Book Review: The Heart of the Moors by Holly Black

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Rating: ★★★.5
RRP: $16.99 AUD

A huge thank you to Scholastic Australia for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Holly Black comes a captivating original novel set between Disney’s Maleficent and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, in which newly-queened Aurora struggles to be the best leader to both the humans and Fair Folk under her reign; her beau, Prince Phillip, longs to get to know Aurora and her kingdom better; and Maleficent has trouble letting go of the past.

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This was a really quick and enjoyable spin on the Maleficent tale. It had a lot of Holly Black’s signature faerie twists which I loved and, as usual, she created a very atmospheric world. The story was very short though and not as fleshed out as I would have liked, however, I understand that this is a middle grade fantasy as well as being a stand alone so that’s completely understandable. It was great! Just not exactly what I would usually read as an adult woman, but still a really fun read!

The only Maleficent story I have ever known is the one I watched as a child when I would ask to watch Sleeping Beauty over and over again! Side note, I was terrified of Maleficent in that movie and my Nan coined the name “Nasty Knickers” for her because it would make me laugh and I was less inclined to run screaming when she appeared on the screen! So when I started reading The Heart of the Moors it was nice to see a different side to Maleficent and the relationship between her and Aurora that was so at odds with the story I grew up with.

I adore Holly Black and I really love what she brought to this tale. It felt like I was reading a proper fairytale, complete with a daring prince, a headstrong queen and lots and lots of magic! As I have noted previously, this isn’t the kind of book I would normally pick up as an adult, however, I would highly recommend it to a younger audience. It was truely a lot of fun to read and I loved getting more of a back story to the characters I grew up watching. It’s actually made me want to watch the Maleficent movie now (I write as I flick over to Disney+)

Overall, this is a really lovely, captivating read that I believe would get any young reader swept away into the fantasy genre. It’s a solid 3.5 stars for me, but I can imagine it would be much higher had I read it as a Middle Grader!