Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
Huge thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for this ARC!
Wow. So I’m sorry to say but I went into this comparing it to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I read that last year and it’s my favorite Holly Black book and one of my all-time favorite books. It was also in my top 10 from last year. So this book had a lot to live up to. And it was already below that because I’m not a big fairy fan. Yes, even evil fairies aren’t my favorite (they’re slightly above werewolves, but not by much. Witches, are at the bottom). But I was super intrigued and, hello, Holly Black.
One of the things that I love about Black’s writing is that it feels so damn familiar. I feel like I know her world even thought it’s new, and that the characters are my friends and everything is just… home. I loved Ben and Hazel and their brother/sister dynamic. I loved their relationships and how they both loved the horned boy. I loved Jack and his mysteriousness. I loved the town and how they just accepted the strange and the weird. And I loved how not everybody accepted it DESPITE having proof.
The overall plot and story was beautiful but a little simple, which is where the half a star is lost. There were moments when I knew I should have felt ALL THE FEELS and I just didn’t. The very end though, I totally did there. So that might have been in part that this is a little too short for the story it’s trying to tell (I could have gone for another 50 pages or so) or that I just didn’t connect as fully to the story as I had hoped… but I just wanted more.
Man though, if you love Black’s fairy stuff, then you’ll love this. The writing is gorgeous, the story is beautiful, the fey are evil. I personally just wanted a little more.