This book follows the story of Alice who has been moving around her whole life with her mum Ella trying to outrun the bad luck that plagues them constantly. That is until Alice’s grandmother a reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood and Ella proclaims that they are free. Or are they?
The first half of the book I really enjoyed. The build-up of anticipation and tension really set the scene for the book and kept me on the edge of my seat. But the second half was a little disjointed and was a bit of a letdown. It got a little too fantastical all at once and I was a little lost in the woods. Had there been a little more information given about the Hazelwood prior to them actually entering might of made me appreciate the setting a bit more. But how it was kind of told just made me a bit confused and not really connected to what was happening.
I did enjoy the kind of mystery aspect surrounding what Althea had written, that component really intrigued me and had me wondering about what she encountered when she went missing. I like that we only got inserts from the book by Finch and how elusive it was to actually hold and read it.
Alice isn’t a favourite female protagonist of mine but I did appreciate how protective of her mother she was. How she would truly do whatever was necessary to try and find her and get her back even putting herself in danger was really courageous. But I liked the fact that she still kept secrets from her mother and tried to find out about her grandmother and the Hinterland. She was just a bit too standoffish and cold (lol) for my liking for me to personally warm to her as a character, but in the end it did make sense so that made me appreciate her.
This book is actually quite dark and a little bit macabre, the pacing was pretty fast but there were a few lulls in the plot and at times I did find myself a little confused but I pushed through and did get it in the end. The premise was very different and unique but I thought the execution and the twist wasn’t explosive enough for me.
⭐️3/5 Intriguing, dark and a little strange…