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The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth…
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The Treachery of Beautiful Things

by Ruth Long

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I have had this book on my “to be read” pile for a long time and was excited to finally read it. I have always love the cover of this book and was been drawn to the synopsis. This ended up being an okay read; I like a lot of the story elements but thought the writing could have flowed better.

This book is a young adult book about the faerie that inhabit the woods near Jenny’s house. Although these woods and creatures at first seem to be beautiful and wondrous, Jenny quickly finds that they hide danger and cruelty beneath their fair skin. Jenny must fight through these evil beings to find and save her brother.

I am a huge fan of dark faerie themed books like this. I loved some of the interesting fae in here and enjoyed the dark overtone to the story. However I had some trouble engaging with both the story and the characters. The story just didn’t flow well and I really struggled to stay interested.

The above being said I did really enjoy the last quarter of the book; things picked up pace and I was much more into the story. However, this didn’t quite make up for the fact that I had to struggle through the beginning portions.

Overall this was an okay book about dark faerie and a sister striving to rescue her brother from their clutches. There is some action and adventure in here and also some romance. I enjoyed the fae creatures and their world, but struggled with the writing. The story just didn’t flow that well and I really had to work to get through this book. There are much better YA books out there about dark fae; make sure to check out the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa if you are interested in this topic and haven’t read it. ( )
  krau0098 | Oct 11, 2017 |
I got halfway through and I just could not make myself finish this, so I skimmed the rest. Years ago, Jenny's brother (a gifted musician) disappeared into the woods. Jenny has lived in fear of the woods ever since, but at last is determined to conquer her fears and steps foot in them once more. No sooner does she do so than she is swept up into the inexplicable world of the Fey. Her only guide is Jack, but he disappears at night because he turns into the Greenman, uuuuugh so obvious and so Jenny does not know if she can trust him. Meanwhile, Jack is torn between his sworn oath to Oberon and his hope that Titania will give back his heart. Lots of magical stuff happens in the wood and inevitably Jenny will turn into the May Queen and free her brother Tom from being the next Tam Lin (again, SO OBVIOUS) and free Jack. I did like the clever way this happens, actually--in the final confrontation Titania turns Jack into his tree form in order to make Jenny let go of him, as in the classic Tam Lin ballad. She does not let go, even though his briars prick her, making her bleed. And then Puck calls upon the forest fae to declare their loyalty--and they do, to the Oak (aka the tree Jack has turned into) and to the queen who has spilled blood upon him. So Titania's own actions lead to her defeat, which I thought was quite nicely done.

Overall, I just wasn't impressed by this. There's enough power and weight and history in the sidhe tales this draws on that Jenny and Jack's romance felt small and unimportant compared to it. And unfortunately, Long's writing is just not up to the epic task this story sets for her. I'd rather reread Pamela Dean, Susan Cooper, or Jane Yolen, who've done far more interesting and intense work with these tales. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This was a really good book. I liked all the characters and I like the main character Jenny. I hadn't read in a long time, so when I went to the library and saw this book cover I thought I would give it a try. I wasn't disappointed and rather enjoyed the book. I liked the concept of a girl going to try and find her brother only to find a whole new world on the other side of the forest. ( )
  millett23 | Jul 13, 2015 |
Honestly, I just didn't appreciate this book. Too many cliches, ridiculous powers, stupid characters, etc. I'm probably just cynical about these sort of books because I've read too many like them.

Jenny has always been afraid of trees ever since they snatched up her older brother seven years ago. But when she hears sounds of her brother in the forest, she has to go brave her fears and other faerie creatures to get him back.

Blah. There are just too many things I hate. I hate Jenny for being stupid. She expects a complete stranger to help her and then make ridiculous demands. The only redeeming quality of her character is stubbornness, and that isn't even a redeeming quality in my book. Not to mention her stubbornness is more revealed by other characters calling her stubborn than her actually sticking to her decisions and being smart. In fact, she's usually just foolish as she jumps stupidly into danger and wanders around the forest on her own, or picks up potentially dangerous babies, or goes to a river and kisses potentially dangerous faerie creatures. And then out of the blue she's the May Queen with power! Oh whoop de doo. Go figure. This ridiculous character with no personality or intelligence gets to be queen. How surprising.

I hate the lore in this book. Usually I am intrigued by this type of book and I love figuring out how the author will play on past legends or fairy tales, but not in this book. Here, there's a mishmash of strange legends that sort of rely on the reader to already know the references, but then changes it in strange and useless ways. For example, the mashup of Mab and Titania is just a strange thing to do. Especially since Mab is of ice and Titania is the summer queen. It doesn't really make sense and doesn't really make the story more interesting. Same with the use of Oberon. Obviously the reader has to know a little about Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet, and maybe a little bit of other faerie books and some Norse mythology for the name Loki... But then the changes to these characters in these books are not useful. What's the point? You might as well make up completely new characters. It's like she does these changes just because she wants to make something different just for the heck of it.

I think the plot is kinda stupid too. For example, the woodsman and his wife feeding Jenny to the aired Caps is completely insane and unrealistic. They should know their vows would be broken to Nature and be destroyed. They're fairies for goodness sakes. So why do they make such a stupid choice? Dumb plot. Another example: saving that baby and returning it to the mom in front of the dragon. Oh yeah, duh that proves she's the May Queen and not just an emotional girl who doesn't think things through. Another example: the wager to find Jack. Why was it so easy? Why were the betrayals and the false promises so pointless at the end?

I just can't.
I don't really have any kind words for the book and that makes me a little sad. I guess the only thing I can say is that sometimes the syntax and phrasing or descriptions are quite nice.

One star. I honestly didn't like the book. It's a bad version of a Tithe by Holly Black.
Not recommended. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Honestly, I just didn't appreciate this book. Too many cliches, ridiculous powers, stupid characters, etc. I'm probably just cynical about these sort of books because I've read too many like them.

Jenny has always been afraid of trees ever since they snatched up her older brother seven years ago. But when she hears sounds of her brother in the forest, she has to go brave her fears and other faerie creatures to get him back.

Blah. There are just too many things I hate. I hate Jenny for being stupid. She expects a complete stranger to help her and then make ridiculous demands. The only redeeming quality of her character is stubbornness, and that isn't even a redeeming quality in my book. Not to mention her stubbornness is more revealed by other characters calling her stubborn than her actually sticking to her decisions and being smart. In fact, she's usually just foolish as she jumps stupidly into danger and wanders around the forest on her own, or picks up potentially dangerous babies, or goes to a river and kisses potentially dangerous faerie creatures. And then out of the blue she's the May Queen with power! Oh whoop de doo. Go figure. This ridiculous character with no personality or intelligence gets to be queen. How surprising.

I hate the lore in this book. Usually I am intrigued by this type of book and I love figuring out how the author will play on past legends or fairy tales, but not in this book. Here, there's a mishmash of strange legends that sort of rely on the reader to already know the references, but then changes it in strange and useless ways. For example, the mashup of Mab and Titania is just a strange thing to do. Especially since Mab is of ice and Titania is the summer queen. It doesn't really make sense and doesn't really make the story more interesting. Same with the use of Oberon. Obviously the reader has to know a little about Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet, and maybe a little bit of other faerie books and some Norse mythology for the name Loki... But then the changes to these characters in these books are not useful. What's the point? You might as well make up completely new characters. It's like she does these changes just because she wants to make something different just for the heck of it.

I think the plot is kinda stupid too. For example, the woodsman and his wife feeding Jenny to the aired Caps is completely insane and unrealistic. They should know their vows would be broken to Nature and be destroyed. They're fairies for goodness sakes. So why do they make such a stupid choice? Dumb plot. Another example: saving that baby and returning it to the mom in front of the dragon. Oh yeah, duh that proves she's the May Queen and not just an emotional girl who doesn't think things through. Another example: the wager to find Jack. Why was it so easy? Why were the betrayals and the false promises so pointless at the end?

I just can't.
I don't really have any kind words for the book and that makes me a little sad. I guess the only thing I can say is that sometimes the syntax and phrasing or descriptions are quite nice.

One star. I honestly didn't like the book. It's a bad version of a Tithe by Holly Black.
Not recommended. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
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Seven years after the forest seemingly swallowed her brother whole, seventeen-year-old Jenny, whose story about Tom's disappearance has never been believed, sets out to finally say goodbye, but instead she is pulled into a mysterious world of faeries and other creatures where nothing is what it seems.… (more)

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