Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (light spoilers)

This book was solidly okay. I’m a little surprised I even finished it, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I listened to it as an audiobook and I end up DNFing most audiobooks. I usually get bored and stop listening. If I’m going to listen to someone talk, I would rather listen to a podcast because the hosts are usually more dynamic and the content that they are sharing is easier to absorb in 30-45 minute segments. That being said, I have a bad habit of downloading audiobooks through my library because I like the idea of audiobooks, and then I never listen to them. If anyone knows how to solve my listening problem, please pass along advice. The narrator for this audiobook is Rebecca Soler, who also narrated Sadie by Courtney Summers. Soler was a great choice of narrator, because she’s so good at conveying the emotions of an angry teen girl. 

As for the story itself, the first half(ish) of the novel was my favorite. I enjoyed it enough that I kept listening. The writing was engaging, I was interested in the character of Alice, and the story was a bit suspenseful. One of the things I appreciated about this novel is that even though the two main characters show some level of attraction towards each other, there is no forced romance. 

Now for some things I didn’t like. After Alice gets to the Hinterland (or Hazel Wood? I’m still not clear which is actually the fairytale land), the story gets so much less interesting. I can’t really pinpoint why, but I wasn’t very invested after that point. It was around this time that I started to notice the excessive use of similes and metaphors. There were so many that the descriptions stopped making sense. I don’t know if I noticed this because I was starting to get fed up with the story and it had been going on all along or if the writing changed dramatically after that point in the novel. Also, I wanted the story to be more high stakes. At one point one of the main characters dies suddenly, and then it turns out he isn’t dead! Because no one dies in “the stories!” Ugh. In the end everyone got what they wanted, except for me. 

If you’ve read The Hazel Wood, let me know what you thought!

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  1. I also did the audio for Hazelwood but DNF. I didn’t hate the first half but it wasn’t interesting enough for me.

    Try some non fiction audiobooks. They tend to be an easier segue if you are already used to listening to podcasts.

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