The Night Country

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Hazel Wood. You can read my review of this novel [here]

The Night Country was written by Melissa Albert and first published in 2020. It is an urban fantasy novel that focuses on a group of refugees from a dying world who are forced to relocate to modern day New York. The novel is a direct sequel to The Hazel Wood (2018), and Albert also plans to release Tales from the Hinterlands – the fictional book of faerie stories featured in this series – in early 2021.

After Alice’s dangerous escape from the Hinterlands, she though that she would be able to build a better life for herself. However, she has slowly come to realise that the Hinterlands never really lets anyone go. Even though Alice has lost her icy powers, she still struggles to fit in. The human world feels unnatural to her, but the other Stories resent her for the roll she played in destroying their world.

While most of the Stories seem to be harmless enough, Alice soon learns that something dark still stalks amongst them. Something is brutally murdering the Stories, stealing a single body part from every one that that it slays. To make matters worse, the killer also seems to be able to freeze people with a touch. The remaining Stories are now starting to believe that Alice is responsible, and she knows that she needs to find out the killer’s true identity if she is to clear her name.

Meanwhile, in the ruins of the Hinterlands, Ellery Finch is trying to find his way home. As the world collapses around him, he strikes a deal with Iolanthe – a girl who knows how to make doors. All he wants is to return to New York and be with Alice once again. Little does he know that his return will not be easy. His journey takes him to a library of worlds where he learns of the existence of a legendary realm called the Night Country, and the terrible price that was paid to create it…

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The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood is due for release in February 2018 and is Melissa Albert’s debut novel. It is a dark fantasy story which focuses on a teenage girl as she provokes a mysterious organisation while trying to learn more about her reclusive grandmother. The book forms the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Alice Crewe has never lived in any place for long. Whenever she and her mother, Ella, try to settle down, the bad luck soon finds them. However, things seem to change when they receive a strange letter that states Alice’s grandmother – the reclusive author of a book of faerie stories – has passed away in her remote home, the Hazel Wood. Although Alice does not really understand why, Ella announces that this is the end of their bad luck and they move to New York.

Time passes and it seems as though Ella is right. She marries a handsome and wealthy man and Alice settles into a structured life of school and part-time work. However, the bad luck doesn’t stay away for ever. After one particularly strange day, Alice returns home to find that her mother has disappeared and someone has left a torn page from her grandmother’s book on her pillow.

With the help of her friend, Ellery Finch, Alice tries to learn more about her grandmother’s book but soon learns that every aspect of it is shrouded in mystery. Copies of it are incredibly rare and those who have read the stories within seem reluctant to talk about them. It seems that to learn the truth and find Ella, Alice must find her way the Hazel Wood. However, this is the one place that her mother has always warned her never to go…

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