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The Treachery of Beautiful Things

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

On the B&N site, it categorizes it for ages 9-12, but it's s

On the B&N site, it categorizes it for ages 9-12, but it's shelved - and rightly so - in the Teen section. It's a disturbingly beautiful look at the world of Faerie and kids today wno know nothing of fairy tales but the Disney versions might have their minds blown....
On the B&N site, it categorizes it for ages 9-12, but it's shelved - and rightly so - in the Teen section. It's a disturbingly beautiful look at the world of Faerie and kids today wno know nothing of fairy tales but the Disney versions might have their minds blown. Look at Tinkerbell...she pops up in cartoons and toys as this sweet sprite, but in the J.M. Barrie original, she and Tiger Lily are mean as snakes because of jealousy. But that is the Faerie kingdom in a nutshell - beauty on the surface, but mischief and deadly spite underneath.

Long introduces us to Jenny and Tom in the prologue where the 10 and 14 year old siblings walk home through the forest. Tom is playing his flute, his prodigious talent marking him as someone special to his parents and teachers. No one asks him if this is what he chooses for himself. Jenny is a voracious reader and loves Tom's gift for the music itself, not for where his talent will take him. But Jenny is nervous of the woods, sensing ...something. So when the trees and the earth itself come alive and swallow her brother whole in front of her, Jenny is left with a feeling of survivor's guilt and the stamp of "crazy" when she keeps trying to tell people what really happened to her brother.

Seven years pass and Jenny has come home from boarding school on a short stay before she heads off to university in Scotland. She visits Branley Copse on a pilgrimage to say goodbye to her brother, hoping for some closure. What she finds instead is the sound of his distinctive flute, his curses when he flubs a note, and so she plunges deep into the woods that devoured her brother...and finds a whole new world.

Ms. Long does a divine job of evoking the gloriously verdant beauty of the woods, the evanescent fluttering of elven wings, and the treacherous two-faced world of the fey. Nothing is as it seems, and no one is to be trusted. All Jenny wants is to find her brother and bring him home, not realizing that 7 years under the thrall of Queen Titania has changed him into someone she hardly recognizes. Her only help comes from Jack of the Forest, a guardian of the woods whose ties to both Titania and King Oberon mean that his loyalty to her quest might be, well, questionable. Throw in Puck, half man, half goat, and wholly loyal only to himself. As champions, they appear to be lacking. But Jenny's innocence and desire to help other denizens of the woods even as she looks for Tom endear her to the creatures of the forest. Yet in the world of Faerie, that kind of innocence is only valuable as a sacrifice; and as Jenny gets closer to finding her brother and begins to examine her feelings for Jack, she'll have to decide just how much she's willing to give up to save the ones she loves.

posted by romancemistress on September 1, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things was a beautifully written, tho

The Treachery of Beautiful Things was a beautifully written, though complex, story of the fae of the old, dark fairly tales. In a few ways, I adored it. But in many respects, I was left agitated and lost.

Let me begin with what I liked about Treachery. I enjoyed the r...
The Treachery of Beautiful Things was a beautifully written, though complex, story of the fae of the old, dark fairly tales. In a few ways, I adored it. But in many respects, I was left agitated and lost.

Let me begin with what I liked about Treachery. I enjoyed the romantic, charming tone of Long's writing. The narrative was vividly detailed. I could picture the Realm, it's forest, creatures, and magic. I also enjoyed the character of Jack, who surprisingly dominated the story. I expected Treachery to be Jenny's story, but I felt a stronger connection and empathy for Jack. He was by turns sexy in "I'm complicated and dark" way, solemn and mysterious. He is torn between his oaths, his duty, his hopes. He is ruled by two opposing personalities. Without Jack, Treachery would have lost most of it's appeal.

So I'm sure you're dying to know how I felt about the main character, Jenny. My feelings for Jenny can be described best as "meh". I didn't hate her; I didn't love her. There were times when she was really brave, really smart. She didn't back down from her quest, regardless the personal cost. But then, she was so blind sometimes. I get it, characters make mistakes. I happen to love flawed characters. But I have a pet peeve when it comes to relationships, real or fictional: If a guy/girl tells you they are bad news, that they will get you hurt, maimed or your heart eaten, LISTEN TO THEM. Just do it. And I know, this is a fantasy, but when the heroine gets her panties in a twist after realizing that the guy who told her he was dangerous, actually meant what he was saying, well, that just grinds my gears. So most of the time, I just wanted the story to turn it's focus back to Jack. Deep, calming breath...

The actual story was interesting. I have read several stories about the fae and have enjoyed them. But in reading Treachery, I mostly felt lost. I knew who Oberon, Titania, Mab and Puck were (b/c I've read the Iron Fey series. Holla!). And I sort of understood who was working with/against whom. I didn't understand a lot of the long-standing dynamics of the Realm. It seemed that an extensive knowledge of the old faerie tales was needed to fully understand what was happening. There were underlying issues that seemed like they were common knowledge about the fae, that I didn't understand. Maybe not, though. Maybe it's just me and I've sniffed too much rubber cement in my time and it's coming back to haunt me. I would love to hear from someone who has read this to verify that yes, it is a bit confusing, or no, I just didn't read it right.

Overall, I can say The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a story that I both liked and disliked. I never felt as if I couldn't finish it, but I had to work hard to keep the details straight. I believe that I'm likely in the minority in my opinion of the book. With it's lush writing and dark charm, The Treachery of Beautiful Things will appeal to fans of dark faery tales.

posted by Andreat78 on September 4, 2012

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    What I Liked: 1) Great idea. I don't know if this is a retelling

    What I Liked: 1) Great idea. I don't know if this is a retelling of a fairy tale, because it's not something that I've ever encountered before. But I thought the story was very creative and unique. 2) Jack. He gives very little away, but I (along with Jenny) was inexplicably drawn to him. There are so many reasons that he tries to explain why she should stay away from him, yet she is still drawn to him. 3) Jenny's devotion to her brother. I love how hard she is working to try and find him. She knows he has to be there after he disappeared into the trees so many years ago, and now that she knows she wasn't crazy, she really will do anything to find him. It shows a lot of courage and love on her part. 4) I really loved some of the creepy and mysterious creatures that we met along her journey. I think they all have a basis in some old fairy tale stories, but they seemed so real and inventive. Real things to be wary of under the bed or in the closet!

    What I Didn't Like: Well...for all the good things I liked about this story, there was one thing that just didn't work for me, and that was how little emotion hit me. You could tell Jenny loved her brother, you could see she was falling for Jack, but why wasn't she able to endear herself to me as a reader? I needed more of an emotional connection from me to her, or me to Jack to feel more engaged, and it was just missing.

    Overall Thoughts: Fairy story lovers will definitely appreciate the themes and settings of this story, and the research that was done into fairy lore. Plot-wise the story held it's own and had a satisfying conclusion. There was some work to be done on the character development, but other than that, it was an enjoyable story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2014

    This was a darkly mesmerizing story about the fae. The story mix

    This was a darkly mesmerizing story about the fae. The story mixes romance with great writing and some solid secondary characters. My only pet peeve was that Jenny, the main character, was rather bland. I do look forward to reading the next book though. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Sinisterly Beautiful! Filled with beautiful imagery and mysteri

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Beautiful story

    Well-written with real (sometimes irritatingly so) characters (you know, as real as fantasy characters can be). Interesting, engrossing story. Recommended if you are a fan of fairy-tales.

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  • Posted August 16, 2012

    What first really drew me into this novel, was the cover. It jus

    What first really drew me into this novel, was the cover. It just looks
    so enchanting and rich with beautiful and simple colors; it invited me
    into the story. All in all, I feel this was a very nice tale. It kept
    you guessing, and was not that predictable to me. I have not read a
    fantasy story with Faeries in a while so this was pretty refreshing. I
    thought it was creative to have this other world, this forbidden realm
    for the main setting. We start out with siblings, Jenny and Tom, whom
    were 10 and 14 at the time, and while they were walking together in the
    outdoors, Tom basically got sucked and dragged by enchanted trees, and
    that is the last time Jenny sees her brother. Now, we fast forward to
    seven years, Jenny is 17, is planning to go to University, but for some
    reason she is brought back the place where Tom was hastily taken away.
    But...now she thinks she hears Tom, his music that she remembers so
    well; his mad skills with the flute. She thinks she's hearing stuff, but
    it just calls to her, and she goes farther into the forest, and is
    sucked in the forbidden realm. Since she is in this new world, she is
    convinced that Tom might still be alive, and she has to get him, from
    wherever he is. So on her journey, there are definitely some obstacles,
    but she receives some help from some sort of Guardian, Jack, but there's
    some stuff he's not telling her hmmm....Anyways, there are unexpected
    turns that start to happen, and will Jenny ever see her older brother
    again? How does she get away from a King and Queen that are convinced
    she is some sort of Queen, as what one has planned is not so nice. And
    then there's Jack, whom Jenny might be falling for, but what about him,
    what's in his...heart? Does he feel the same for her? These are all
    things to perhaps consider while reading, and I must say, it was just a
    wonderful read. There was a nice flow; writing style/language was pretty
    good; the characters were really well written, especially Jack (he's one
    to read!). By the end of this story, I found myself on the edge of my
    seat, and you will see why. I thought it was a beautiful ending,
    finishing on a happy note :)

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