The Night Country

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Alice's nightmares continue in The Night Country, the Once Upon a Time meets Doctor Sleep meets The Magician's Nephew sequel to The Hazel Wood. While The Hazel Wood was a gothic fairytale, The Night Country is a macabre thriller. A tale within a tale, like The Hazel Wood, The Night Country picks up its pace in the second half, but is even more mesmerizing and intoxicating! 

As with Dan Torrance in Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, Alice's cannot stop her haunting past from following her, until she turns around and fights it back. She learns more about herself and comes into her own as she grows older and can make more of her own choices, and getting to learn more about her in turn was a treat. Although she is separated from old favourites like her savage stepsister and dear Ellery Finch, a new endearing character, Sophia is by her side. Thankfully, Ellery's journey is included in the story, which is honestly the bright spot.

Beyond the escapism the story provides, The Night Country continues The Hazel Wood's debate about belonging and origin, wrapped up with one timely word: refugee.

Like The Hazel Wood, The Night Country is a stunningly imaginative and creative novel that will hook readers. 

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book!
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I absolutely loved the first book in the series, but this was sadly not my favorite. I ended up DNFing about halfway through because I found the character development to be inconsistent, and didn't feel as though there was a compelling through line. I also found the writing to be less sharp and more verging into purple prose here than in book 1.
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This book definitely weaves a story that blends fantasy, horror, and elements of serial killer fiction. The Night Country ends a few years after The Hazel Wood. Like the previous book, it blends in a mystery and the lore of a book within a book.
We follow Alive-Three-Times as she navigates life in New York City after experiences in the Hinterland. She and the other Hinterland refugees adjust to a world that is not their own. They all have maladaptive coping strategies. While she and her new friends are trying to adjust, some members start to suspect that she is to blame for these grisly murders of other ex-Stories. And the real question that drives this plot forward is who is behind these murders? As with any good mystery, she must solve the murders before she herself is blamed or killed. 
	This book would appeal to anyone who likes the idea of figuratively picking up a book and traveling to another world. Who hasn’t dreamed that magic is possible?  And this book explore about what happens to the hero who has the adventure and then returns home, changed and maybe scarred, to try to pick up life again. It would also appeal to fans of film noir. And in many ways, this is a story about refugees and never feeling like you belong. Alice had so many experiences in the Hazel Wood that how does she go back to a regular life? 
	“Do you really think that’s how it works? The Hinterland was never a place, it was always us. Wherever you go, that’s the Hinterland.”
	As with any book within a book, I was intrigued with the fairy tales of this book. They are the true standout to this book, and I wish the author had included more of them in. 
	The pacing of this book felt very different than the first one. With the Hazel Wood, I remember I read it in a few sittings. This book felt a little more forced in parts. There were parts of it that felt too rushed and didn’t flow. I thought the beginning was too slow to start. Ellery Finch, a main character, didn’t appear until about a third of the way through the book. It wasn’t until the last three-quarters of the book that the pacing started to speed up and the story became less of angst and more of action. 
	I understand where the author was going with how she developed Alice, but unfortunately, even as an anti-hero, I was not rooting for her. In my opinion, there were too many angry and angsty scenes that did not propel the story forward.  I did not feel Alice had any redeemable qualities that wanted to keep me going. In my opinion, Ellery Finch and Sophia were the standout characters in this book, and sadly, they do not get enough time. Iolanthe was not as developed as I felt she deserved. The last half of this book definitely redeemed it, but unfortunately, the first half may cause some readers to stop. Alice has few redeeming qualities and the murders are too grisly 
	I gave this book three stars because to me, the pacing, the characters, and the writing was uneven. The concept itself was very well done and original. Parts were very well written. With other sections, I wished there had been more edits. 
	The book ended with the possibility of the story of Ellery and Alice continuing. I haven’t given up on this author, so I would be curious where the story with Ellery and Alice continue. 

	This is the type of book that fans of Alice of Wonderland may love - it contains similar eccentric characters. I think this book would appeal to angsty teenagers who yearn for life to be a little different with a little more edge. It would appeal to those who like mysteries regarding books. There is violence and murder scenes that may not appeal to all. 

I received an electronic ARC from Flat Iron Books through NetGalley.
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The Hazel Wood was one of my favorite books last year and The Night Country was an amazing follow-up! It was filled with the same kind of twists and turns as the first, constantly leaving you in a state of needing to read more.
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"There's no shortage of spilled blood in fairy tales."
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"The Night Country" is a dark tale woven through with threads of magic, mystery, and horror. When Ellery Finch rescued Alice-Three-Times, or as she is known in our world, Alice Proserpine, from her imprisonment in her own fairy tale, Alice escaped the Hinterland but left Ellery behind to explore new worlds. Alice has found it difficult, to say the least, to readjust to life as a human after the horrors she experienced at the hands of the Hinterland. But Alice has started something unstoppable with her escape: the dangerous and sometimes sociopathic Stories of the Hinterland are escaping, and something terrible is happening in their world and ours. The sequel to "The Hazel Grove," "The Night Country" is just as dark and somehow bloodier, with plenty of twists and turns. Melissa Albert expertly skirted the boundaries between fantasy and horror in "The Hazel Wood," one of my favorite books of 2018, and in "The Night Country," she does the same, weaving horror into a dark dive into fairy tales which honors the gritty history of the Brothers Grimm and the like. Fans of the TV series "Grimm" and twisted takes on classic tropes will love Albert's work.
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I think this is kind of a lack-luster sequel to the entertaining first book in the series. While the idea was intriguing, I felt that the writing was all over the place.. Sometimes it was hard to follow. I had to go back and re-read passages, but then still didn't understand the flow. I'm not giving up on this author, and if you're a fan of the first book, then maybe you'd enjoy this.. But I felt it was lacking.
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I enjoyed reading the Hazel wood and the world that the author created. However oh, I wasn't in love with the ending. This book was everything I was missing in the Hazel wood. And while I do not want to give away too much of the book, I will let you know that we do see Finch again

It is not easy for the stories who ran away from the hinterland to make a life here in our world. Alice constantly struggles between feeling other, missing her friend, and staying loyal to her mother. When some of the stories start dying, Alice must try to find out what is happening to her compatriots wow protecting her mother.

Meanwhile, Finch has his own adventures traveling through different worlds. We also get to see what happens when he leaves Alice and when he leaves the hinterland.

I was very pleased not only with the events in the novel but also the ending. I would not mind if there was a third book!
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I received an electronic ARC from Flatiron Books through NetGalley.
This sequel picks up a couple of years after the first book, The Hazel Wood, ends. Alice is eighteen and struggling to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. She's caught between the "real world" on Earth and the Story world she came from. That summer, former Hinterland people are being murdered by someone with Alice's powers. As the story unfolds, readers see hints and glimpses of the murderer and the mission they are on. Ellery returns partway through the book to provide the counterpoint to the action happening on Earth. He saves those he can in the Hinterlands and journeys to many worlds with a newly met character, Iolanthe. They reunite near the end and stop the Spinner's ultimate plan.
Albert continues to develop her worlds with spins and twists along with strong characters. They may or may not be likeable but they are true to the characteristics she's set.
This book could wrap the tale or further tales could be spun from the ending scenes.
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Melissa Albert has a magical loom of beautiful yarns and dark fibers.  In The Night Country, the second book in The Hazel Wood series, Alice Proserpine has created a normal, urban teenage life.  She lives in a cute Brooklyn apartment with her mother, Ella; pines for her absent love, Ellery Finch;  hangs out with her best friend, Sophia; and is preparing to graduate high school.

Princess Alice, Alice-Three-Times, has deadly ice in her veins and doesn't always mind being a monster.   She craves a life totally rid of Hinterland  "A place that runs on the telling of tales.  It was written decades ago by my mother's mother, Althea Proserpine, and bound within the pages of a book Tales from the Hinterland".  But it does not want to let go of Alice.  She was the first Story to escape that darkly magical realm into this world.  Now it's stalking her one dead Story at a time.

As Alice uncovers the horrific details and motivations behind the murders, Ellery is on a quest through world after world.  He wants to get back to Alice but there is always one more demand, one more adventure.  His travelling companion promises to get him home by way of a mysterious library and terrifying dead lands.  And in the background of all of this, The Spinner is creating a deadly spell to bring two worlds together, the outcome of which will destroy the one to create the other.

The Night Country is a multi-layer plot crafted in lovely painterly, evocative prose seeded with just the right amount of.fun and excellent literary references.The reader will ponder the life and death of story and the claims of love, history and kinship.
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4 1/2 stars. Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I was SO excited for this sequel to The Hazel Wood, which was one of my absolute favorite books of 2018. This did not disappoint. Given that The Hazel Wood felt like it easily could've been a standalone novel, I was impressed with how fluidly this second book picked up the loose threads from the first in a way that actually enhanced the mythos of the Hinterland and the other worlds. If I have any complaint at all, it's that Alice's portion of the story was a little slower and less interesting until about the last quarter of the book—less romping around magical worlds, more of a murder mystery with some magic thrown in. But since we see a lot of Finch going on otherworldly adventures, I didn't feel like this took away from my enjoyment of the book. 

Also, Melissa Albert spins some of the most beautiful sentences I've ever read in YA. Seriously, her descriptions are to die for. I can't wait to read Tales from the Hinterland—she was born for creepy, bloody, gory, pitch-dark fairytales.
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~Review will be posted on my blog http://pastmidnight.home.blog on January 6, 2020, closer to publication date~

**2.5 Stars**

Thank you to Flat Iron Books and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

I rated the first book in this series The Hazel Wood, 3 1/2 stars because though the story goes off on an Alice in Wonderland like mind bend, I was still immersed in the mystery that was the Hinterland and The Hazel Wood. It keep me reading and wanting to find out what was going on.

Alice has escaped the Hinterland, choosing to go back to New York City and live her life as before. You would think things go back to normal but someone is murdering her ex-Story friends in New York City, but who? This story is a murder mystery with more dark fairy tales to tell.

What I Liked:

*I will say this about the series in general, both books have amazing book covers so yay to the artist! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

*Sophia Snow is a new character in this book and I liked her a lot. I also liked learning about her fairy tale, even though it doesn’t come until later in the book. She was Alice’s only friend now that Finch chose to stay in the Hinterland.

*The murder mystery kept me interested in this story. It gave me the creepy feeling I had like in the first book, especially the scene on the subway! I liked how the murders was something bigger than just some serial killer on the loose, I liked that twist in the story.

*Ellery Finch’s letters were sweet! Maybe because I love Jane Austen but I thought it was quite romantic. As for their relationship, I can’t say there was much to grow on with them being separated and only having the one-sided letters but in the end they are finally in the same world.

*This world of The Hazel Wood series is so unique, I love how it’s different and the fairy tales are so dark and scary. I adore that it’s a world of stories and books coming to life, that books are a door…that just got me thinking, yes, yes, YES. I get that so much. I think the concept of the Spinner making and remaking these worlds is so interesting.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm:

*Triggers: violence, blood, murder scenes

*I wanted to know more about what happened with Ellery Finch and he shows up later in the book. So much later that I thought, he wasn’t going to be in this book at all! By the time we see what he’s been up to, I’ve lost interest. Finch comes back strong in the ending, but by then, I just wanted to finish.

*The middle of this story lost me. I was disinterested.  😒 I put it down so many times and picked it up, just to get a few pages in but it didn’t grab me. I’m amazed I finished.

*The mysteriousness of the first book is gone in this one. The reason I kept reading the first book was because I wanted to know what the Hazel Wood was and if it was real. The Night Country didn’t captivate me like the Hazel Wood did.

*I wanted more dark fairy tale stories!

Final Thoughts:

If you loved The Hazel Wood, you will love The Night Country because there is so much more than just the Hinterlands. The darkness is still there as it seems to always surround Alice, and though I enjoyed the first part of the book, I lost interest in the middle but managed to finish the book.

I don’t know if I just needed to be in the mood to read it, but I thought reading The Hazel Wood just recently would have continued my interest in the sequel. That wasn’t the case, but that’s okay, I find this world to be unique, fascinating and dark and I may not love the series, but I like it just enough.
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I gave this a shot because I did like the Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert but I just wasn't a big fan of this one.
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I didn't know it was possible for the world of The Hazel Wood to get darker, but it did. The Night Country takes all that is good and adventurous about that book and twists it around, then turns out the lights. 

Alice has been irreparably changed by her time in the Hinterland. (Naturally.) She is jaded and wary now, and very alone. She avoids the other "characters" and remnants of the Hinterland in New York, not wanting to get caught up in the danger and drama that comes with being an ex-story. But her plans go awry when someone begins brutally murdering Hinterland refugees in an method that makes it look like they've been killed by Alice Three Times, and Alice is the only one who can clear her name. 

Meanwhile, Finch (sweet, sweet Finch) is still in the Hinterland, witnessing it's dismantling from the inside, and trying to find a way back home - back to Alice. 

I love this world that Melissa Albert has created. She takes the idea of the dark fairy tale and perfects it. I am definitely looking forward to more from her.
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Amazing!! This follow-up to The Hazel Wood is everything I hoped it would be and it even leaves a door open for another book to follow. 

Please note: This is NOT a stand-alone book. You will need to read The Hazel Wood to really appreciate this sequel.

Thank you yo NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book, in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available on January 7th, 2020.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. Unfortunately, I can only muster a like. The thing that originally drew me to The Hazel Wood was the creepy, dark feel of the fairy tales (I’m still dying to know the story of Twice-Dead Katherine). This book didn’t have that feel for me. The sense of something lurking just outside of view wasn’t there. While there are some messed-up story characters, they were much more straight-forward, which lessened their impact for me.

The plot is interesting, continuing with a new threat to the Hinterland, and the ex-stories who have left the Hinterland behind. Alice is one of the few ex-stories who has managed to eke a normal human life for herself, and many others resent her for that. Also, there’s a small matter of some ritualistic-looking deaths, and no-one knows who is responsible, or who will be next.

If you have read my review of The Hazel Wood (which you can find here), you’ll know that my biggest complaint was that the relationship between Alice and Ellery felt a little one-note. Again, in this book, the relationships fell a little flat. I think that’s just a character development issue that will improve as Melissa Albert continues to write, which I hope she does. Even though I didn’t love this book, Melissa Albert is a creative voice and I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with.
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I adored Hazel Wood, and this sequel is also excellent.  It continues the story of Alice along with others from the first book and additional Story characters who have slipped into the 'real' world.   In Hazel Wood Albert created a series of fairy tales and an even darker fairytale world that felt as if it had always been there.  With The Night Country she expands this world in a way that is rich and fascinating. 
A more complete review will follow upon publication in January at variegatedpixieyarns.wordpress.com.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me receive an e-arcin exchange for an honest review.

When i saw this on Netgalley, i thought to myself that i was never going to be accepted into reading this book. Then i was. This books seems to be shorter than the first book but i didn't find any issues with that. This book is like The Diviners meets The Alchemist and it was good for what it was. I enjoyed this book a lot, but as you can see i rated this 3 stars. One word: ENDING. That ending really sucked. The Spinner seemed so intense but then ended up being beaten by a cheap way that i've seen executed in a better way in children's cartoons. It also turns into a romance which i really didn't like.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, I received an eArc of this book in exchange for a honest review.

The Hazel Wood was an amazing book. It was laden in atmosphere and surprise. I am happy to say The Night Country is the same way, but a bit different. Instead of taking place mostly in The Hinterlands it took place in our world.  It was an engaging story once more and totally worth the wait. 

This book was essentially told in two POVS. Mostly from Alice's but some from Finch's as well. Finch of course is not in our world. He is having his own adventures. He meets other people he goes on adventures with and yet he also misses ice and his home. Alice is busy trying to adjust to her new life, a d it is very interesting. Alice is a unique character. She's strong but also weak and she doesn't really know what she wants.  I like Alice as a character.  I think she's great because she is made of contradictions.  It was enjoyable being back with Alice.  

There are a few other characters like Sophia, and Daphne that we meet in this book along with Ella. They all have roles to play and Alice’s interactions with them are all different. This book didn’t boast a huge cast of characters but it worked for the few that it did have. 

This book was slow paced. There are pieces of action sporadically in the book, but overall the main focus is on Alice and her feelings. It’s as if she’s on a journey of self discovery in between trying to figure out who is murdering stories. Alice's struggle with her place, who she is and its relation to the murders makes for a fascinating plot. You’re never sure what is true and what isn’t, because they are stories after all. There is something to be said for creating a plot that has a dual purpose. It was well done and I liked it. 

 I think like the first this book is going to be hit and miss for some people. Some are going to really love it and for others it’s going to bother them. Partially the writing style I think.  

The writing style is incredibly descriptive and inner focused at parts. This can make it incredibly slow. I will admit at some parts I started to zone out because I was having trouble focusing. But I read it in pieces and it helped. The writing is good, don’t get me wrong. It evokes atmosphere and feelings. I enjoyed it for that reason.  

Overall it was a great story and I really liked it.  I think Albert is a fantastic storyteller who always draws me in.  A really fantastic story all around.  I think there is something to be said for doing a totally new riff off fairytales. I am so excited to see what Albert has in store for us next.
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Dark and gritty full of twists and turns this book was quite the surprise because I didn't realize there would be a sequel to The Hazel Wood. I found myself swept away by the haunting fairy tale stories of the Hinterland in The Hazel Wood, and in this book it was nice to revisit characters and the feelings the first book evoked.  Told after the events of the first book, Alice is adjusting to her life back in the world she was raised and Ellery Finch is lost to another world, having his great adventure. Plagued by a feeling that things are not exactly settled, Alice starts to question the world around her and the world she left behind. Dark, emotional and full of twists, this second book by grabbed me and didn't let me go until its conclusion. I adored the first book but really felt this one was even stronger! Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for your honest opinion.
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Better than the first book, and darker.  What is the Night Country?  How do you get there - or maybe the question is, can you get there?  Finding out the answers is most of the fun, but sadly getting those answers is a bit of a chore thanks to the pacing (whole chapters virtually stop things dead).  There are some great ideas here and I wanted to spend more time in the bookstore with Alice OR travelling with Finch.  Smoothing out the action and pruning some of the hotel and scenes of people sitting around would have helped.

eARC provided by publisher.
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