The Night Country by Melissa Albert
Publisher: Macmillan USA
Publication date: 07 January 2020
Genre: YA fantasy
Page count: 336 pages
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler-free review for The Night Country, but will contain spoilers for The Hazel Wood.
I had mixed feelings about reading The Night Country, given my disappointment with The Hazel Wood, but I wanted to give it a try because I did enjoy some parts of the first book. Reading The Night Country gave me deja vu: once again, I mostly enjoyed the first half of the book, but it totally fell apart in the second half.
In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang.
With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…
Just like The Hazel Wood, I really feel like I should have loved this story but it just didn’t work for me. There were a few issues I had with the book, but the main one is the fact that The Night Country feels like two-three completely separate stories smashed together into one book. The first half of the book is told solely from Alice’s perspective, then about 45% in it starts to switch on and off between her and Fitch’s point of view. This honestly was so sloppily done that it just didn’t make any sense — I actually found it quite jarring and didn’t feel like it worked at all. This book could have been three novellas and would have worked much better — the stories just didn’t line up well together and it was like reading multiple books in one.
I’ll always love her depictions of New York and the way she blends fairy tale with the real world, particularly the way she describes the Hinterland refugees surviving in our world, however I feel like her actual writing style just doesn’t work for me. I do enjoy some of her phrasing, however the book felt incredibly repetitive and long winded. Albert uses a lot of words to say very, very little.
Although I wanted to give her books another try, I think that at this point I just have to accept the fact that her stories are not for me. While I love her books in theory, in practice they’re not my cup of tea!
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