I’ve been in love with meta-storytelling at the latest since Shakespeare’s prologue to Henry V. So when Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood was published, I couldn’t have been more excited! I enjoyed her take on stories breaking free of their pre-determined paths, and taking over the ‘real world’ as it were, but I didn’t fall in love as much as I was expecting to. Still, I jumped at the chance to review book two for Penguin UK, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for the opportunity!
RELEASE DATE: 09/01/2019
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SYNOPSIS: Alice has fought hard for a normal life. Having escaped the Hinterland – the strange, pitch-dark world she was born into – she has washed up in New York City, determined to build a new future for herself.
But when her fellow survivors start being brutally murdered, Alice must face the fact that the Hinterland cannot be so easily escaped. And that, from the shadows of her past something – or someone – is coming for her…
OPINIONS: While the characters in book one seemed to fall a bit flat, Alice in the Night Country developed more depth and humanity – which made a lot of sense with the story development. The more time the story characters from the Hinterland spent in the ‘real’ world, the more especially Alice assimilated and grew, even if not all of them fit in very well. The relationships are depicted poignantly, using very few words, showing rather than telling. The growth in craft between Melissa Albert’s first and second books is clear and admirable!
I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story, which was extremely well crafted, with reveals that made sense in the context of the story, but were not immediately obvious to the reader from the get-go. I do have one caveat, my pet peeve, where characters were being secretive to protect others they care about, and as soon as they opened up, things became a lot clearer as information was shared.
Also the Night Country is way too creepy. I don’t mean the book, I mean the concept. Trust me. Read the book and tell me I’m wrong. Add it on Goodreads, and pre-order it from Book Depository or your retailer of choice!