Title: The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Author: Ruth Frances Long
Publishing Information: April 16, 2012, Dial Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fairytale
Series information: Standalone!
Format: Hardcover, 363 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Recommended For: Fans looking for a magical tale about love, jealousy, mischief, and happy endings.
As Jenny and her brother Tom were walking through the woods on their way home one day, her brother was taken by the woods. That’s right, he wasn’t abducted in the sense you would think, but quite literally, the woods reached out and swallowed him whole. Before Jenny is able to leave for college she comes to the conclusion that she must make peace with the woods, so she travels back to the place where her brother was taken, and is then taken by the woods herself.
Thankfully (in my opinion) Jenny finds herself in the land of faerie and finds that her brother is now a grown man, and the lover of Queen Titania. Jack and Puck (yes – that Puck) do their best to convince her to leave the wood but she refuses, determined to rescue her brother before leaving. Thankfully she is not on her own as Jack and Puck realize that she isn’t leaving and therefore do their best to keep her safe.
I loved these characters. Jenny was determined and intelligent, but also flawed. She found herself in trouble and did her best to finagle her way out of tricky situations but I found her distress believable as she did need saving on more than one occasion. Jack o’ the forest was quite possibly my favorite. He was complicated in the sense that he believed (and some could argue) that he was not the hero of a tale, but a man bound by duty who did not always fall on the pure side of the line. Additionally, I found their romance to be believable and fun to watch unfold. It wasn’t instantaneous, but sweet and not without fault. More importantly, though the novel didn’t revolve around their romance, it was still a subtle, yet important aspect and fleshed out the novel beautifully. I was particularly fond of Puck, who you may remember from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was the same mischievous, and fun character that I remembered but I found him to be more layered in this novel. I don’t know what it is but when he did something “good” I found my heart skip a beat a little. I liked what the author did with her secondary characters, Tom was extremely interesting in how his music took an important role in creating his character. Titania was fiercer and slightly more evil than I remember (for reasons I can’t divulge here), she was more in charge of Oberon, who truly just seemed to love the queen and be at a loss on what to do with (and without) her.
“Beware a kiss, he told her. Kisses are powerful things. You expose part of your soul.”
It is really not question that I was bound to adore The Treachery of Beautiful Things. I mean, lets be serious, any novel that has characters from Shakespeare’s plays is bound to be an Alyssa book, not to mention the swoons, and hello? The whole thing takes place in a forest. I LOVE FORESTS. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I loved the book for those reasons but I am no fool, there has to be some uniqueness in a novel for me to have full out adoration, and friends, The Treachery of Beautiful Things has all of those things! The fey world was beautiful, intricate, and at times a tad creepy, the characters were layered and interesting, not once was I bored while reading throughout this novel. I do have to be up front here and say that though I did appreciate the way the novel ended, it wasn’t how I pictured it in my mind, nor was it the ideal ending that I had hoped for. That isn’t to say it wasn’t appropriate or lovely, because it definitely was.
Ruth Frances Long writes glorious prose, she has an innate ability to weave words together to create something magical and I can hardly wait to see what she write next, though I must admit I would like some more Jack, please!!