Book Review: The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood Title

the hazel wood


Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.


At the time of writing this review Goodreads have rated this as 3.68 out of 5

Opening Lines.png

My mother was raised on fairy tales, but I was raised on highways. My first memory is the smell of hot pavement and the sky through the sunroof, whipping by in a river of blue. My mom tells me that’s impossible – our car doesn’t have a sunroof. But I can still close my eyes and see it, so I’m holding on to it.


I don’t know.

I just… I don’t know.

You ever have it happen in life that you’ve done something that’s wrong in the eyes of someone else i.e. your mother and they sit you down and utter that line to you…

“I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed.

That’s how I feel about ‘The Hazel Wood’ – not angry just disappointed. I don’t even think I have the energy to rally up a review of the thing but that could also be because it’s late and I’m tired and newly sun-burnt. Considering as I’m usually pale as f*ck I now look like one of these…


No joke. My arms look like this. I’m wearing a sleeveless wedding dress in two months. My tan lines never fade. If you want to see a hyperventilating book blogger let me know because I’ll film myself and put it on here. It would be funny if I didn’t currently resemble a chewy sweet. It’s ok though, I’ve resigned myself to going to a tanning booth and…

Look, I’m digressing massively. I’m not remotely getting to the point of this which is a review of a book and isn’t it frustrating when something never actually gets to the point of something? I mean for all I know you want to read about my wedding woes and my newly ridiculous burn lines but I suppose you signed up to read about books.

Oh sorry, I’m still not getting to the point am I? I have a tendency to do that. Just go on and on and on and on about something that you don’t really want to hear about. ‘Get to the review,’ I’m sure you’re saying but this build up is good right? You don’t actually want to read my thoughts on a book do you? It’s not actually like I titled this post ‘Book Review: The Hazel Wood’ or anything, is it? It’s not like you actually want to read about ‘The Hazel Wood’ right?


If I followed the actual outline of the book it would be 12 paragraphs of nothing but my tanning stories followed by 1 paragraph of the review.

‘The Hazel Wood’ took forever to get to well, the Hazel Wood. We followed our MC Alice and her friend Ellery (I loosely use ‘friend’) as they set about trying to find and then enter the eponymous Hazel Wood which happens to be Alice’s grandmother’s mystery estate. This felt more like a treasure hunt on acid as they were followed around by all sorts of mysterious baddies and searched for clues to take them to the next clue and so on. This all happens in the mystical and deeply fantastical setting of modern day New York *engage sarcasm mode*.

I don’t mind this type of story but then it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I expected the promised land, the creepy creepy promised land and it didn’t seem like the story was going to get us there until the very last quarter when it did. This should of been interesting, this ‘other’ world where dark fairy tales live and breath and where the characters are real and are forced to perform their roles until they die and are re-birthed and so on.

It was boring.

They finally get to the place we’ve wanting them to get to and it’s actually the dullest part of the entire book. How?! Why?! What happened Melissa? Did you get bored? Did you run out of steam? I need you to answer my many irritating questions!

Let’s just politely say that I felt the pacing was off.

How were our characters? Well everyone else is a bit part player including Alice’s mother. We never know much about her but what we do know is this – Alice and her do love each other very much. I liked that very much.

I didn’t like Alice. Later this week I hope to write up my review of ‘Cruel Prince’ where every character is an unlikeable asshole. But somehow you still like them. Weird, huh? In ‘The Hazel Wood’ Alice is also an unlikeable asshole but I really found I didn’t like her. Maybe it’s because there’s some ingrained part of me that doesn’t like it when people are nasty for the sake of being nasty – she is very mean to her mother and Ellery and she refers to other girls as ‘bitches’ for absolutely no discernible reason. I believe this was to make her seem ‘edgy’ and ‘not like other girls’ which made me seem ‘like I was about to smack my face against my desk’ or ‘vomit in my own socks.’

I liked Ellery though, he didn’t get enough love.

This isn’t a one star review for these reasons:-

The writing has some moments of excellence (but sadly not all the way through) but when it was there, it was there. This really came through in the most original and interesting bits which were the inserted fairy stories.

The concept of ‘The Hazel Wood’ is that Alice’s grandmother wrote a collection of dark fairy tales that people have raved over because there is something deliciously creepy and compelling about them. During the story we get flashes of what these are with one or two told to us. These sections – wonderful. Honestly I enjoyed those very much. In a strange way the author would have been better off just doing a collection of dark fairy tales rather than writing a book about someone writing dark fairy tales.

But she didn’t and we got ‘The Hazel Wood’ and I didn’t put sun-cream on and I got sun-burnt so there we go.

Oh, and apparently now there’s going to be a sequel.

I’m just going to end on this mature note….


My Rating.png

2 Star


23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hazel Wood

    1. I think this had such mixed reviews but I didn’t fully know what to expect when I read it. I agree with ‘meh’ as a description because that’s what it was. I said below but I think this was what pushed me into my slump because it was a chore to read and yet felt like it shouldn’t have been a chore!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ikr? The most boring part of this book was the Hazel Wood, and I came out not angry but just disappointed. Didn’t feel one way or the other about this book because I feel the buildup was great but then it didn’t deliver any moral or climax. *sighs* Great review! I totally felt the same about this book, though I did give it a 4 star rating for the intrigue at the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I just sort of felt it fizzed out. So much time was spent on the build up to the Hinterland and then when they got there it was just… nothing much. If I were to give it a colour I would call it a ‘beige’ book!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uuuuh :S I really hoped this one was good eh. :/ I’m still going to read it though, and if I do not like it – I expect a full account on the tanning lines and how you got rid of them by your wedding date, and of course a review of your wedding and especially of your honeymoon in Hobbiton! Okay I’m digressing too, but I feel if I ever do read this, it will be a 3 star for me, because I’m loose on the stars and always give one extra, so is it worth it ehhh? :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Give it a go! I worry that I am unnecessarily picky at times and rate things a little *too* harshly. I’ve seen a few others give it high ratings and good reviews so I think The Hazel Wood is more about personal taste than anything. I’d love to know what you think so definitely try it out!

      Hahaha! Honestly, I’m someone who should never go out into the sunlight because I never end up ‘sun-kissed’ as much as ‘sun-slapped.’


      1. Maybe I will, but I can see by your reviews that we share quite similar tastes, so I just know it won’t be a 5* read for me, but then again I’m weak on magic and fairy tales haha. 😀 I grew picky in the last couple of years, there’s just too many books out there so I like to avoid trash haha 🙂

        Ohhh, damn, I know that it’s a stereotype that British people are pale and get sunburnt easily but it’s because of the climate you live in I guess. Even I get serious sunburns if I don’t apply the lotion properly, it’s the most horrible pain ever :S

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh I’m totally weak on magic and fairy tales. I would say if you’ve got a huuuuge TBR – like you do!- then don’t rush to prioritise The Hazel Wood.

          Sadly I’m atypical in my family and among friends as its only me and one other person I know that just can’t handle the sun, it’s ridiculous! Everyone rushes outside this time of year and I’m that person that gets all excited when autumn arrives and I can be pale and wear big jumpers once again!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha oh no you’ve seen my tbr 😅 It was 4000+ before I invested several hours to weed it out 😂 I know, it seems like I’ll move it from my urgent tbr to the regular black-hole one 😀

            Hahaha you’ve just described me 😂 Autumn is the best! ❤

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You have the mammoth of all TBR’s! You should have a system in place like a traffic light – red, yellow and green but instead of red being stop it should be ‘go, go, go’ this is a 4* and above book! I’m half tempted to do a Top 3 Books Gerry Recommends Marina Go GO GO post

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Shhhh, not everyone needs to know that hahaha. 😀 Hahahaha, well I devised a system of sorts, with a ‘want to read soon’ list, and a shorter, ‘urgent’ list, while my actual tbr is on pause haha, I do try to remove some books when I get the time, and I’ve dumped a lot. 😀 Hahahah do it 😂 Except three is too few, go for 5 or 10 😀 Or you can sift through my tbr and choose some good ones, though I think you’d collapse midway. 😀

                Liked by 1 person

    1. I did feel like it was very muddled. The hints of the fairy stories – adored it, I wish she had done more of those in just an adults version of dark fairy tales. I think YA is very lucrative and many writers go into that and water stuff down without needing too. The Hinterland portion could of been so promising but it was just….meh. Sadly I think this book pushed me into my slump! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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