readalong · Wyrd And Wonder

The Darkest Part of the Forest Readalong: Week Three

Things are moving non-stop in Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest and in week three twists upon twists are abundant! Thank you kindly to the wonderful Bookforager Mayri for the questions, and I am going to dive straight in… please beware that at this point it’s spoilers galore!

Our Knight and her company have encountered the monster from the heart of the woods and learnt her stories. Thoughts? Feelings?

What a story – I really didn’t expect it but in retrospect it couldn’t be anything other than a grief-stricken faerie. I have to say that the shift from ‘mystery and woodland shenanigans’ to ‘the monster is right here in the middle of town’ came a little bit out of nowhere, and from that moment the pacing of the book has thrown me and made me enjoy it a little less than I had been, but that’s by the by. Sorrow/Sorrel herself is absolutely fascinating, and I really like the parallels between her and Severin and Ben and Hazel. Siblings are complicated, as I’ve said! Some make secret dealings with the Folk to make sure you can hunt monsters with them forever, and some kill your husband…

The whole incident really does speak to the nature of the Folk and how they see humanity, and I’m glad Severin has been able to see past the frailty of mortals, albeit a bit too late. Do I want the siblings to reconcile and maybe take down the Alderking together? Maybe, but I don’t see any way Sorrel can come out of this. I sense tragedy.

“You always knew this was real, didn’t you? … How can you stand it?” Let’s talk a bit more about that “double consciousness” hmm?

I’m glad you brought it up! I was a little confused that none of the authorities seem to believe anything supernatural is going on (surely there should almost be a team dedicated to this?? call Mulder and Scully!!) but to have a student only accept the reality of the Folk after that attack on the school seems a bit weird. Surely Molly has partied around the casket in the woods along with the rest of them?? What did she think was going on? I think maybe Holly Black didn’t think it through initially, and then realised she wanted a little pushback from the adults? I don’t know…

We need to talk about Jack, like, right now! How do you feel about his position in Fairfold? Care to make any predictions about how his story might wrap up? (Do you think Jack can have a happy ending?)

As founding member of the Protect Jack Squad, I second this sentiment. We need to talk about Jack. In a lot of ways, he’s the central character – I know this is about Hazel, but Jack is the one caught up in the middle, and I am worried about him. It does not surprise me that the villagers turned so quickly on him, but it still saddens me… how must he be feeling inside knowing so many would get rid of him so quickly? I’m glad he knows that his human family cares so much about him, at least. That was sweet, cause Mrs Gordon had me worried earlier in the section.

I really cannot fathom where he might end up, but hopefully somewhat happy with Hazel – although, having said that, I don’t know that she deserves him with the way she’s been acting. But I suspect that, whatever the final outcome, Jack will have to give something up, and it’s not going to be pretty…

Be careful what you wish for! Hazel IS a knight, just as she always dreamed. And it looks like Ben’s dreams might be coming true too, regards a certain pretty prince. Let’s discuss wish fulfillment and the Folk.

This was quite the twist! When you get a message from a friend to say ‘let me know when you’ve read chapter 13’ you know things are about to get interesting (thanks, Peat!) and they certainly did. The only thing was that it didn’t shock me as much as it usually would have, because only last week I finished reading a book where everyone has a day-self and a night-self that live completely different lives (Equinox by David Towsey) and so I had that weird familiar feeling before realising I was associating it with the wrong book! That aside, it’s such a chilling idea! How long has Hazel been serving the Alderking? It seems like it’s been the entire time since she made her deal! Can a human body even survive that? And how did she never wake up with muddy feet before?

But wish fulfilment with the fae… well, let’s just say one should definitely be careful. It seems the Folk are always ready to twist ones desires into something darker, and especially in Ben’s case, I worry this will end badly. Sure, it seems that Severin has some sort of attraction towards him, but for all that he seems to value mortals more than he used to, I feel like he doesn’t care for Ben the way Ben needs him to.

Basically, everything is in the air and the entirety of Fairfold is one bad decision away from all hell breaking loose, and the only question is: which of the reckless teenagers is going to act first? I go on in tense anticipation!

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