Author: Ruth Frances Long
Genre: YA, paranormal, urban fantasy, romance
Publication Date: August 16, 2012 (Penguin – North America)
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
Summary: 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.
☆: 2.5/5 – beautifully written, but just a little too old school for me.
Review: While the beginning was really promising with creepy, child-stealing forests and flute-playing and faeries, it kind of petered out halfway into so many faerie tales we’ve heard in YA before. I hate writing this review because even though it was so gorgeously written, the plot just…didn’t really happen for me. So I’m kind of torn about this title, in more ways than one.
“Treachery” takes the old-school route of storytelling, and while that was nice to read, I found that it blends that old-school storytelling with some very tired YA tropes – the most annoying of which is insta-love. Of COURSE she falls for Jack. And then there’s the quasi-love-triangle with Oberon. There’s also a lot of rattling of sabers about the purity myth (I mean, dude kisses her and literally sucks out her SOUL – if that isn’t an endorsement of the purity myth, I don’t know what is). And while the old-school look at how to interact with faeries was interesting, as I feel like we haven’t seen it much since Melissa Marr’s far more dark and lush “Wicked Lovely” series.
What “Treachery” really had going for it was the sensory imagery and language that Long is absolutely fantastic with, along with the wonderfully creepy first few chapters. This ability with sensory language really saved the book for me, and made it worth while to continue until the end. Spooky English woods? YES, AWESOME, MORE PLEASE. Even in the parts where I was trying not to roll my eyes with the YA tropes, I was able to keep reading and appreciating the hell out of Long’s ability with really weaving a visually lush and gorgeous story. It’s what helped me keep reading until the end.
One last thing that turned me off: the damsel-in-distress. I really don’t like passive heroines, and unfortunately, Jenny was one of them. She lost her brother, and I felt like the stakes for her should have been higher and driving her harder to get the hell out of faerie, but got a lot of her needing to be saved by Jack right and left instead. She had no fire, and all of the motivations were in place for her to be an awesome heroine, too. That was the most frustrating part. She had all of the great stakes that are needed for a fire-filled, intense heroine with the opportunity for awesome shenanigans and it just didn’t happen.
But this is just how I feel – I’m not one for damsels in distress. However, I would recommend this book for the writing alone – it’s definitely gorgeous to behold. “The Treachery of Beautiful Things” is out now from Penguin in North America, so be sure to check it out and come to your own conclusions!