We’ve reached the ending, but who gets a happy one? The answer might surprise you… Or it might not.
Let’s discuss The Darkest Part of the Forest.
Let’s talk about the reveal of Ainsel’s identity? Did this surprise you?
On my first reading, absolutely – although I kicked myself a little bit at this reveal because I’m Scottish and “my ainsel” meaning “my own self” is similar to how we say “myself” – “ma sel”. Had I thought of this at any point during my first reading, I could have sussed this out pretty early on!
On second reading, I was pretty much just sitting here cackling, gleefully rubbing my hands and waiting for the rest of the group to get to this point…
Regarding Hazel’s plot to outwit the Alderking: do you think this makes sense now that we have the full picture?
Again with the second-reading hindsight, heh! The whole mystery surrounding Heartsworn and who might have it/what had been done with it was another thing I know people were speculating pretty wildly about – and some of those suspicions were interesting! But again, I had to bite my tongue a lot.
As for how much sense I think it made, that’s always a tricky one when you’ve read a book before and you know what to expect and what to look for. I think it did make sense, though one thing that’s definitely still got me questioning it is when did either Hazel find time to actually sleep??
I mean, surely someone would have noticed if Hazel (in either of her selves) started shuffling around like a zombie, with all of that sleep deprivation…? I feel like the explanation of how she found her loophole was missing a logical link somewhere, unless I’m the one who missed something? I did think it was a clever loophole! I’m just not entirely clear on how it managed to work…
Team Jack can rest easy! How did you feel about his decision to stay in Fairfold (and defy his Fae mother)?
I think Jack made the right decision, honestly. I agree that he can’t deny his Fae heritage and it would probably be unwise to try, but his mother is a nasty piece of work regardless of her intentions here, and he’s smart to put some distance between them. As he pointed out to her, the length of a mortal life is nothing next to hers. If she genuinely wants him in her life, she can afford to wait.
Ben gets the happy ending he always wanted, and Hazel becomes a true hero at last. Thoughts and feelings?
I like that each of them got what they thought they always wanted, but in such a way that they’ve both learned that it’s good to be careful what you wish for. Nothing ever comes for free, and it certainly never comes to you as a perfect package. Severin may be a prince but his nobility is certainly questionable given what he once did to his sister, and being a hero always means making sacrifices. But both dreams did still come true, and I feel like Ben and Hazel are both a little wiser for their experiences.
(Bonus question) Overall, how did you feel about the ending, and about the pacing of these final chapters compared to the rest of the book?
OK so I added this question because personally, I did find the change in pace a little jarring in these last chapters. We had some really good build-up to a dramatic finale, but when it arrived I thought it felt a bit rushed. I don’t know if this was an editing/page count related choice, but I honestly would not have minded the author taking a little longer to get there if it meant getting to savour it a bit more as a reader. I still love the story, but I do feel like it had some issues in that area. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s where I stand.
And that’s that from me – but do check out what everyone else thought! (Links will be added as they appear.)
Week 1: A Dance With Books (Annemieke’s posts covers both Readalongs) | Book Nook Reviews | The Bookforager | The Green Tea Librarian | Peat Long | Where Stories Lie | Pages & Procrastination | Dear Geek Place
Week 4: A Dance With Books | Book Nook Reviews | The Bookforager | The Green Tea Librarian | Peat Long | Where Stories Lie | Pages & Procrastination