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on December 16, 2012
I saw this book mentioned on several people's TBR lists, so I added it to mine. I award this book 3.5 stars.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things (which by the way, I think the title is one of the strongest points of the book-- love it!) by Ruth Frances Long is about Jenny, a girl who has lost her older brother, Tom, a long seven years ago, when the woods ate him. No one believes her, and after many psychiatrists, she has just stopped talking about it. Then one day, she hears Tom play his flute and follows it into the woods, where she has dreaded to set foot in for so long. She meets Jack, a mysterious Guardian, and Puck, his small friend, and she undertakes a very dangerous journey to save her long lost brother.

There are some really wonderful things about this book. The writing is very beautiful and I can imagine this Faery like land. Jenny is a likeable heroine, and Jack is fun love interest. I really loved the ending, which caused me to round this up to 4 stars.

That said, I had some major issues with this book as well. The middle drags a lot as we are waiting for things to happen. There are a lack of plot twists, and a large amount of time is spent on watching Jenny bumble around the forest. While beautifully described, I had to sometimes push forward to get to the end.

That said, I think that Long has promise as a writer, and I think she can only improve from here on out.
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on March 30, 2016
Wow! I was definitely curious and hesitant to read this book. I'm an adult and after seeing the grade 7 suggested reading, I was expecting something more elementary. Wrong! Don't hesitate on this one. She doesn't dumb down vocabulary; great words for young adults to add to their own vocabulary. It's still a YA book. I'm actually excited to read it again because there were so many hints about destiny and symbolism along the way.

When I first started reading I was suprised to see a modern small town society. The mood shifts to fairytale when she enters the realm of the farie. Think mysterious and dangerous creatures, a seemingly hopeless romance, and an evil king & queen, bundled with a dangerous quest and oaths that must be fullfilled. Once there, she is surrounded in beauty and terror.

I wasn't sure how I felt about the book to begin; I finished Cruel Beauty by Rosamond Hodge- which is darker than this book- and needed another fix. With The Tretchery of Beautiful Things, I seemed to have another hook that pulled me in deeper or another question I needed answered with each chapter. Although some moments had predetiable outcomes and an ending I suspected, I was suprised by the journey. How everything would come together was well done. It's tradgic, romantic, heroic, happy. I was pleasantly suprised!

This is NO disney fantasy. The creatures here are mischievous, selfish, and dangerous; loyalty is given but betrayed just as easily. Jenny must decide who she can trust on the quest to save her brother. Will Jack, the Forest Guardian, help her or use her to gain his own freedom? Can she trust a brother she hasn't seen in 7 years whose under the Queens spell? As the forest senses her mortality, will it seek to kill her?

Our heroine, Jenny, is full of love and kindness, and great compassion- something the forest doesn't understand. Our hero, Jack, is at odds with the reality of what he believes he is, his honor bound duty, and his impending fate...not to mention Jenny's destiny.

Think the darkness of some of the Brothers Grimm stories. It is not a bleak story or terribly scary. The creatures there do desire her blood or her soul. She is held captive by a someone who allows awful creatures to suck her blood at night. No curse words if memory serves me correctly. The romance is well done; only kisses and expressions of desires to keep each other safe. She doesn't get along very well with her mom, but not a whole lot is mentioned about parents.
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on August 19, 2012
When I look for a good book, I look for something that transports me from my world into the story. I want to get lost and whether the story is pretty or not, I want to feel like I'm a way from my world and in another. While reading The Treachery of Beautiful Things not only did I get fully immersed in another world, but I was reminded of the fairy tales I read as a child that weren't always so pretty, that had bad things happen in them to teach lessons and punish and sometimes just because. As I read, I remembered those old stories and was enchanted by fairy tales once again. These were the fairies I grew up with, not the ones that have been created by some of my favorite authors. These are the ones to be frightened of at night and when you walk in the woods alone.

Jenny and Tom, sister and brother are walking home from his flute lesson when Tom is literally snatched by the trees in Branley Copse when he was just fourteen and she was ten. It haunts her for years through countless psychiatrists and pills they try to convince her she didn't see what she saw. And her mother and father silently blame her, she thinks, wishing it were her instead of him. But, after she graduates from boarding school, she faces her fears and thinking she hears Tom playing his flute, she ventures into the woods. At once, she finds herself not in Branley Copse, but in a different world, the fairy world though she doesn't know it yet, and she learns the lesson of the treachery of beautiful things.

Such a befitting title. It conveys so many meanings. Jenny is caught up in a war between Titania and Oberon between Mab and Titania between the Oak King and Oberon between the Wild and the Tame, between the Fae and Human. It's a timeless war fought for centuries and the winners never seem to change. Jenny meets Puck who goes by many names and Jack, who also goes by many names, one very surprising to me. Jack guards the edge between the two worlds and it is his job to escort Jenny back to the edge to her world. But she wants to stay to find Tom. And Jack can't escort her at night. He has other duties at night. So misadventures begin and Jenny learns that she can't trust anyone. Jack does give her a few rules like don't eat anything except fruit or water so she won't become Fae. She remembers these rules and a few others as the story goes on to keep herself safe.

I found it a little hard to get into the rhythm of the writing but after a few chapters I began to fall right into the story. Jenny is smart and after an encounter with "beautiful things" that leaves her hurt, she is mistrusting of anyone and anything. She does find herself in need of rescuing a few times, but she's also the rescuer of more than one thing in the forest. She is the antithesis of all that is wrong in this Fairyland. Jack is described as mercurial and I'll agree to that, though there are reasons for it and I was just waiting for the full truth to be revealed.

Puck is Puck. He's a trickster, not to be trusted, sometimes to be trusted. a friend, a betrayer. He's just Puck, but how can you not like Puck? He was there when it counted the most and that's what mattered. Jenny knew not to trust him yet she did anyway because who else could she trust?

The Sidhe, the Queen's court, is as cold and unfeeling as Titania. The first we see of her is when she is trying to track the Piper, who we believe might be Tom, who has run away from her. He's to be the blood tithe in a few days time and they need to find him. When the tracker is unable to locate him, she gives him a head start then sends her hounds after him. The Sidhe courtiers, with Titania behind them, follow with glee as the hounds tear him to shreds.

This is a long story, almost four hundred pages, but any shorter and it would feel rushed. It has beautiful, lush imagery and dark adventure. The woods are alive and something is always watching them be it day or night as Jenny, Jack and Puck travel to find Tom. It's a great story and again, you'll get lost in the telling of it. There are creatures from all over the fairy lore, Kobolds, Nixies, Sprites, Goblins, Elves, Foletti, and Leczis. There's even a dragon.

It made for a beautiful fairy tale and one I won't soon forget. It isn't typical, it isn't a retelling as far as I know, but it was sure worth the reading. It was a savory read, not one I rushed through. I took three days to read it instead of one and I enjoyed each and every word. Definitely going on the special shelf.

Great for any lover of fairy tales, just not the sweet lovable fairies. This was a clean read though the protagonist is older, just graduated I think any YA lover of fantasy would enjoy it.

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on September 12, 2013
Sinisterly Beautiful!

Filled with beautiful imagery and mysterious characters. This story really brought out the dangerous world of the fey and kept you guessing. You never could tell who was truly a friend or a foe. I liked that things weren't always so black and white in this story as far as what constitutes good and evil. There were a lot of characters who even though they did bad things weren't necessarily bad themselves and vice versa.

Jenny was very noble and kind. I really admired her for her determination and loyalty. It has been 7 years since she had last seen her brother and despite all insistence that her brother wasn't taken by the forest she still hasn't given up on him. She was sweet and even when she had nothing to gain she still did what she believed was right no matter the opposition.

Jack was an interesting character. He wasn't an inherently good person, but he tried his best to help others.He was a complicated character that I enjoyed getting to know. I really liked the sweet romance between Jenny and Jack. It wasn't insta love which was nice. When they first met they weren't that fond of each other, but over time they came to appreciate the little quirks that each of them had.

This is an exciting story with a wonderful blend of fae folk lore and sweet romance. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a great adventure with a dash of romance!
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on May 24, 2014
This book had a really strong start only to drop off into boredom a little more than halfway through. It became a little weird with the moving trees. A little juvenile. But after reading further I could overlook it. When Jenny's brother is taken by something moving in the trees, she spends years mourning the brother she lost. Finally Jenny goes back to where Tom was taken and ends up being led into Fae Realm. Their she meets Jack. Guardian of the forest. And honestly the rest is hard to remember. I just remember telling myself that I had to read one more page. Just one more. That's it almost done...then I was done. Their were some things that I did really like, the color of Jacks eyes, one blue one green. I liked the ugly baby that Jenny saved after the father was killed.....another thing. I usually enjoy books with fairies. I do. But why does every fairy book seem like it has the name Oberon? Titania or titiana? Or a puck even? It's more than a little nerve wracking. A bit of imagination and I feel like the names could have been changed. That's it. I'm done.....
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on January 5, 2013
this book was really good. there were parts that were far better than others, especially the beginning and the dangerous troubling parts, these parts were excellent. i have to say out loud and very clear that i cannot see this book being a final 'the end'. if it is i would say that i'm not happy. the ending was not an ending because i have no idea what happened to jack after 'that' chapter and i have no idea what happened to anyone else, including jenn. i say this even though both of these characters ***spolier*** are in the final chapter, but how is the question. also, i love when authors write poetically, it's very fluid and beautiful and interesting to me. BUT i do not like when that poetry leaves me wondering still. i want an answer. i want to know what's at the end of the fluid words taunting me...even if the answer is many many many chapters away. that's why i'm find out. i would read this book, especially if you love fairy magic, and the danger and beauty of unknown worlds that may or may not be just inside our very own forests. either way, it's good...but i'm thinking she's going to have to write something to follow up...or if she doesn't...i guess i'll just never know.
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on January 14, 2013
This story is truly captivating. To summarize first:
At a young age Jenny witnesses her brother Tom's abduction, seemingly at the hands of a forest. You can imagine how disconcerting this might be. Add to that the fact that he was a musical prodigy, the apple of their parent's eyes...and Jenny discovered deep in the trees screaming for her brother and raving about forest monsters stealing Tom...she didn't come across as the picture of sanity.
To top things off, Jenny, a painful reminder of her brother, is sent away too boarding school. She is ever the outcast; she doesn't escape her stigma with distance. She can't be around wooded areas without having a nervous breakdown or at the very least a severe panic attack. Upon thankfully finishing her final year and returning home, she's finally ready to face her fears and say goodbye to Tom. After entering the woods she is shocked to hear what must be her brother's music filtering through the trees. And although she is convinced it cannot possibly be real, she finds herself racing to see him, too catch just a glimpse of her long lost brother. The adventure that finds her next could never be retold or she would find herself in a straight jacket faster than she could blink.

This story reads with an almost poetic rhythm. At times it seems like they was even a rhyming scheme. It's not over worked or kitschy at all though. It is a tale that flows effortlessly from one chapter to the next. This is definitely a paranormal romance, and although classified as young adult literature it is a wonderful read for lovers of this genre regardless of age. And though it is a refreshing take on the world of Faerie, many characters and their accompanying backstories are pleasantly familiar.
I was so engaged in the tale that I looked up as the sun came up--simultaneously dismayed that I had to get ready for work with zero sleep and irritated that I had to put the book down so close to the end. And though this is probably a stand-alone novel, I found myself wishing at the end that the story could go on and the characters had more adventures awaiting them. I know I've been vague (ha ha), but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this one to any lover of paranormal and/or fantasy novels. This is not strictly defined by romance, although there are both sweet and dark romantic themes. Just buy the darn book. It's awesome. I can't wait to read more from this author!!
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on May 9, 2014
i bought this book for our HS library because of the cover...then i read it. i remember reading shakespeare and being confused. this book reminds me of that. if you are versed in fairy tales, this is a great read. if you are expecting harlequein lite...this is not that. holla.
if you loved "a midsummers night dream", "faerie tale", or even "lords and ladies"...this is your read.
was it perfect? close four and one-half stars
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on September 22, 2013
I love poetry, and I love stories that flow gracefully with beautiful images and emotions--like poetry. This book definitely has that going for it. The writing is graceful and musical. It moves in a way that I think works well with the magic of the world the author has created.

However, if you aren't really into poetry or wistful writing, then this will probably just annoy you.

There were some great concepts in the book. Some of the creatures were quite terrifying (note: Redcaps...just...yikes).

I absolutely loved the story. I loved the ideas, the world, the creatures, the combination of various mythologies, the images the writing brought to mind.

I can't give it five stars, however, because as other reviewers have mentioned, there is a certain...disconnect. I didn't really feel much for the main character. She seemed fairly shallow. I feel as if the author spent a lot of time creating this intricate world in which to place her characters, and yet...sort of neglected to actually develop said characters fully.

That, I believe, is the major flaw with this book.

It was a very beautiful read. The characters just need to be a bit more solidified, that's all.
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on January 7, 2013
The book starts off with a bang and is absolutely enchanting in that way. I love the fairyworld Long creates. However, there are times when the dynamics of the fairyworld do not quite make any sense.

*Spoilers* for example, when Jack was taken to talk to the Queen and she seem to be trying to seduce him. The whole theme about conflicting loyalties is difficult to understand too and it ironically seemed to diminish Jack's character development. At times Jack was such a jerk that it was hard to like him and his identity crisis get irritating.

-End of Spoilers-

Also, Some of the things Jenny make her seem very annoying, complicating the desire to truely relate and enjoy her character at some points.

That being said, the romance was beautifully written and honestly had me gasping for air at one particular point. The ending is fabulous, leaving you to want more about books with these characters, the world they live in, and simply more books from the author. I agree with one of the other reviewers who says that the author's writing can only improve from here and will be great reads.
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