The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
The Treachery of Beautiful Things tries very hard to be a fairy tale. It has dragons, damsels-in-distress, and magic quests. However, at some points The Treachery came across as trying too hard.
The writing style is descriptive — to the point where it’s distracting. Some odd sentence structures are used, an effort to be more of a traditional fairy tale, I’m sure. Lots of metaphors and similes fill the pages, all factors contributing to an over-the-top setting.
Jenny, the aforementioned damsel-in-distress, certainly doesn’t think about her actions. She constantly rushes into dangerous situations and then requires the help of Jack, her guardian, to rescue her. This got old pretty fast. I thought it was funny how Jenny kept saying she would finally save herself, only to end up having Jack save the day. The best way to describe Jenny would be to call her a Mary Sue. She could do no wrong, and when she made mistakes, it is only because she is so pure of heart. *eye roll*
The romance is one typical of YA: Girl + boy = instalove! Besides being awkward and not at all understandable, the romantic element was uninteresting.
Being modeled after a traditional faerie book, The Treachery has a cast of characters including Puck, Oberon, and Titania. Having read many books featuring them, The Treachery won’t stand out in my mind.
What fairy tale would be complete without a happily ever after? The conclusion is a happy one that tied up some loose ends and ignored others. Honestly, it is more of an ending than an actual conclusion.
The prose at times is pretty and the plot definitely has a lot going on. Containing both positives and negatives, The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a fairly average faerie book.