Wyrd & Wonder Read Along: The Darkest Part of the Forest, Week 1

Hello! I am running late on so much Wyrd & Wonder stuff BUT. I finally have a couple of weeks off to play, to read, to write, to chill the heck out. Let’s crack on, and take a look at the opening chapters of Holly Black’s The Darkest Part of the Forest



This week I’ll be your host, but before we begin here’s another look at the full schedule for this read along:

  • Week 1: Chapters 1 through 5, hosted by Dear Geek Place
  • Week 2: Chapters 6 through 11, hosted by Ariana at Book Nook Reviews
  • Week 3: Chapters 12 through 18, hosted by Mayri at The Bookforager
  • Week 4: Chapter 19 to the end, hosted by Dear Geek Place

I’ll include any other participants’ blog links at the end of my post as and when they appear each week, so don’t forget to make the rounds and keep the discussion lively!

Right, then. Let’s ask myself some questions…


All is fair in Fairfold… or is it? What are your thoughts on the way of life in this particular bubble? What do you make of the folk of Fairfold, both Fair and mundane?

It’s interesting to see a story involving fey folk approached this way. There’s a definite folklorish feel, in that the mortal people in this town know enough to take the existence, and the presence, of the Fair Folk seriously. But at the same time there’s a sense of ambivalence; they’ve gotten so used to the Fair Folk being around that it doesn’t seem remarkable. And because of that, I get the sense that they don’t take the Fair Folk seriously enough anymore. Hazel mentions a “double consciousness” that’s a good way of putting it, and … let’s just say I don’t think it’s a good attitude to have. When you give the fairies an inch…

And there’s no way at all that Jack’s (human) mother making the choice to make an enemy of one of them was a good move. It was an understandable one, don’t get me wrong. But it is going to come back to bite her, you just know it is. Though I feel more sympathy and concern for Jack than for her, to be honest. But we’ll come back to that, I’m sure!


We need to talk about Hazel. 

How much impending trouble do you think our ‘hero’ is about to get into? Also: how much of that trouble do you think she’s going to be responsible for?

Honestly, all of it. All the trouble. Hazel is … not wise beyond her years, let’s say? And I love that, don’t get me wrong! She’s a young woman, barely an adult, who is acting with the best of intentions but perhaps not the most level of heads. It’s the dangerous level of romanticism; I feel like Hazel simply doesn’t reckon with how much danger she could really put herself and others in, yet. She only wants to help, and she’s meant to be a hero… Oh,  Hazel.

As for the second part of this question… Probably less than she thinks she is? But to say more might be spoilery of me. I asked this to get the first-timers’ take on it, really. So I’ll keep my thoughts to myself for the moment, bwahaha.


Speaking of Hazel, let’s talk about her and Ben’s parents. Are they simply misguided romantics, or do you think they’re Bad Parents?

If I was being nothing but kind, I’d say they were misguided romantics. Hazel has to get that from somewhere, after all, and I certainly think she gets it from them. But that’s not necessarily a good thing, and we’ve already seen Hazel get into trouble because she didn’t take enough care or give enough thought to what she was doing. I see this as a reflection of the upbringing she’s been given, and here’s where I get ruthless because parenthood is a responsibility and Hazel’s parents are definitely neglecting theirs, to a degree. The description of Hazel and Ben’s childhood days might seem romantic and full of adventure but it would not impress a social worker.

But to be fair, they’re hardly the only parents in Fairfold who make unwise decisions. More on that another time…


I’m going to leave things there, I think. I’m way more interested in what others who haven’t read it before have to say! So let’s make the rounds:

Week 1: A Dance With Books (Annemieke’s post covers both Readalongs) | Book Nook Reviews | The Bookforager | Video Games as Literature | The Green Tea Librarian | Peat Long | Where Stories Lie | Pages & Procrastination

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