With tales that are dark and gruesome, this fairy tale collection is not for the faint of heart. A companion book to the Hazel Wood series by Melissa Albert, “Tales from the Hinterland” is a collection of stories that are frequently referenced in the series, and plays an important role. Although reading the original series would enhance the experience, you don’t have to read that to enjoy this.
As I said earlier, this book is not for the faint of heart. These are dark fairy tales, with at least one death, often more, in every story, and very few happy endings. If you are uncomfortable with this, then this may not be the book for you.
But let’s start with the positives. Each story starts with a full page of artwork, and customized borders, specific to each story, around the pages. I loved reading through and discovering the symbolism in the artwork.
I used to devour fairy tales, including a complete collection of Grimms’ fairy tales, and not once did any of these stories have anything in common with them. Well, beyond how dark they were. Whenever I read a story, I always felt like I was reading something brand-new, even despite reading the summaries of many of them in the original series. In fact, seeing how these stories interacted with the series and how the summaries never really did them justice, but rather only made this collection better.
Regarding the negatives of this book, I had very few complaints. While the pacing was slow at times, and the stories were quite dark, they still worked well. There were a few points where I thought the stories didn’t quite match what was set up by the series, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the experience of reading it.
Overall, I’d give this collection 4/5 stars.