The Night Country: ARC Review

The Night Country once again shows that Melissa Albert is a master at weaving the darkest of fairy tales with just the right dashes of humor and sincerity.
Rating: 4.5 Stars

A copy of this ARC was provided to me through the Libro.FM Influencer program as an Advance Listener Copy. The decision to review the book and all opinions expressed are completely my own and were not influenced in any way. You can find out more info about the Libro.FM audiobook subscription here. Thank you to Macmillian Audio, Flatiron Books, and Libro.FM for providing me access to this ALC.

The Night Country
Melissa Albert
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Synopsis: 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…

The Night Country is the perfect sequel to it’s dark predecessor, The Hazel Wood. Albert pulls no punches in The Night Country and there is not a whisper of sophomore slump in this second book.

After the events of The Hazel Wood, New York is now the home to many from the Hinterland, whether they like it or not. While trying to live an unmagical life and deal with her separation from Finch, Alice is thrown back into the fray when mysterious deaths of former Hinterland characters start occurring. To save herself and the life she is trying to build, she must find out who is committing the murders and if there is a darker plot behind them.

The Night Country takes everything I loved from The Hazel Wood (modern setting of New York + fairies, Alice’s unconventional character, the darkness of it all) and dials it up to eleven. While a majority of the story takes place in Alice’s modern setting of New York, there is still a good chunk of time spent in the Hinterland. The juxtaposition of these two settings kept me in a constantly surreal feeling which gave depth to the reading experience.

While I love Alice and how she is growing in this story, I was particularly intrigued by Finch and his adventures in the Hinterland. Without going into spoilery detail, I will say that getting to see the Hinterland through Finch’s eyes was an absolute delight. I love the way his and Alice’s story lines intertwined throughout The Night Country.

The writing style in The Night Country remains similar to The Hazel Wood, but I feel that those who felt a little confused with the Hinterland will enjoy this book more than the first. That is not to say things go a wee bit sideways in the story (y’all, the twists are so good!), but I think there is more structure to the plot, that YA readers will feel more comfortable in.

The Night Country once again shows that Melissa Albert is a master at weaving the darkest of fairy tales with just the right dashes of humor and sincerity. And though I feel this book was the end to the story of Alice and Finch, I look forward to reading future books from Albert. Especially if they are dark fairy tales.

The Audiobook Review – 

Narrated by Rebecca Soler, The Night Country is a fantastic book to read via audiobook. The story telling aspect of the novel lends a particularly enjoyable depth to the audiobook. Soler’s voice is perfection for Alice, but she is capable of switching between character voices with ease. I enjoyed her narration and am eager to listen to more from her.

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