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.
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This is beautifully written, full of imagination, fantasy and romance, with engaging characters that draw you in immediately. Jenny was the only witness to her brother Tom's disappearance and it's haunted her for the past seven years. She wants nothing more than to find a way to bring him back but she has no idea of how to do that. Dealing with the loss hasn't been easy on Jenny or her family and she decides it's time to move on. When she comes back to the spot where Tom was taken, intending to say a final farewell, she finds herself lured into the trees and begins an adventure that will test everything she's ever believed about bedtimes stories, fairy tales and love.
Once inside the forest, the very same one that claimed her brother, Jenny will be surrounded by creatures she only thought existed in make believe. She'll also discover that life beyond the trees can be more nightmare than happy ending and there is danger in beauty. Jack, the mysterious boy who promised to help her find Tom is no exception. He's brave, strong, and has a beauty all his own. Though they drive each other crazy at times, Jenny can sense that he's hiding something.
Being stuck in a land of mythical creatures who play by their own rules can have some serious disadvantages and Jenny will have to figure out who she can really trust. The closer she gets to Tom, the more dangerous her journey becomes and before it's over, Jenny will be forced to make a heart-wrenching choice between life and love. *clutches chest*
This vaguely reminded me of Julie Kagawa's "Iron Fey" series but was scarier and without Ash. On a personal note, I love that the main character's name is Jennifer or Jenny as she's known throughout the story!
The plot is pretty and dangerous. Beware of twist and turns with every page, paragraph, and chapter. With danger and beauty in every direction, the fey world is an interesting setting. Yes, Puck is here, but sadly not in the same way as Puck from the Iron Fey Series. After all, we all love that mischievous and hilarious Robin Goodfellow.
The fairy tale retelling part isn't as strong as the romance or suspense. It's rather a small portion. I forgot the title of the tale, but can tell you the plot of it. The girl finds a charming boy. The boy plays enchanting music. The girl is trapped into the boy's curse and has to find the boy before time runs out. The girl sees many of the boy's imposters and can't find the boy. Then she hears the boy's music and is lead to him. The girl holds the boy as he shifted form usually monstrous. She has to hold him until the curse breaks and then "Happily Ever After."
NOT! In this book, the ending has a slight twist, but unfortunately leaves me hanging to wonder what happen to the Fey World. What will happen to the other characters? Is there going to be a sequel to The Treachery of Beautiful Things? All these questions. So there is a loose ending in this book? It's a huge red mark in my book.
Jenny is, in my opinion, too boring. She's too Snow White and Cinderella to me. I feel if Jenny is a bit more warrior and fighter, The Treachery of Beautiful Things will be better and more entertaining, especially to older readers.
Jack is odd and unusual. In the Fey World, danger lies everywhere. You can't trust anybody and you should have learn from your previous lessons. But no, Jack trusted the wrong people and the worst rulers like Mab and Oberon. For a guy who lived in the magical world, he should be able to play with the strings better, but noooo!
Rating: Three out of Five
I don't know what I was expecting from this book, but it wasn't what I got. I guess it's because the book I had read right before had turned into such a disappointment, but I had low expectations for The Treachery of Beautiful Things and I was pleasantly surprised.
First off, let's all just take a minute to look at the cover. Wow. The front jacket and the back are both absolutely gorgeous, which is the main reason I picked up this book (and because I love stories about fey and fairy tales). But, to continue on with our examination of the book, the writing is BEAUTIFUL at times. And I really loved the characters, especially the baby, and Jack...and Puck...and Jenny(...and everyone).
There were also a few elements of Snow White (along with a few other tales) thrown into the plot, which kind of made my heart pitter patter when they appeared. The plot was actually a bit more complicated then YA plots are. There were a lot of things happening behind the scenes and if you didn't remember something that was mentioned five chapters ago, then you would think it was random. But, everything was set up to have maximum effect, and if the author told you the plant was green, then you might need to know that later. Okay, so not that tedious. But, it was a fun and exciting read and I highly recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed any of the many fairy series out there right now.
I look forward to reading more from this author, and until then I'll have to sate my fairy tale and fey tastes elsewhere. Toodles!
Release Date: 8-16-2012
Published by: Dial Books
Thank you Jen Fisher for letting me borrow it!
The Sisters Say: A darkly tragic tale of love and betrayal
When I first read the synopsis of this book, I didn’t know if I would enjoy it or not. I found the idea of getting swallowed by a tree a bit weird. However, after reading the rest of the blurb, I became intrigued by the idea of a world beyond our own, a world full of beauty and magic but laced with poison. As the weeks went by, I sort of became obsessed with wanting to read it; so I was super duper excited when Jen Fisher told me she had a copy I could borrow! YAY!
I’m so glad that I jumped on that opportunity. The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a bit Labyrinth, a bit Alice in Wonderland, but wholly and uniquely its own. I was drawn straight into Ruth’s world, from the moment the trees attacked. I loved watching this dark fairy tale unfold, full of frighteningly beautiful creatures, as deadly as they are enchanting. You will never see fairy princesses and knights in shining armor the same again!
While I enjoyed many of the characters in this book, my favorite part was still the world. Ruth wrote it out perfectly—every frightful and mesmerizing detail. I felt like I was watching a movie in my head. I could see the graceful and child-like Folletti flying around with their bow and arrows—their faces twisting with their trickery. I could see the peaceful river that would seduce you to enter, only to pull you to its depths and claim you as its own. I could see the watchful eye of the sun slowly sinking from the sky to surrender you to the darkness. Chilling and addictive, her world is like a drug!
Jenny is the heroine of the story—stuck inside this fantasy world full of temptation and riddles. She wants nothing more than to find Tom and bring him home—or so she thinks. But as she pushes through the forest with the aid of Jack and Puck, she starts to discover that Tom is not the only one who needs saving from this world. There were times I really liked Jenny, but other times that I thought she was childish. She could stand up and be firm and strong, but then she would give in to a temper tantrum. I wanted to see more of the adult Jenny—the one driven by desire and passion and a need to do the right thing. Unfortunately, we tended to see the Jenny that needs protection and sheltering than the girl that won the heart of the forest.
My favorite character (of course) is Jack. Just like every creature in the Realm, he has both a light and a dark side. He struggles against his vows to the King and Queen, wanting to help Jenny as much as he can; but he, like all the creatures, must bow to his oaths. I really enjoyed seeing his struggle between light and dark, good and evil. You could see the struggle in his face, the hard lines on his forehead, in the way he walked and in the way he talked. Ruth did a great job of building up his character, making him more than believable. I wanted to save him—to reach straight into the book and scoop him out. Of course, I always like the troubled characters—the broken boys that struggle to find the good in a sea of evil.
I really wish we could have seen more of the King and Queen. They were great characters—full of evil, and I think they could have made the story so much more suspenseful. However, they weren’t in the book very much until the very end. I would have loved to see more of them throughout the story. I kept picturing Oberon like the Goblin King in Labyrinth—one that tricks and deceives using mind control and dreams. There is even a scene in the book that is reminiscent of the masquerade ball in the movie. These are the scenes where I would have loved to see more of the treachery that was deeply rooted in these two characters.
While it did have its flaws, I found myself enjoying the storyline and rushing through to see how it ended. There were times when the story dragged with Jenny’s naïveté and childish demeanor, but not enough of them to really frustrate me.
Overall, this story was darkly entertaining. Ruth creates a world where beauty is danger, where a kiss can destroy you, and a heart can be your undoing. Open this book and let the trees swallow you whole—you might just not want to find your way back out.
I have very mixed feelings about The Treachery of Beautiful Things. I just finished it, so it's a little difficult to process, so I'll take it one thing at a time...
I loved the theme of this novel. When Jenny revisits the forest where years ago, her brother was snatched by the forest, instead of finding closure, she finds herself drawn in also and finds that the forest is both intensely beautiful and life-threateningly treacherous. She vows to find her lost brother, if only to save her broken family, and comes across blood-sucking Redcaps, soul-stealing gorgeous boys, and man-eating trees. But it is also about the family bond, love, compassion and courage in the face of danger - the qualities of a true May Queen (guess who it turns out to be).
This is a point in which I was severely disappointed in the novel. The characters, although "good", weren't necessarily likable.
Jenny's most often in the "damsel in distress" situation - be it with the aforementioned Redcaps, guys or pixies. One mean word from her new crush and she's running off into the arms of a guy who kisses her and sucks her soul. That leaves Jack (the crush) to feel guilty and journey to all sorts of places to save her. She couldn't have just talked it over? Maybe even ignored him like normal people? Other times, you find her foolishly rescuing a Leczi's ugly baby, which supposedly shows her deep compassion. And then suddenly, she can scare off the monsters, who a day ago, were about to tear her apart. That last part isn't necessarily a character flaw, just a flaw in logic.
I couldn't connect to the torn, tortured-soul Jack whose only memorable characteristic is that he has the one blue and one green eye. He's the guardian of the Edge, which means he must protect outsiders and must help them on their quests, but he has also foolishly promised his loyalty to both the king Oberon and the queen Titania (Mab) who are very much at odds.
Even the "bad guys" - well, you're supposed to hate them, right? Or love-hate them? Or feel as if they mattered in the story, other than just creating a reason for Jack to feel uncertain about his feelings for Jenny, and then when they finally get together in the end, to make it seem all the more magical. Every couple has to have hurdles, right? In this case, they were lame ones. It's not their fault they think they're so invincible!
Puck made a lot more of a mark on me than the other characters - he was mischievous and two-faced, but also caring and loyal when he was needed, but he wasn't even developed properly. He had minimum impact.
The writing style of this author is truly fabulous. She writes in this lyrical prose that brings out the wonder of the forest - the enchanting and the terrifying. However, I found it to be way too long and at times, too slow-paced for my liking. For the first half of the novel, not much occurred and even the action scenes weren't very quick and snappy. Although the book could maybe have used some cutting, I was awed by the pure talent this author has: the inconceivable surroundings, the forests' inhabitants, all felt completely real to me.
I feel cheated! I mostly requested this on Netgalley because of the gorgeous cover, but then I found out from a few mentions on Goodreads that the girl is just a stock photo and has been taken from the The Hedgewitch Queen cover! All they did was flip her, added the forest background, and drew flowers all over. That may be money-saving, but I am totally disappointed! Ack!!
The title, however, is both apt for the story and insightful about reality.
I have been wary of books about fairies since the last book I read about faeries. (It didn’t turn out very well.) But I was willing to give this a chance, because it wasn’t focused solely on fairies. The cover was beautiful, but like the title says, beautiful things can be deceiving.
This cover was no deception to how awesome the book is.
I was constantly pulled into the story; the descriptions of the Realm are hauntingly beautiful. Ah, it reminds me of Labyrinth and Pan’s Labyrinth (the movies), the way everything is a riddle and full of illusions. Which is how all fairytales are, I guess.
Jack and Jenny are by far some of the sweetest and most heart breaking characters I have ever read about! I seriously never wanted this story to end.
And the ending is perfect! ;)