Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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Title:  The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Author:  Ruth Frances Long
Series:  n/a
Publisher:  Dial Books
Publication Date:  August 16, 2012
Source:  galley from publisher
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction.

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.

One of the things I loved best about The Treachery of Beautiful Things was that it kept to the more traditional faerie lore  -- think more A Midsummer Night’s Dream and less Wings.  And several favorites from the Shakespearian comedy appear in the novel, as well, making it feel as if I was visiting old friends.  I love faerie stories and was glad to see that this particular tale was a return to the faerie world I’ve always known and loved, steeped in rich folklore and magical creatures.
The imagery used to describe the Faerie Realm is phenomenal, if not surreal.  Ruth Frances Long depicts a world untouched by human technology, full of wonder and magic and unimaginable beauty.  But our heroine Jenny soon finds out that the treachery of the Faerie Realm lies in the simplistic nature of things, for nothing is ever as it seems.  The more she travels the Realm with Jack and Puck, the more she comes to realize this truth.
Jenny’s story is a bit sad.  On her way home from a music lesson with her brother, the trees reached out and stole him from her.  Of course, anyone she tells this story to deems her crazy or fanciful.  Seven years later, as Jenny is preparing to go off to college, she goes to the forest that took her brother so long ago in hopes of making peace with his disappearance and saying a final goodbye to the brother she loved so much.  Turns out, the forest wants her, too.
Once in the Faerie Realm, Jenny’s only objective is to retrieve Tom and return home.  She is determined and intelligent but by no means is she any match for the Realm and its inhabitants, especially once they know she’s there and what her future holds.  Jack and Puck try to keep her safe and repeatedly try to coax her into leaving the forest for good, but Jenny refuses to leave without Tom.
And so Jenny spends much of her time traipsing through the forest with her companions, oblivious to what’s right in front of her.  She’s a damsel in near-constant distress, but it doesn’t grate on my nerves like it might in other novels.  After all, she is in a magical world with no powers of her own to speak of.  Plus, her rescuer is Jack o’ the Forest and his character left me with no complaints.  He was complex and difficult to decipher…the yin to her yang, so to speak.  Their romance in the novel isn’t all touchy-feely, and it isn’t really the focus of the story until the end, but it was still beautiful and, I don’t know…fulfilling?  You know how some love stories leave you feeling like it was just a romance of convenience, not like the characters were really meant to fall in love, just that they did so for the sake of advancing the plot?  Yeah, the romance in Treachery isn’t like that at all.  It’s well-developed over the course of the novel, with neither party realizing it was happening or at least denying it to themselves or anyone who risked mentioning it.  It wasn’t cute or sweet, it was simply lovely.
I loved all of the characters in this book, even the ones I wasn’t supposed to, including the fierce Oberon and the creepy Mab.  But my favorite was probably Wayland.  He was but a bit player, though his part nearly cemented the future for Jack.  I always enjoy the character who foresees the future, giving you vague details but then won’t tell you what they mean.  And then of course he gives Jack a gift that could kill him as soon as help him.  It’s good to have a guy like that on your side, rather than working against you.
The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a lesson in love, loyalty and trust.  It's a charming story told amidst unsettling things, but it's one of the better faerie tales I've read.  It's also a stand-alone, which means that you're not committing to yet another series if you're smart and decide to give it a try.

My favorite quote:
"Every game has its Jacks," she said, the sadness of it pulling down the elation of sudden understanding.  "The thing that acts as a wild card.  It can't be counted on or predicted.  A weapon, even.  But he's in other places, too, isn't he?  And do you know what else a Jack is, Puck?...I do." - p. 325 of galley
And I posted this teaser a couple of weeks ago:
"She was talking to a tree.  Just talking to a tree.  Totally normal.  People probably did it every day here.  They're only trees.  She fought an insane urge to laugh."  -- p. 181 of galley
Rating:  Photobucket

Be sure to check out my stop tomorrow on The Treachery of Beautiful Things Blog Tour, too.  I'm interviewing Jack, plus you'll have a chance to win your own copy of this fantastic novel!


  1. Awesome review! I cannot wait to read this book. The only problem is I can't decide if I want to get it for the Nook or if I must have a physical copy! Thanks for sharing!

    Chelsey@Charming Chelsey's

    1. I had an e-galley, but that cover is so pretty and the story was so good that I'll probably end up with a physical copy before long. :P I hope you enjoy it, whichever method you decide on!

  2. This cover is gorgeous! I know I said I was tired of girls in dresses on covers, but I take it back! This one has me mesmerized! And the flowers! I just love it! You know what else I love? This review! You sold me on this one even before I got to the part about Puck ;) I'm off to read more about this Jack character in your next post and enter to win my own copy. Thanks so much for the review and for putting this book on my radar! <3

    1. I'll tell ya, Chele, he's not your Puck. So, um, don't expect to fall in love with him. :P

  3. I received a hard cover from the publisher last week. Stunning. I'm a dummy b/c I didn't realize this is about Fae. Also, Mab and Oberon? That's like The Iron Fey series. Are they common names for Fae? Why am I asking these questions???

    Lovely review, Jenn. I cant wait to read this!

    1. Yep, Oberon and Puck and the gang have been around least since Shakespeare's version, but I'm sure before that, as well. :)

  4. This book kinda freaks me out because my name is Jenny and my brother's name is Thomas. O.O But if you liked it that much I'm definitely going to have to bump it up to the top of the pile.

    1. Whoa. Yeah, I think I'd be a little uneasy about reading it, too, with that kind of coincidence. But I don't think you have anything to worry about. ;0)

  5. Just added this to Goodreads. I have been looking for some good faerie books.

    1. Aw, yay, I saw that. :) Don't tell anyone, but I liked it better than the Iron Fey series. :P Hope you enjoy it!


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