The Night Country – Melissa Albert

***CAUTION: If you didn’t read The Hazelwood, this review contains SPOILERS***

It’s been two years since Alice left the Hinterland. Two years since she escaped her story. Two years since Ellery Finch died making sure Alice could escape. Still haunted by the boy who betrayed her, then saved her, then died for her, life hasn’t exactly returned to normal for the former “Alice-Three-Times” – especially when there’s a support group full of ex-Stories who look to Alice to know what to do in their new home. It was Alice who ripped a whole in the Hinterland’s borders, allowing them to escape the endless cycles of their own stories.

Summer arrives on the dark trail of a mysterious woman and a string of murders. Someone (or something) is killing ex-Stories, and when the bodies are found covered in ice – the same sort of ice that Alice-Three-Times covered her victims in – the Hinterland refugees assume Alice is behind the murders. But Alice is more confused than anyone.

Something is wrong. Something is coming.

The air smelled like fairy tales, glitter and green things and blood….Alice-Three-Times.

The Hinterland is dead. The Spinner is out there, somewhere, and if Alice wants to clear her name and save the other ex-Stories, the Spinner is her best chance at finding out what in the worlds is hunting her friends. The problem is, there’s a decent chance that the Spinner will kill Alice before she has the chance to ask her questions.

The Night Country is everything you love about classic fairytales (i.e. savvy, cut-throat characters) with a modern spin (i.e. sarcasm and pop-culture references). Enjoy!

If you enjoyed The Hazelwood, Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales, or ABC’s television series, Once Upon a Time, you’ll be hooked by the grim and eerie story Melissa Albert weaves.

Content Warnings:
Violence: On-par with the works of the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Anderson, the characters we meet in The Night Country have encountered cruel villains in their Stories. There’s the occasional corpse covered in ice crystals missing a limb (ya know, normal creepy fairy tale stuff); however, these are not the primary focus.

Recommended Age: 13+ due to the “creepy bits” of the Stories’ stories.

Questions to consider
***What is it about fairy tales that draw us in? How do you think the tales of Hans Christian Anderson went from being bloody and grim to box-office Disney hits?