**** (4 out of 5) · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

The Hazel Wood – Guest Review

If you follow my blog regularly you may have noticed me talking about my friend Phil.  He is one of my best friends and one of three people that I know in real life that know about my blog.  Plus, he is the only person, outside of my blog, that I talk about books with on a regular basis! He was the one that told/asked me to read the Hazel Wood, so its only fair that he has to write a guest review! So without further ado, here is

Phil’s Review of The Hazel Wood


To give some context, I really love dark fairy tales. I love the idea of taking sweet, pleasant stories that we typically tell to children, and turning them on their head with murder and mystery. It’s why I love the the show Grimm, the graphic novel series Fables and its spin off game, The Wolf among us. Its probably why I have such a soft spot for this book.

First, let me get out of the way what me and Brittany both agree on. The pacing is terrible! The beginning was way too slow and the ending way too fast. It felt as if the author was trying to hold back the intriguing mysteries of the story and forgot about a compelling beginning. The only argument I can make for the fast dizzying pace towards the end, would be that it was made to match the setting of the later half of the book. I also agree, to a lesser extent, with her point on how relationships play out in the book.

So why did I still love this book? It’s hard to fully describe without spoilers but I will try. To me (pacing aside) it was a hauntingly beautiful book. The love her mother had for her and all the trouble she went through for Alice made the stakes compelling. Alice’s growth and struggle to fight a possibly tragic destiny was the biggest draw for me. I personally hate the idea of fate or destiny. Like all the best dark fairy tales, The Hazel Wood has a great mix of beauty and tragedy.

I completely understand why some people didn’t like this book, but to me it hit a soft spot with the emotional punches it landed. Overall I have to give the book 4 stars. It would have been higher with a more compelling start and better pacing throughout.

9 thoughts on “The Hazel Wood – Guest Review

  1. Brittany: Thanks for getting Phil to write a review! It’s great to compare both of your thoughts. How do you like working with a guest blogger?

    Phil: Thank you for coming and sharing your thoughts! I love the phrase “hauntingly beautiful”. I don’t think enough haunting things are described that way. I am with you that destiny and prophecy are overdone and a bit… exhausting… in fantasy. But, fighting against destiny can be so powerful for the reader! Can you think of other books which you’d describe as “hauntingly beautiful” or in which the protagonist fights against their destiny? I’d love some new recs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if working with Phil is a good test of working with guest bloggers in general because we are such good friends. I just had him e-mail me his review and then I wrote and intro and posted it. We talk about books all the time and we have similar tastes in what we like to read but our opinions are usually very different. I love it when we read the same book because then we get to compare what each of us thought!


    2. I know graphic novels arent for everyone but the series monstress really jumps out to me. Its about a young war refugee who has a powerful demon trapped inside her and it’s all about fighting her destiny of becoming a weapon of war. The art is definitely what I would consider hauntingly beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Phil! I love your namedrop of The Wolf Among Us. It’s one of my favourite Telltale games. 🙂 I’ve been a little leery about picking up the book because I’d heard it takes place in the modern world, and I’d initially assumed it was a portal fantasy. But I do find the “tragic destiny” part very intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally get what you’re saying I personally dont like portal fantasies usually because they feel like theres no consequences but this felt different to me. So I’d still reccomend it

    Liked by 1 person

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