Alice has spent most of her life on the road, always one step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at her heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her isolate estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice discovers how bad her luck can really get.
Her own mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the supernatural world where the fairy tales are set. Alice’s only clue is the message left behind:
STAY AWAY FROM
THE HAZEL WOOD.
To rescue her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began…
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did… The synopsis sounded perfect! Creepy, mysterious, full of fairy tales… Just something I was sure I would like, but unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as it sounded like.
Basically, in this story, we start by getting to know a bit of Alice, her mother Ella, and her grandmother Althea Proserpine, whom she never knew, and who wrote a book full of dark fairy tales called Tales from the Hinterland, that was extremely popular when released.
Since she was little, she remembers always being on the run with her mother. Apparently, wherever they went, they were followed by bad luck, which Ella blamed Althea for, because of the book she wrote.
Until one day, Ella is kidnapped. Alice, desperate and believing her grandmother’s book has something to do with it, teams up with Ellery Finch, who is a big fan of Tales from the Hinterland. She uses his knowledge of the stories and the whereabouts of Hazel Wood to try to find Ella.
The main problem I had with this book was that it bored me. The plot wasn’t strong enough to keep me interested. It took forever to develop and the main character got on my nerves every 5 seconds of the way. It was supposed to be creepy and exciting but nothing much happened until 3/4 of the way, which is a bit too far in for me to enjoy.
Also, the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland might have not helped. But hey, I came for the darkness I was hoping to get after reading the synopsis. And to be honest, after reading this book, it does have a lot of similarities with Alice, but that wasn’t the only reason why I didn’t particularly like this book… I just really hoped it had more creepiness and darkness other than in the tiny fairytales that appeared occasionally. And those tales I actually really enjoyed!
The big plus in this book are the short fairy tales. I absolutely loved them. They were creepy and sometimes even scary; dark, creative, and just right up my alley! But not really enough to turn this book amazing. Other than the tiny fairy tales, nothing else really made an impact on me. Mainly because although the story is interesting, the pace was awful – sometimes it didn’t develop for ages and other times some things just happened out of nowhere; the characters weren’t particularly interesting or memorable – for example, Alice was basically a mean girl, which normally would attract me, but didn’t; the plot took ages to develop and lastly it wasn’t gripping at all.
This was just not the book for me, it didn’t pick up my interest in anything else other than the short fairy tales, which I loved. If you like Alice in the Wonderland tho, you will probably like this, it has the same type of poetic writing and a lot of nonsense. Overall I just was hoping for more darkness and excitement than I got.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!