Author: Holly Black
Audience: YA--Some romance, fairly chaste
Series Information: Holly Black is a very prolific YA fantasy author, but this is a stand alone volume.
The town of Fairfold is famous for the weird things that happen there. Tourists come to see the horned boy in the glass casket who has been sleeping in the forest for generations (think Snow White or Sleeping Beauty). Rumors of fairies and other supernatural creatures attract the tourists as well. For the citizens of Fairfold, the creatures of the forest are known as the Folk. The people and the Folk have struck a deal that the Folk will leave the people of the town alone, but tourists are not so lucky. Occasionally, a tourist may show up dead or disappear in the forest. All appears to be at a more or less copacetic place until one day the glass coffin is broken and the horned boy inside is free. Now the town is in a tailspin and bad things start happening to even those who have lived in Fairfold their entire lives.
Hazel and her brother Ben were born and raised in Fairfold. As children, they took it upon themselves to defend the people of the town and the tourists from the dangerous tricks of the Folk. As a child, Hazel fancied herself to be a knight and even killed some of the Folk. As a child, the lines of justice seem clear cut. Now in her teen years, she will learn that not everyone (or everything) would view her actions as justice.
For the most part, this was an entertaining read. I cared about what was going to happen to the characters. Hazel is a strong female character to root for, but she also has flaws, which is refreshing. Characters solve mysteries in a realistic way (well, you know, realistic enough once you accept that their friend is a changeling). There are definitely enough fairies, elves, and changelings to satisfy seasoned fantasy readers. However, the reader (for the most part) is still in a world they would recognize. This nicely saves space for story instead of world building (which some might lament, others praise). I would have given this book a higher rating, but the ending lost me. In the last chapter, every. single. sentence was dripping in meaning which results in very unnatural language usage.
Read alikes: (Thanks to some crowd-sourcing)
Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
Holly Black books
Cassandra Clare books
Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
Review by Olivia of the Ericson Public Library, readalikes by RART