Monday, 10 March 2014

Book Review: "The Treachery of Beautiful Things", by Ruth Frances Long


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.
--picture and summary from


I read this book way back in the summer, so some of my memories may be hazy. I'll try to give the overall impression I felt of this book. Please note that my opinions are merely that--opinions. To find out what YOU would think of it, I recommend you read it for yourself. Now, onwards...

First of all, the author has a flare for lyrical, descriptive prose. While reading, I felt Jenny's entrapment, felt the awe and wonder and terror of this creepy, beautiful world into which she had stumbled. The forest is a character of itself, deceptive and treacherous. It was horrifying and enthralling!

Looking back, this book had a very "The Labyrinth"-esque feel to it, what with a girl having to save her brother from some sort of otherworldly creatures. I loved that aspect--it offered a mythical feel to the world. As well, the author draws on Celtic and, I believe, Norse mythology in order to create the background of the story. As someone not as well-read in these as I would like, I did not quite understand the importance of some of the characters. For instance, there was one scene with Jack and another character that I felt had layers to it, but because certain aspects weren't explained, it was very vague.

Perhaps that was my biggest issue: for all the dreamlike, gorgeous quality of it, the story was vague in that I could not quite connect to Jenny and Jack as "real people". There are not many characters in the story--there's Jenny, Jack, her brother, Puck, and then a lot of fairy creatures that do not get any development at all. Jack and Jenny are the main characters, and for most of the book, the plot revolves around their romance.

To me, this detracted from the more emotional plot line of a girl searching for her brother, a brother who has been missing for so many years.

As well, because the book did not have a lot of characters, I felt it could have been shorter. It was almost 400 pages long, but there was no wide range of characters to make those pages sparkle. So at places the plot dragged.

But, I believe this is the author's debut novel, and with such beautiful writing, I would definitely pick up another of her works!