Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Published By:  Dial Books
Publication Date: August 16th, 2012
Page Count:  363 pages
Source:  Book Purchased by Reviewer
Audience:  Young Adult Fantasy

The Treachery of Beautiful Things – isn’t that an AWESOME title for a book?!!  I think I fell in love with those words and decided to buy the book well before I even read the book’s blurb or really looked at the pretty cover.  And if you have read a few faerie stories in your lifetime…you might appreciate how fitting that title would be on many of them.

I am generally in my happy place when I enter the realm of any faerie story.  I just have a thing for this fantastical yet dangerous world.  The alluring and cruel fae…so easily we could fall into their web of deceit while being totally captivated by them.  Such is the case in this story.  The author's fae are breathtakingly gorgeous but equally as lethal.  So easy to fall under their charms and find yourself a slave to a fae king or queen that you can’t help but adore.  It’s a twisted world that is also just as fascinating.  Ruth Francis Long’s story encompasses all of this, in her stand-alone novel.

There was a lot to like and love about this story.  At first, I found some elements a bit reminiscent of another of my favourite faerie stories, but I soon found the story was good on its own merits.

This modern-type faerie tale pulled me in quite effortlessly and kept me intrigued throughout…even despite feeling a bit lost at times.  I had a hard time putting the book down.  Jenny watched her big brother Tom be literally swallowed up by the forest seven years earlier.  She had always felt guilty for surviving the ordeal while her brother apparently did not…which inevitably led her back to the edge of the forest where she last saw Tom.  She finds herself in another realm so surreal and unreal, and beautiful and deadly all at once, and on a quest to bring her long-lost brother home.

The story’s heroine, Jenny, was an unlikely strong character.  In the beginning, she appeared vulnerable and a bit weak in resolve.  But as the story unfolded, that very same character went through an amazing evolution true in spirit with classic faerie tales.  Her bravery, determination and HEART won me over…easily.

I was easily won over by Jack (Jack o’ the Forest), as well, right along with Jenny!  He noticed Jenny’s compassion immediately and immediately was on her side…even though his loyalties were constantly in question…keeping us guessing ourselves.  Nothing was black and white in the land of the fae…and neither were its inhabitants…and Jack was no exception.  But once we got to see his feelings develop for Jenny, he became classically swoon-worthy.

Yes…the characters fell in love rather quickly…but isn’t that part of traditional faerie tales?  This was no different.

Puck was another notable character I loved.  In all the faerie stories I’ve read with a Robin Goodfellow – where he’s been everything from a swoon-worthy teenager, to an older gentlemen with a quirky sense of humour, to a furry-legged hobgoblin -- the common element has always been that he was the consummate trickster and someone you end up wanting to have on your side (maybe aside from in A Midsummer Night’s Dream).  He was endearing in Ruth’s adaptation of this legendary character, without doubt.

The world the author created was treacherously beautiful.  Her fae encompassed everything that we’ve read from traditional faerie lore and she executed it well.  As I said before, I did have a few small spots throughout the story where I felt a little ‘clued out’ or left out…like I wasn’t on the same wavelength with the author.  But the compelling nature of the story kept me turning the pages.

Some might try to criticize the ‘realness’ of it all…but I think that should never be attempted when it comes to any modern-day faerie tale.  You have to accept the fantasy element going into this or else you just won’t appreciate it.

The ending had me freaking out, quite honestly.  I knew this was a standalone story and with only a few pages left…I was very anxious about how the author was going to tie it all up and hopefully have the ‘happily ever after’ that most faerie-tales tend to end up with.  Needless to say, I was very impressed with how she ended this story.  It was actually quite perfect.


Summary: 

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.


4 comments:

  1. Well, this is interesting
    The first thing I noticed in your review is ROBIN GOODFELLOW
    I LOVED him in Julie Kagawa's version of him in The Iron Fey series. He was so adorable, and I don't really wanna risk reading about another version of him, I hope it doesn't ruin my love for him
    GREAT review
    Your reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

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    1. You know Soma, I felt the same way initially. The Puck I know and love from The Iron Fey is not replaceable! But this character is very different and yet still true to the core nature of Puck...I think you'll like him. But nothing replaces my Puck from TIF! It's always interesting reading different takes on faery stories...I hope you enjoy this one! Thanks for your insight and for stopping by the Nest once again! We love our 'regulars'!! ;)

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  2. OMG yes that ending. 5 pages from the end I was having a mental break down. A furry Puck? Oh my.....
    Great review!!
    Jackie

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jackie! Haha! I see I'm not alone in my antsy-ness as we were nearing the end of the book! It wasn't looking so good, was it?! That's what I love about fantasy...anything can happen in a few short pages! ;) Thanks for your comments and for stopping by the Nest as well! :D

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