ago
This book was far more intense than I expected it to be upon reading the synopsis. From kids who have parents who let their kids run wild to the point of being dangerous, to fairies in the woods who steal babies and kill tourists. The main characters of this story are two siblings who have involved themselves in the fairy world from very young ages. Also, we have siblings who shouldn't have been siblings at all. Jack was one of my favorite characters. Jack is Fae but lived among the human population of the town. The story will take you on an adventure with these characters to the heart of the forest to fight the fae, to help some of the fae, to save a town. You will be scared by the monster, mourn for what is lost, and root for our unlikely heroes. If you enjoy fairy stories and paranormal romance, you will truly love this enchanting story.
Taylor_FrayedBooks More than 1 year ago
This was not a good read for me. I feel like it was so short and so rushed. I wanted to know so much more by the end and I had so many more questions that weren't answered. The plot of the book is good and I gave it 2 stars because I think the details that were elaborated on were very good and interesting to keeping the plot alive. But, it just wasn't enough to really keep me hooked on every page and I felt myself dragging through this book. I did enjoy the inclusion of an LGBT character and liked how that developed.
Morgan_S_M More than 1 year ago
In some ways this was just what I wanted and expected, and in other ways it wasn't enough. I really enjoyed the setting and the unusual way the town interacted with the fae. I, of course, LOVED the fairy prince in the glass coffin and the fact that he had been there for generations. I also loved learning about Hazel and Ben's childhood and their adventures in the forest. But something was missing for me. The first half was slow and meandering, a little confusing with the constant flashbacks, but set up some interesting mysteries. The second half felt like it tried to solve them too quickly and went too fast; the pacing was off. I was also very frustrated by Ben and Hazel's lack of communication with one another, which they found out to their detriment. That being said, I enjoyed the story. I really liked Jack. And I loved Severin, as well as the very swoony kissing scenes. He was so intriguing and the thought of someone knowing all of my secrets? Guh. Ironically there wasn't a lot of romance beyond that and I really didn't connect with any of the characters, or completely understand the Alderking's plot. But I absolutely adored the last paragraph of the epilogue, so fantastic. And I'd like to read more set in this Faerie world. In some ways this felt like a less polished, younger version of Uprooted mixed with The Treachery of Beautiful Things (both of which I loved). I'm glad I read this and it was a deliciously atmospheric read for October- I just wanted a little more out of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The whole first chapter is about promiscuous high schoolers and intros the main character, Hazel as a girl who will kiss anyone as a coping mechanism. By the time you're worn out on that scenario a new chapter begins and now the author seems to remember this book promised faeries. This book feels like it was written in very different pieces and then hacked together with flashbacks and questions about what is real. I didn't find any of the characters authentic, just confusing, and cliche. The representation of Ben, the gay brother is very stereotypical. It's a choppy read with a non-surprising outcome and an even more ridiculous last chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decent read but agree with some other reviewers that there are some choppy transitions. Also, characters had many strange inconsistencies in type.
bookharpy More than 1 year ago
While not very thought provoking, Holly Black's writing is engaging and lures in the readers. Some thing that was really unexpected for me was the time and setting. From the summary, I thought it was in some small peasant town in a medieval type setting. However, it is based in a small modern day town equipped with public school and a coffee shop. It was an pleasant surprise. Then there is the fae themselves. As any fantasy lover knows, the fae change so much from author to author and series to series. Black's version was beautifully crafted in the originally conceived fae. Some are captivating in their beauty while others are dangerous and creepy looking. They are dark and sinister, cunning and manipulative. No glamorizing (pardon the pun) them from the author. There is also some coming of age to the story for Hazel mostly. She has a secret she is keeping from everyone in the hopes of protecting her family and friends and their feelings. She has a strong character that matures over the course of the book. Let's just say this is really worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Riveting tale for all girls who believe in love and magic, but will never be a damsel in distress.
Adriyanna More than 1 year ago
The Darkest Part of the Forest is a beautifully crafted work. With faeries and knights, it can really be compared to a fairy tale. I love how detailed the world and its creatures were; it brought out a desire to experience it firsthand. I like the way Arthurian legends were incorporated into the book so that Hazel and her brother Ben were truly living them. It was really ingenious! The town. I like how Fairfold is privy to the Fae’s activities, knowing they exist and not just playing the part of superstitious townsfolk. At this point, I was curious of the world outside Fairfold – whether it too was like this. It seems my wish was granted. When Hazel experiences a life outside of Fairfold, she realizes not all towns are like this one – monsters and magic exist simply for children. For the most part, the reader experiences this world through Hazel’s eyes, but the POV does change. Although I noticed the change in personalities, their voices did not stand out individually. This was one of the few flaws I had with the book. Hazel goes through a lot of character development. She is engaged in an internal battle with herself. She keeps a lot of secrets from her friends and family, and her struggles with this make her very real. I like how when her bad decisions get her into trouble, she realizes it when it’s too late. I was able to connect with this part of her and even though I didn’t like her in the beginning, she really grew on me. Overall, Holly Black has created this perfect blend of story-telling – one that I love reading. This is the first work I’ve read of the author and definitely plan to read her other works – having fallen in love with the way she spins magic and ink together.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Couldn't stand the main character, found her "quirkiness" to be irritating and hard to care about. The story overall was a cool concept, but I just didn't fall for the way it was done. Maybe it'll be your cup of tea instead, but not mine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, well-thought out, and nicely plotted.
Jessica_Peterson More than 1 year ago
Filling the category “A Library Book” in my Full House Reading Challenge. As most reviewers say, the books that are just ‘good’ are the hardest to review. Did I enjoy The Darkest Part of the Forest? Sure. Holly Black has a way of creating settings and characters that’s almost intoxicating. But I don’t really have ton to say about it. I don’t really feel strongly about much in the book. Should you read it? Probably. It’s a very well written book with solid characters and a very interesting plot. But did I love it? Not really. Characters: I didn’t really connect with the characters in this book. They were likable, sure. I wanted to know what happened to them. I wanted them to succeed, but I wasn’t really connected with them. Hazel: She’s a strong heroine; I didn’t love her, but she didn’t back down from a fight, and she wasn’t a damsel in distress. She has a conflict later on that I found absolutely brilliant. Her relationship with Faerie is probably the best part of the book. Ben: As a gay character, he struggles with that storyline, and being in love with the horned boy in the glass coffin, but the one I found more interesting was his struggle with music. He is blessed (or cursed) with the gift of music by the fae when he’s a baby, and it affects his entire life. In good and bad ways. Jack: I wanted more from Jack. As a changeling, I kept wanting more magic, more intrigue from him. He was sweet, and yet you were never quite sure what was motivating him, or where his loyalties really lay. Severin: The horned boy in the glass coffin. I wanted more from his character as well. He wasn’t really likable, and for his and Ben’s story to really have resonance, I wanted to see more scenes with the two of them. Plot: It’s rare to find a stand alone these days in Young Adult, but Holly Black is quite exceptional at it. In The Darkest Part of the Forest, she creates a believable town trying to coexist with the Fair Folk. Faeries are dangerous, wild creatures, living in and around the town of Fairfold, the most famous of which is the horned boy in the glass coffin. Hazel and her brother Ben know more about the Fair Folk than most. When things start getting weird, like Hazel waking up in her bed, her feet covered in mud, strange names scrawled on her windowsill, they turn to the Fae for answers. Some of the twists in this book are brilliant; I loved the faerie’s involvement with Hazel and her brother. A monster is terrorizing Fairfold, and Hazel seems to be the only one who can figure out what’s going on. The way the book is written, with one chapter in the present, and the next sharing important information from the past, is interesting for a while, especially when you are first getting to know the characters, but when the plot starts picking up, it’s annoying. I wanted to focus on the plot, and Holly Black kept jumping back to some event in the past, and even though it was vital information for the present, I wished it hadn’t been organized like that. Romance: The romance in this book wasn’t the most important storyline, which, in a story like this, is appropriate. Hazel and Jack are the typical, girl in love with her brother’s best friend. I actually found Ben and Severin’s relationship almost more interesting, and wanted to see more scenes with them. Hazel and Jack would have been interesting to follow into Faerie, but there weren’t as many opportunities for that as I wanted. I feel like this may have been because Jack’s character
Asand More than 1 year ago
I love Holly Black!!!!! I mean how can you not love her?? She takes these simple concepts, like fairy tales, that we have all read growing up and she flips them upside down to create something all new.  And scary.  I always feel so free and sophisticated reading her books; which I know doesn't make sense.  But her books just gives me these awesome feelings when I get immersed in her world building. The Darkest Part of the Forest is simply beautiful!  I find myself slipping into my childhood memories wandering around in the woods behind my parents' house.  I remember pretending to  battle evil forces while riding my pretend white stallion as I rescued everyone that needed it.  Relating so strongly to the premise of this story, I found myself trying to savor each and every part of the story.  But being that I love the story so much I actually ended up reading through it within two days.  Holly Black does this amazing job of developing characters that can be so complex; so intriguing you wish they were real.  I adore Hazel and Ben; I think Jack is Prince Charming in a nutshell; and the Horned Boy is eerily seductive and mysterious.  She has this immense imagination and comes up with such creative creatures that it is hard not to wish there really was a Fairfield where magic happens all the time.  Black makes magic seem like it really can come true; even if it contains more of a darker side to it.  Besides doing a fantastic job of creating characters, Black has this incredible talent to paint a world that seems so real as if you could just reach out and touch it.  Her storytelling skills is unparalleled.  Through her imaginative storytelling she is able to make the words on the pages come to life and adds a more intimate dimension to the story. The Darkest Part of the Forest channels some of our basic imaginations concerning fairy tales but then it delivers something else entirely.  It gives us the allure of the magic; but it also forces us to see the darkness the power can bring as well.  I love this book and I honestly wanted to read more and more with these characters.  I really hope that Ms. Black will take us back to Fairfield one more time in the future.  It is definitely a magical experience. 
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
I have loved author Holly Black’s novels ever since I first read her modern faerie tale novels years ago. They were my first taste of urban fantasy and got me hooked on her writing. About a year ago I had the opportunity to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown which was not only fantastic but also one of my favourite reads ever. Getting to read The Darkest Part of the Forest had me jumping for joy with excitement. Returning to her world filled with terrifying faeries in the form of a small town filled with the fay was something that I just couldn’t pass up. The Darkest Part of the Forest tells the story of siblings Hazel and Ben who have grown up in a small town where the existence of faeries and magic is commonplace. Before his birth Ben received a gift from a faerie to be musically inclined and has been an amazing musician ever since. Meanwhile Hazel, his younger sister, has been about as average as can be. She lives recklessly. Leaving no stone unturned and no boy un-kissed. Deep within the forests near their town is a boy in a coffin who hasn’t been woken up for decades. Everyone in town adores him. Hazel and Ben especially. He’s their prince and the last thing they expect is for him to wake up. Paired with a boy who isn’t at all what he seems, Hazel is told by the boy in the coffin—or Severin—that a wicked entity is about to be unleashed on her hometown. The only way to stop it? To become the knight she has always dreamed of being. I had a few problems with The Darkest Part of the Forest that I haven’t had before with Black’s novels. The first being the constant shifting in the novel. We are originally introduced to Hazel and Ben and told about their closeness as siblings. They are practically each other’s best friends. However about a quarter through the novel we are abruptly notified that Hazel and Ben also partook in certain activities that allow the plot to move along. There were a lot of sudden stop-and-go changes that occurred throughout the novel and left my mind reeling. All of this new information took away from pacing in spite of how beautifully these scenes were written. I enjoyed the characters in the novel a lot. Like always, Black writes strong female characters who push the story forward. I feel that a lot of teen readers will be able to relate to the character Hazel as well as Ben, a queer character. Severin was my personal favourite in the story. The boy in the coffin with horns who is mysterious and described in a way that made me feel like one of those heart-eye emojis. What did shock me a bit about Severin’s character was how quick he was to kiss characters. I’m all for sudden romance to be included in the story, but the side-plot involving romantic aspects felt unrealistic even or a novel about faeries. The Darkest Part of the Forest has a story that I think readers will be able to appreciate and remember. The story is unique and dark, something unsurprising for Black’s work. Any readers who are new to Black’s stories will definitely enjoy her prose and creativity. I’m looking forward to what she’ll come up with next. I would recommend this novel to readers who are fans of Holly Black’s previous novels as well as fans of Cassandra Claire and her The Mortal Instruments series. Readers who enjoy novels about faeries and the supernatural/paranormal should also give this a read. Anyone looking for a novel to pass the time with or a memorable read should also check out The Darkest Part of the Forest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love love love it
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"But in all the stories, you have a single chance; and if you miss it, then it's gone. The door isn't there when you go back to look. There is no second invitation to the ball" Hazel has always known that life in Fairfold is different from the glass coffin that houses a sleeping prince to the strange things that are known to happen to tourists. She has always known the the fairies that live around Fairfold can be as lethal as they are charming; that they will just as soon kill a human as they will bargain with one. Even then, knowing the dangers, Hazel finds herself drawn to the dark things that lurk outside of Fairfold. With a sword and her brother Ben by her side, Hazel hoped once to become a knight and hunt the monsters that lurked in the Fairfold woods. But Ben put a stop to that. Seven years ago Hazel made a bargain to try and fix things. To get back the life she thought she wanted. But that fell apart as well. Now Hazel kisses boys with wild abandon and has fun, hoping to shore up enough in reserve for the day it all might be lost to her. But the payment for Hazel's bargain is coming due and time is running out for regrets or preparation. That is until the coffin in the woods is broken and the prince, who has been there for as long as anyone can remember, disappears. Until Hazel wakes up in her bed surrounded by dirt and pieces of broken glass with no idea how to fix anything in The Darkest Part of the Forest (2015) by Holly Black. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a fresh-faced fairy story where the fairies are as as entrancing as they are dangerous. Black once again delivers a thoughtful, intricate story of magic and identity in this smartly modern tale. The Darkest Part of the Forest takes traditional fairy tale tropes (not to mention gender roles) and turns them on their heads as this story infuses familiar lore with new twists and turns. Hazel, in particular, is a stunningly authentic and multi-faceted heroine. She is flawed and impulsive. She is genuine and kind. This story expertly negotiates exactly what agency and identity really mean not just for a girl in a small town but also for a girl with a self-proclaimed charge of saving that town. There are other relationships in this story that are equally well done. Hazel and Ben come to understand each other as equals and family for perhaps the first time while both also come to terms with a less-than-idyllic upbringing. There is romance for both Hazel and Ben in unlikely places. This novel also wonderfully examines the nature of family and the ramifications that come when people decide to choose their own--even if it is just for a time. Throughout the quests, the adventures, and the reconciliations, Hazel remains firmly grounded at the center of this plot. Her growth, particularly in the second half of the novel, is phenomenal as the narrative explores what it means to truly know oneself and trust oneself after years of doubt. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a wonderful fantasy but where it really shines is as the sensational story of a girl who not only finds her place in the world but also finds herself when she chooses to face the darkness in herself as well as in the forest. *A copy of this book was acquired from the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2014*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had no idea who the target reader was for this story but I was curious and reviews were pretty good so I gave it a try. Loved it! I am a fairy voracious reader and have my own fantasy novel in the works, but Holly Black taught me a thing or two. Her imagination is teeming with great details - I would love for this to be converted to film!
Berls More than 1 year ago
You ever see a book and just know you have to read it, based on the cover alone? And then you find out what it's about and you realize you were right? It is a book MADE for you? That's me and The Darkest Part of the Forest. When I first started reading The Darkest Part of the Forest it surprised me. For some reason after reading the synopsis, I thought this was going to be a historical fantasy world. I don't know if that's what you are expecting - but that's not it at all. No this is our world. And not really even a different version of our world. Its just that in this one little town - Fairfold - most people know that the Fae are real and very present. It's good for their tourism - kind of surprisingly since the tourists are the ones most hurt by the Fae. But one of the main attractions is a boy, sleeping (not dead, though how they know that I have no idea) in a glass coffin - an unbreakable, glass coffin. He's a point of interest for tourists and locals alike - a focal point for teenage parties. But two people in the town - siblings Hazel and Ben are OBSESSED with the boy. But then Hazel and Ben aren't quite normal anyway. The way Holly Black wrote Hazel and Ben is probably my favorite part of The Darkest Part of the Forest. Hazel - not Ben - dreams of being a knight. Not a princess, but a knight. LOVE IT! Who says every little girl wants a princess dress, right? And Hazel holds onto those dreams as she grows up and even though she struggles for various reasons, she hasn't lost that part of herself. And Ben, well he basically is the one who dreams of being the princess (so to speak). He's not a fighter - he's sensitive and has a a musical gift/curse. Who says every boy has to dream of being a knight? LOVE IT! Better yet, Ben is openly gay and through him we get a sweet romance. I loved the sibling part of the story - probably because I see a lot of my brother and myself in Hazel and Ben. I want to take care of everyone and protect them and he's always been more (seemingly) carefree and light. I think The Darkest Part of the Forest was a great story, from the fantasy and action to the relationships. The mystery was interesting and had a couple twists I didn't see coming. And I just loved the use of a small town that's supposed to be part of our world but sits somewhere on the fringe. A great book to pick up and start 2015 right!