Series: The Hazel Wood #2
Author: Melissa Albert
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Fantasy; Young Adult
Publisher/Publication Date: Flatiron Books; January 7, 2020
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
The highly anticipated sequel to Melissa Albert’s beloved, New York Times bestselling debut The Hazel Wood!
In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang. With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home...
From here on out, there may be spoilers for The Hazel Wood. So if you haven’t read it, click away from this post. You have been warned. :-)
Alice Proserpine thought she was done with the Hazel Wood and the Hinterland since she escaped her story at the end of the first book. However nothing was as it seemed, and the mystery of the ultimate fate of the Hinterland and the enigmatic and malevolent Spinner brought trouble right back into Alice’s life. Alice’s character arc was great. It was one of my favorite aspects about The Night Country. I liked how Albert dealt with Alice’s transition from story to ex-story and addressed her conflicting emotions about everything that had happened to her while also exploring the platonic and romantic relationships in her life.
Most of the story was told by Alice, but I didn’t mind the dual perspectives. It was interesting to see what was going on from Ellery Finch’s perspective. Since he had stayed in the Hinterland, his side of the story was filled with magic. It was a nice temporary break from the urban setting, and it bridged the two halves of the story before they were ultimately brought together. I was all for the trippy-magical landscapes, and all the dangers they presented.
The Night Country was pretty dark at times, just like most of the fairy tale themes common throughout this series. There’s no better example of that than the stories that made up the Hinterland.
Another great part of the book was the mystery surrounding the deaths of the people from the Hinterland. It was a solid mystery, and there were plenty of twists to keep the story moving.
The Night Country was an atmospheric read, and I was drawn in by the story from the beginning. The ending was full of possibilities, and it left Alice and Ellery’s story in a much more satisfying place. Plus I liked how everything that happened to places and people who weren’t the main characters wasn’t magically fixed in the end. It drove-home how the magic in the book had consequences.
Ultimately, The Night Country turned out to be an excellent sequel that answered most of the questions I had about the end of The Hazel Wood. Now, I just have to wait for Tales of the Hinterland to be released.
Have you read The Hazel Wood or The Night Country?