The Night Country: A Hazel Wood Novel
The Night Country is the sequel to Melissa Albert’s masterful debut, The Hazel Wood. It is a richly detailed journey into a family’s darkest legacy and the premise unfolds with startling grace. It has to be stated immediately just how wonderful Alice Proserpine is as a protagonist; she strikes a delicate balance between naive curiosity and muted sadness.
Alice carries with her many of her experiences from the first novel, which at times gives her a haunting and damaged quality. Similarly, Ellery Finch is a wonderful character who carries with him a determined and charming positive masculinity, making him more compelling than his many “Prince Charming” counterparts.
A large part of this book also deals with a complicated manner in which the legacies of your family members can cast long shadows over your life. It concerns the realization that the uniformity of day-to-day life and the habitual tendencies of your family unit are sometimes just a thin veneer over something much darker.
There are shades of Poe throughout the story, while the closing chapters are reminiscent of the darkest elements of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Much darker than its predecessor, this book has still retained the first volume’s finest qualities. In fact, it should be noted that Albert has managed to avoid all the pitfalls that have plagued authors for centuries as they move from installment to installment, as the overall narrative becomes either watered down or a pale shadow of its past quality. The Night Country works so well as a book because it is its own book filled with its own merits and not just another in a series.
No episodic fatigue can be found in this dreamlike, strange, and lovely novel. In fact, there are moments where you are struck by how comforting and spooky the narrative is; it’s like a long, gorgeous, and gloomy dream. A dream that you never want to end. It’s a complex literary experience worth having.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||352 pages|
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