Well there was just too much happening in this standalone. I loved the idea of a world where fairies stand alongside humans and magic is real. It was also interesting to hear how our history and music stayed the same so you get some funny pop-culture comments here and there. That said, Hazel and Ben were exhausting. Both of them obsessed with being in love and I just wanted to say good grief none of this is going to matter when you are older. I feel like an old curmudgeon. I liked the idea of Hazel being a knight, but thought Ben was perfectly useless. There were also some dropped characters and plot lines (the parents of Hazel and Ben really suck).
I really didn't feel engaged with most of the people in this book. Hazel and Ben's childhood sounded interesting. However, the present day part of the book was just confusing. I think due to Hazel having not only the main plot but a hidden plot we find out about made it aggravating to me to keep rushing back to Ben whose only thing was running around being in love with the Prince in the glass coffin.
The secondary characters could have been interesting if they had been developed more. I was very interested in Jack and I wish that Black talked more or showed us more with his family and his brother. Same issue I had with Hazel and Ben's parents who were pretty terrible. That was just something that was said and shown and kind of hard shrugged about. We also hear about some of the kids they hang out with and they just disappeared from the story too. That's just the humans too. I thought the Alderking's motivation was...questionable. It made zero sense to me.
The writing was interesting. I liked that Black took fairy tales we were familiar with and referenced them here and there in this book. I think she would have been better served to just make this Hazel's story though. However, this book had way too many information dumps. If you have followed my reviews you know I hate that.
The flow of the book was also rocky. We go from Hazel to Ben and I mostly liked Hazel's sections. And I say that only because I liked the fact that she had two different selves going around. When she's going on about flirting with boys I did not care. I just felt my brain turn off which is one of the many reasons why it took me so long to finish this book.
The setting of this book is the town of Fairfold which is a strange place where humans and fairies meet often. And sometimes the humans are left dead or missing. It made me think a little bit about what would have happened if the elves in "The Lord of the Rings" had stayed and not sailed away.
The ending felt really lackluster. I am one of those readers that hates it when YA authors do trilogies for no good reason, but this book was crying out for at least a sequel.