After falling in love with the spooky adultness of The Hazel Wood, I was really looking forward to immersing myself back into that world. A funny thing happened in the two years since I read that first book though. It turns out my memory of the details of Alice’s adventures are pretty much nonexistent. This should not be a big deal because most authors provide recaps of some sort. Sadly, Melissa Albert proves to be the exception to this unspoken rule of series.
The Night Country has no recap, no refresher, nothing to anchor yourself back into Alice’s world. Simply put, Ms. Albert expects readers to remember characters, their Hazel Wood stories, and their experiences. If you go into this novel not remembering everything that happened, you will be as lost as I was. After the first chapter, I frantically searched the Internet for as many synopses as I could find in an effort to remember more than the general gist of the story. I found enough to get me through the sequel, but I missed so much of the charm and excellent story-telling from the original. Because I felt like I was constantly one step behind in understanding, I could not relax and enjoy the story. I so very much wanted to enjoy the story too.
What I need to do is go back and read the original and then read The Night Country again. Only then will I feel comfortable in being able to assess the story itself. Right now, all I can say is that even though my mind was frantically trying to make all the connections Ms. Albert assumes I already know, I enjoyed what I read. It is just as dark and adult as the first book, which is one of its main draws. Similarly, Ms. Albert’s writing talent is undeniable. The last bit of my book announced the future release of a book of the very same fairy tales that make up so much of both stories. Given her ability to write fresh, unique stories, that is going to be a must-read for any Hazel Wood fan.