Hazel & Holly
By Sara C. Snider
Published May 2019 by Double Beast Publishing
Nestled within an enchanted forest is the Grove, a community where witches and warlocks practice elemental magic, brew mystical potions, and lock their cellars against beer thieving gnomes. Life is quiet and uneventful. Well, except when Hazel’s long-lost father uses necromancy to trap her dead mother’s soul.
That simply won’t do. Necromancy is forbidden in the Grove, and for good reason too. Nobody wants filthy corpses shambling around, mussing up one’s garden. Hazel is determined to find her father and undo his treachery.
But despite Hazel’s plans of becoming a one-woman army, she can’t do everything alone. It’s not until wild sister Holly convinces her to leave the house for once and go to a party that Hazel finds a pair of unlikely allies in two bickering warlock brothers.
Together, the four of them go on a journey that takes them out of the Grove and into a world where necromancy reigns and the dead won’t respectfully stay in the grave. Hazel will do whatever it takes to stop her father and save her mother’s soul. Even if it means turning to necromancy. Even if it means losing her friends. Because they would never help a necromancer. Would they?
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Given that Hazel and Holly is one of my favorite genres, I went into this read fully expecting to be head over heels in love with it.
While I did not love this book, I did enjoy parts of it.
First of all, the entire world is magical and I was totally there for it. Hazel and Holly are both witches, but there’s warlocks and gnomes (more on the gnome in a minute).
As far as magic, there’s four elements: Wyr, Weaving, Hearth and Wild. And then there’s necromancy which is strictly looked down upon in the Grove where Hazel and Holly live.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for any of the characters except Tum (the beer loving gnome). Holly is probably the most immature 17 year old I’ve read and she spent a majority of the book either whining or giggling.
Hazel is 23 and honestly she’s not much better, except she speaks before thinking and ends up getting into bad situations because of it. And while both girls grow as characters somewhat, it still didn’t make them much more likable at the end.
To go along with Hazel and Holly, we have Hawthorn and Hemlock who are warlock brothers. Hawthorn is the male version of Holly. He’s whiny and pretentious and Holly fancies him, which isn’t surprising I suppose.
Tum is by far my most favorite character in this story. He’s a beer loving cellar gnome. He spends the book either trying to rob people (spoiling, is what he calls it), or drinking beer. And I dunno, it was just hilarious to me that there’s a snarky drunk gnome in the book and I looked forward to when he came around in the book.
There is romance in this book, but honestly because I wasn’t feeling too warmly toward the characters, I felt like the romance was almost forced feeling. They claimed suddenly they loved each other, and then made a bunch of decisions which excluded the other one, and then somehow at the end they’re together and loving each other.
Overall, I absolutely loved this world. I just wish that the characters were more likable.