Tales from the Hinterland: The Hazel Wood, Book 3

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Tales from the Hinterland: The Hazel Wood, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Dark fairy tales feature young women in deadly jeopardy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Tales from the Hinterland uses elements from European folklore and provides the opportunity to read the Brothers Grimm and other fairy tales.

Positive Messages

Always check the fine print of a deal with a sorcerer.

Positive Role Models

Young women meet gruesome fates or deliver vengeance on those who betray or threaten them. Innocence is quickly extinguished. Mothers, stepmothers, sisters -- none can be trusted.

Violence

Many scenes of violence, some quite disturbing. Poisonings, suffocation, skinning, throat cutting, surgical removal of a tongue, blood drinking, a person rolled downhill in a barrel full of nails. 

Sex

No graphic scenes of sex, but lots of references to wedding nights, adultery, and children born out of wedlock.

Language

One or two instances of "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tales from the Hinterland is a collection of 12 fairy tales by Melissa Albert, supposedly crafted by cult writer Althea Proserpine. The contents are filled with rage and horror and there are few happy endings. No swearing or drinking. No graphic scenes of sex, but lots of references to wedding nights, adultery, and children born out of wedlock. Lots of violence, including beheadings, poisonings, and skinnings, the surgical removal of a tongue, blood drinking.

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What's the story?

Collecting a dozen original short stories, TALES FROM THE HINTERLAND offers a new perspective on the author's previous two novels. They all feature female protagonists, and each is filled with anger and betrayal. In "The Skinned Maiden," a prince learns the consequences of stealing a bear's pelt. "The Clockwork Bride" features a young woman who accepts a dangerous gift. There are talking animals, wicked stepmothers, and enchantments galore. But there are very few happy endings.

Is it any good?

Supposedly written by cult fantasy author Althea Prosperpine, this collage of dark fairy tales is genuinely mysterious and frightening. Actually written by Melissa Albert, these 12 tales affect a variety of moods, most of them dark. Readers of the first two novels will notice various "Easter eggs" and call-backs. Newcomers are more than welcome, though. Not every tale hits the mark, but each delivers a dose of creepy enchantment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Tales from the Hinterland uses elements of European folklore to create new fairytales.Why do folktales continue to resonate with modern audiences?

  • Why do folktales so often feature neglected children? Why are stepparents portrayed as untrustworthy?

  • How do young women fight to control their destinies? How do they differ from those of young men?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and fairy tales

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