The Treachery of Beautiful Things

The Treachery of Beautiful Things

4.1 20
by Ruth Long
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Our must-read for the end of summer.” —HuffingtonPost.com

“A delicious and wonderfully romantic meld of several legends and fairy tales…” —Booklist, starred review

“Entrapment in a faerie forest has never been so delectable yet thorny…romantic yet sacrificial.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A heady atmosphere of folk tales, suspenseful terror, and passionate romance.” —VOYA

Publishers Weekly
Like the myriad tales and ballads that are her sources, fantasy author Long, in her first YA book, presents Faerie as a dazzle of strange creatures, unknowable motives, and threat. Caught in the chaos is 17-year-old Jenny, whose brother, Tom, was snatched by a tree-man seven years earlier. Seeking catharsis for her guilt, Jenny goes to the edge of the wood and hears the flute Tom always played. She plunges after it into a primeval world. Long’s rich knowledge of folklore is the blessing and the curse of her plot: each scene is vividly, often horrifically imagined, but there are too many characters, terrors to fear, and secrets to parse. Puck, the Wild Hunt, Redcaps, the greenman, the court of the Sidhe—everything gets a turn. Individual episodes play out like the short tales from which they derive, but do not cohere to build steady narrative tension. Long is a solid writer, but when nearly every encounter ends in betrayal, it’s difficult not to grow jaded by the parade of wonders. Ages 12–up. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary and Media. (Aug.)
Booklist (starred review)
"Delicious and wonderfully romantic...Lyrical prose, along with highly imaginative and descriptive phrasing, makes the forest setting—and its creatures and people—immediately present and sparked with magic."
Booklist
"Delicious and wonderfully romantic...Lyrical prose, along with highly imaginative and descriptive phrasing, makes the forest setting—and its creatures and people—immediately present and sparked with magic.
MundieMoms.com
"If you only pick up one fey book this year, make it this one!"
BCCB
"[The] malice that underlies the world's beauty plays out the title to the fullest and adds a substantial bit of true gruesomeness to what is already a suspenseful story."
VOYA - Walter Hogan
At the age of ten, Jenny was the only witness to a tragic incident. Her musically gifted older brother, Tom, mysteriously disappeared as the pair walked along the edge of a large wooded lot, Branley Copse. Jenny saw ancient trees reach out and drag her brother into the forest, but the police could find no trace of Tom, and no one believed her story. After years of recriminations and therapy, Jenny returns to the forest edge to say a final goodbye. Startled to hear haunting strains of a flute, Jenny takes a few steps into the wood and finds herself cut off from the modern world and drawn into the same dark and dangerous fairy realm into which Tom had been stolen. Jenny's brother has become piper to Titania, the violent and jealous fairy queen, and has nearly forgotten his previous life. During her quest to rescue Tom, Jenny is exposed to a series of frightening ordeals by elemental tree and water spirits before her final, decisive confrontations with the powerful fairy king and queen. As per the title, so much that is beautiful in the faerie realm is not safe or wholesome, so when Jenny is aided by a mysterious and compelling wild boy, Jack, does she dare trust her heart and her life to him? Long, the Irish author of several adult-market romantic fantasies, packs her debut young adult novel with a heady atmosphere of folk tales, suspenseful terror, and passionate romance. At times a bit overwrought, the novel should nevertheless appeal to many teen girls. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—As a child Jenny saw her older brother Tom swallowed up by trees that came to life. At 17, she has struggled for years with what she saw. No one believed her story, her parents have withdrawn into sorrow for their missing son, and she is ostracized by her peers. When preparing to leave for university, Jenny decides to visit the spot of Tom's snatching, and while there she hears music, the kind only her prodigy of a brother could make, and she runs into the wood searching for him-despite her terror. The small stand of suburban trees becomes a gigantic forest as she runs, and Jenny finds herself trapped in Faerie. Full of gorgeous beauty, the realm also holds danger, treachery, and intrigue. Estranged King Oberon and Queen Titania both want Jenny for their own ends, and the creatures she meets on her quest to rescue Tom are not what they seem, especially the Guardian of the Edge, Jack, to whom Jenny is irresistibly drawn. He, too, finds her irresistible and wants to protect her, but he is already torn between two powerful feuding Courts. Also, Jenny unknowingly brings her own kind of power into Faerie-enough perhaps to change the balance of power and free not only her much-changed brother, but even to break the enchantments binding Jack. Vivid imagery brings the lush, dangerous world alive, and the story moves at a brisk pace. The immediate connection forged between Jenny and Jack will melt the hearts of romantic readers and have them rooting for the pair to overcome the impossible odds they face.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Entrapment in a faerie forest has never been so delectable yet thorny, green yet purple, romantic yet sacrificial. Years ago, Jenny and her brother walked past a copse. His flute-playing excited the trees, which grabbed him and stole him. After seven years of nightmares and psychiatrists, Jenny returns to the copse and gets swirled into the Realm, which is teeming with fae. These range from Folletti, whose "wings [make] different colored lights as they fluttered," to archetypal figures Titania, Oberon and Puck (though this is no Midsummer Night's Dream). Trees, leaves and soil make a palpable forest setting through which Jenny runs, bleeds and swoons, seeking her brother. She's fierce and steely when necessary, yet falls for a broken fae boy so she can fix him; when he warns her he's dangerous, she doesn't believe him, which the text constructs as love. Amid tangled vines of motive and alliance, savvy readers can discern secrets before Jenny does. Prose grows like weeds ("a flash of light, golden, as bright as newly restored hope"), particularly the descriptions of eyes, which "glisten" both in the sunlight and "like broken glass." However, there's real gravity beneath the overgrowth through a seemingly mundane name--Jack--and the layered meanings of its common-noun forms. As Jenny and Jack prevail over curses, thorns, blood tithes and hidden identities, this fairy-myth blooms past floridness into a worthy, memorable read (with movie potential). (Fantasy. 12-16)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142426067
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
08/01/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
318,539
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Ruth Frances Long lives in County Wicklow, Ireland. A lifelong fan of fantasy, romance, and ancient mysteries, Ruth studied English Literature, History of Religions, and Celtic Civilization in college and now works in a specialized library of rare and unusual books. This is her first novel for teens.

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