This week I listened to the audiobook version of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest, and I found myself listening to it outside of work hours because I was so eager to finish it.
One of Black’s real talents, which is definitely on display in other books such as the White Cat novels and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, is her ability to take large scale fantasy and tuck it into the modern world in a way that is, pardon the pun, downright magical.
That is especially true of this book – Black somehow, and as a writer I envy this in a big way, manages to work a traditional quest to Faerie into the life of a seemingly regular teenage girl. What’s so remarkable about this is that she does it without losing any of the relatability of her main character or any of the wonder and terror of her fantastical elements.
Yes, there’s a monster-fighting sequence in a high school that reminds me, and not in a good way, of a lost episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that was one of very few missteps in an otherwise well-crafted story.
Black’s work can sometimes be a little too dark for me, but this book, oddly enough given its title, seemed a lot less grim. I see this book being referred to as a standalone novel – but if Black decides to write a sequel I’d be more than happy to follow her characters, especially Hazel and Jack, on another trip to the forest.