The Night Country

Flatiron. (Hazel Wood: Bk. 2). Jan. 2020. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250246073.
Gr 9 Up–It’s been two years since Alice Proserpine fought her way out of the Hinterland and the fairy tale she inhabited there with help from Ellery Finch—the boy who chose to explore other worlds instead of returning with Alice to New York City. Being an ex-story isn’t easy even in a city like New York, where strangeness already lurks on every corner. At first it seems like she might really be able to reinvent herself with a new, human life. But something is happening to the Hinterland survivors who made it out—something that’s leaving them dead. While Alice tries to track down the culprit, Ellery has to try to find his own way out of the Hinterland before there’s nothing left. Everyone knows how a fairy tale is supposed to end, but as Alice and Ellery search for answers and a way home, they soon realize that their tales are far from over and may not end happily. This sequel to The Hazel Wood is a suspenseful story of loss, hope, and searching. The fairy tale noir adventure blends romance and mystery with plenty of action as Alice struggles to stop a conspiracy with ramifications she can barely imagine. Alice’s pragmatic first-person narration contrasts well with third-person chapters following Ellery as he tries to find his way home and, possibly, back to Alice.
VERDICT A must-read for fans of portal fantasies, mysteries, and readers who prefer their magic with bloody sharp edges.

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