Spoilers Ahead! (marked in purple)
‘Something’s afoot,’ mutters Trevor. ‘I can feel it in my knees.’
Welcome to the Darkwood, a place where Bin Night is a truly terrifying event, where ‘fruit’ and ‘trousers’ are entirely acceptable swear adjacent words and where your favourite person may well be a talking spider called Trevor. It’s the final book in the trilogy and I’m not okay with that. Not even a little bit.
We first met Gretel when she ended up in the Darkwood after being accused of the abomination of witchcraft by the Huntsmen. There she met some of the scary, no good creatures she’d been warned about:
- Buttercup, a witch whose touch can cakeify inanimate objects.
- Jack, known throughout the land as the infamous giant killer.
- The White Knight, an axe-wielding, armour wearing woman with attitude and her entourage of “Yummy!” dwarves.
- Patience, who was a huntsman before she became a ghost.
- Mirror, who’s a mirror.
- Trevor, my favourite character. Trevor’s a spy and master of disguise.
Along the way we picked up some more found family, including:
- Gilde the Bear Witch.
- A Werewolf named Scarlett.
- A winged man named Hex.
Magic forest – these things happen.
Together, this bunch of misfits have been working towards freedom for magical beings, who aren’t the abominations they’ve been made out to be, and uniting magical and non-magical beings. That’s definitely not going to happen under the rule of the Huntsmen.
Whatever it is they’ve been building up to, they’re doing it now.
In this book we finally travel to the Badlands of Ashtrie to meet the much feared Glass Witch. She lived up to my expectations, and then some. This is a book where facing the past is something many of our favourites will need to do. A number will also confront their fears of not being good enough, brave enough or enough in general. They have the opportunity to decide who they are going to be, outside of the roles cast on them by society. The Glass Witch is the perfect character to introduce to this mix.
‘Just keep in mind, the only thing you can truly be sure of regarding the Glass Witch is that you can’t be truly sure of anything.’
Our beloved friends will need all of their courage and ingenuity to prevail in this final battle. Although there were still some giggles to be had, things have a darker feel here than in the previous two books. Even Trevor isn’t coming up with as many unforgettable lines. But it’s okay because we’re really at the business end of things now and there is so much to wrap up.
This world turns what you thought you knew about fairy tales on their head. What other third act do you know that begins with the main character getting her first period?! Also, there are many more naked people in this book, for reasons that will become apparent when you read it.
If you’re wandering into the Darkwood for the first time you’ll find a handy description of who’s who in the Darkwood, Nearby Village, the Citadel and Ashtrie before you begin the story. I would highly recommend reading the series in order though.
‘You can allow yourself to heal, put your past behind you…’
In considering my not being ready to say goodbye to these characters I tried to come up with a reason for their story to continue and I think I’ve got just the thing … a spin-off featuring Trevor and his adventures in the Intelligence & National Security Initiative. I would happily read about my favourite spider forever.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Farrago, an imprint of Duckworth Books, for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
The tyrannous Huntsmen have declared everyone in one village to be outlaws, since they insist on supporting the magical beings of neighbouring Darkwood. Why won’t they accept that magic is an abomination?
Far from being abominable, the residents of Darkwood are actually very nice when you get to know them, even Snow the White Knight, who can get a bit tetchy when people remind her she’s a Princess.
In order to stop the Huntsmen from wiping out all magical beings, Snow and her friends have to venture into the Badlands of Ashtrie, and seek the support of the Glass Witch – but she has plans of her own, and let’s just say they’re not good ones.