Title: The Night Country
Author: Melissa Albert
I read The Hazel Wood in 2018, so I’ve been waiting a while to read the sequel. The Hazel Wood is a fascinating urban fantasy, where several of the characters are stories in the fairytale world of the Hinterland, created by the controller of the world, and living out their tales over and over. Alice and Ellery cross into the Hinterland, with the help of a book of fairytales collected by Alice’s grandmother, and their presence disrupts the world, and the stories living there.
The Night Country drops the stories from the Hinterland, with their magical powers and repeated trauma, into present-day New York. Alice finds herself drawn to the other stories as they try to survive in a place without the narrative structure they were created to serve. They find ways to stay hidden, and protect each other – until someone starts murdering stories, and Alice is the most likely suspect. There’s a pattern to the murders, and if Alice can piece together the evidence she might be able to save herself – and everyone else.
I enjoyed The Hazel Wood, but I found it hard to connect with Alice as a character. I found The Night Country much more engaging. The story is much darker, the stakes are higher, and as the plot develops there is real peril and edge-of-the-seat action. In contrast with her dream-like path through The Hazel Wood, Alice has a clear plot to follow in this book, and plenty of opportunities to make the wrong decisions – with disastrous consequences.
This is a very effective sequel to a highly unusual book, and I’m very glad I picked it up.
Have you read The Night Country? What did you think of the story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!
Review cross-posted to GoodReads.
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