Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 16th 2012 by Dial Books

The Treachery of Beautiful ThingsA 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.

(provide by GoodReads) 

It's not too often that when I stop to take a short break from reading, glancing at the cover as I close the book, that I actually think to myself "what an appropriately titled book." It is about just that: the treachery of beautiful things. That being said, this book also has couple things to one-up other faerie books: it is not corny and it starts immediately. No random and useless character development here. For example, Jenny introduces the reader to her parents within her own thoughts, but in a way where it develops her character (not the other way around). One thing I particularly liked was that the main character was not immune to getting hurt. Bad things happen to Jenny, giving the story an overall dark feel to it. I've read other books where the character ends up in faerie land, has something terrifying and awful happen, and then ends up with barely a scratch in the end. It's simply unrealistic.

That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. There are two types of stories: ones that advance because of the characters and events that follow their actions, and those that are propelled by events with the characters adapting and reacting to these events. This book was the later. We are more used to character based stories, so this has a different (refreshing, for some) formula. However, with the characters constantly reacting, the romance part of the novel didn't feel as real. With them constantly reacting, where was there room for feelings to grow? I felt that aspect was under developed.

If you are looking for a great love story with happy faeries thrown into the mix, look elsewhere. But if  evil faeries are your thing (or you're not quite sure if they are) and you want a different kind of faerie tale (with some old English lore thrown in), this will be a great book for you.

Final Thought: 6 out of 8 toadstools
Review also available on GoodReads

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