Alice has spent most of her life on the road, always one step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at her heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her isolate estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice discovers how bad her luck can really get.
Her own mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the supernatural world where the fairy tales are set. Alice’s only clue is the message left behind:
STAY AWAY FROM
THE HAZEL WOOD.
To rescue her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began…
This seems to be a bit of a love or hate book, so I feel a bit confused to be stuck in the middle!
I loved the first 150 pages or so, probably a bit more. I just really enjoyed the concept of Alice and Ella, running away from bad luck, and with this fairytale world sort of chasing them. I liked the way it spilled into the real world, dark and twisting. I was less keen on Finch and his twenty million surnames and less than clear motivations. But I really liked how it started.
When it moved more towards them figuring out what was going on, and the hazel wood and Hinterland, I liked it less. Ironically, I think I’d have liked a story solely set there! I think I just couldn’t quite follow some of what was going on well enough. A lot of the information you needed to figure it out came later, which I understand but made it harder.
However, I loved the end again! I really loved the spinner and Alice sort of realising things a bit too late. And I like how the ending played out. I often enjoy things that are a little dark and murky and unclear. 🙂
So I give this 3.5 stars for a great start and good end, but less fond of the late middle 😂