Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 328 pages
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 pointed 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, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
Protagonist: Hazel Evans used to hunt monsters with her brother Ben. Except, the things they hunted were far from pretend. When something went awry, they hung up their weapons, and decided to live a different, more normal, life. However life in the small town of Fairfold is anything but normal, and once again Hazel and Ben are drawn into the action. So I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to explain Hazel, as she's not necessarily an ordinary girl, nor is she magical. The thing is though, while this book has a fairly average length to it, and I feel like I know and understand Hazel, there isn't much I can say without spoiling certain parts of the book. Just trust me when I say that this small town of Fairfold and it's inhabitants, regardless of the fact that they live beside Faeries, are not quite what they seem.
Romance: The romance in this book, while a bit complicated, could have been a whole lot worse. Honestly, many times during this book I was expecting some sort of love triangle to fully form as even Hazel herself admits that both she and her brother were in love with the horned boy in the center of the woods, who's name by the way is Severin. Then of course there's the fact that Hazel seems to have her own suitor separate from Severin. Then, however magically, everything sort of clicked into place. The romance in this book is really only small part of the overall story and because of that there really aren't really any romantic angst ridden scenes that other stand-alones or even series would typically have.
World-Building: The world-building in this book is a bit confusing to me, It's established that the locals that live in Fairfold know for certain that the Fae walk amongst them, many have even seen or encountered members of the Fae themselves. There are even tourists that come from far and wide to Fairfold to get even a glimpse of the Fae, however the existence of Fae as anything more than that of folk tale is widely thought of as crazy outside the small town. All of that I can accept, except with there being so many people who believe and an entire town's tourism based upon it, you'd think someone would have gotten some definitive proof. Anyway other than that, the story and the world it was told in were a treat and easily came to life paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence.
Predictability: On the whole this book was fairly predictable. It's was easy to see how certain things were going to go, though from time to time there were some surprises that really got the better of me. The biggest mystery of this book though was the nature of Severin and his own moral compass, should he be a cold and ruthless fae, or te brave and good faerie prince that Hazel and Ben thought him to be at heart. Well, I won't spill the answer, but I will say tat it wasn't quite what I expected.
Ending: The final chapters of the this book were extraordinary, First off, not only did they contain all the action and answers that I had been waiting for, but it also wrapped up the story in such a spectacular way. There is an epilogue, which many if not all of you know that I love, but it's a bit different from your traditional, X amount of time later this happened, sort of epilogue instead it ends like a legend or myth, and ends up fitting perfectly with this wonderful story.
So I thought about this mercilessly, for a while I had it in my head that this was a five star book, and in many ways it is, but while I still love this book and would definitely recommend it to any and all who enjoy Fae lore novels, something is holding me back from giving this book a perfect rating.