Book Talk with Harleigh Wiesenbach: The Darkest Part of the Forest

By Features Editor Harleigh Wiesenbach

  The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black is almost like a fairy tale--or should I say faerie tale? The setting takes place in a town called Fairfold, and in this town faeries and humans live together in almost harmony. It’s also a place of tourism, and deep in the forest the greatest attraction is a horned boy sleeping in a glass coffin. Siblings Hazel and Ben Evans used to tell stories of this horned boy when they were little: how he was their prince and that they always had to either rescue or stop him as a knight and bard. They eventually grew out of this, like all children do, but what happens when the horned boy sleeping in a glass coffin finally awakens? What happens when Hazel and Ben get wrapped up in the mess?

  I was drawn between giving this novel either a three or four stars out of five, and as I thought about it I became inclined to give it closer to a four. So for a rating, think like a 3.8. This was my first time reading Holly Black’s writing and I found it quite enjoyable along with the plot and all of the characters.

  The first thing I noticed was the world-building. Fairfold is set in modern times within modern places (Philadelphia is mentioned a few times), but it’s like it’s own little world in itself. Magic exists there. Faeries walk among the people. It’s a modern fantasy without being a modern fantasy, if that makes sense. It feels kind of like a different time there, where people believe in superstitions and are warned what to do and not to do around the faeries if you were to ever come across one. Another thing that interested me about the world was all the lore around the faeries and the superstitions around them. There’s such a mystery around them, it’s hard to explain without spoiling some of the book.

  Another plus in the novel was the destruction of stereotypes. I won’t get into it too much due to spoilers, but I will say it’s very pleasing and leaves you to expect the unexpected. I wouldn’t say The Darkest Part of the Forest is completely unpredictable and has a twist at every turn, but it had its moments.

  The plot was also a very interesting, and was full of mystery. Why did the horned boy wake up? What do Hazel and Ben have to do with all of this? Is this a part of something bigger? It definitely keeps you reading and wanting to know more.

  The whole reason between why I was stuck between three and four stars was because this was a novel I really enjoyed. However, it was not one of my most favorite novels for me to give it a four stars.

  Overall, I would recommend The Darkest Part of the Forest to anybody who loves fantasy or would like to get into fantasy. There is not a huge new world that might confuse readers who don’t normally read fantasy, and it was easy to follow as well as read. As for previous fantasy lovers, it’s a nice break from huge fantasies and still a very enjoyable, magical read. Holly Black’s novel was a mysterious, fantastical novel all together, and I would definitely recommend.

  Hello! I’m Harleigh Wiesenbach and this is my second year as features editor on the Montour Monitor. My sophomore year I worked on the centerspread each month as the centerspread editor, so I’m no stranger to the newspaper staff. Unfortunately, this is my senior year, but I plan on making it amazing by working hard on our issues each month and making as many new ideas get put into action as possible! So keep an eye out for all of our work; we really work hard each month to make sure we produce great daily articles and amazing monthly issues on our website.

  Not only am I involved with my school’s newspaper, I’m also a member of Poetry Club, Lost Arts Club, Girl Up, GSA, and Stand Together as well as play trumpet in marching band. Based on that, I’m sure that you can figure out that I’m a huge fan of poetry, although I love to read books as well. My favorite genre is modern fantasy but I’ll read just about anything. My favorite series is The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Other than reading, I also love to knit, draw, and write in my free time.

  Another passion of mine is mental health. I want to be a type of psychologist/therapist once I graduate, although I’m not 100% sure what type as of yet. I love helping others, especially when it comes to cheering them up and talking about their issues.

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