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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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

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.)
"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.
"If you only pick up one fey book this year, make it this one!"
"[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."
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."
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)
From the Publisher
“Our must-read for the end of summer.” —

“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

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.38(h) x 1.24(d)
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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The Treachery of Beautiful Things 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has to be one of the best ones I've read it is beautifully written and deeply cherished in my heart. The writing style is so different and usually I would turn down a book that goes by third person but this book is definitely worth a read. Oh my I love this book so!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only people with vivid imagination, like myself, will see the picture the author has described so beautifully. This book was so perfect, not even the rrgular faerietales can compete with it. Buy this book! I promise you, you wont regret it.
FuzzyCoffeeBooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Andreat78 More than 1 year ago
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.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long Publisher: Dial Publication Date: August 16, 2012 Rating: 4 stars Source: Gift from a friend Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I have had this book for ages! Literally since Christmas 2012, when one of my best friends gave it to me that year. I've been meaning to read it since then, even before then, but never brought myself to it. Luckily, Pili pushed this one on me, so it's my Pili-Pushed recommendation of November. To see my reviews of other Pili-Pushed recommendations, see the "Pili Pushed" tag! Jenny's brother was taken seven years ago... by the forest. Seven years later, Jenny is determined to find him. She enters the forest, and finds a world so unlike her own. The Fae live in this Realm, as in, Queen Titania/Mab, Oberon, Puck... and Jack, the Jack o' the Forest. Jack is the guardian of the Edge, and he is charged with helping those on a quest (which is Jenny). But Jenny quickly learns that the Fae world is treacherous and dangerous, but she will stop at nothing to get her brother back. I usually don't like books that involve the Fae/faeries... but how much did I love this book? Let me count the ways. I really enjoyed the Fae aspect of this book! It's much like what I personally think of, when I think of the Fae. Like, the Shakespeare stuff, with wicked, tricksy faeries. Oberon, Titania, Mab, Puck... they're all very present in this book, and very much like they came from a Shakespeare play. I really, really liked this! This book is written in third person, and this really worked for me. I still connected with Jenny, though in the beginning, she seemed a little distant. Most scenes are exclusively Jenny's, but there are some that feature only Jack. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Jack. Jack is the guardian of the edge, so he watches the border between the human world and the Fae world. He serves Oberon, but he also answers to Titania (everyone does). There is so much mystery surrounding Jack, and we don't get to know everything at once. I love how Long feeds us information about Jack, bit by bit. Definitely made me love him slowly but surely, more and more.  There IS romance in this book, yay! Jenny doesn't go into the forest looking for love - she's hunting for her brother. And Jack - he's been around for a while, doing his job, trying to find a way out of his curse... he doesn't expect or want to fall for anyone. Jack has to save Jenny on many occasions, and eventually, he realizes just how much he's grown to care about her.  I thought the romance was really sweet and slow-burn... definitely one of my favorite structures of a romance in fiction. Love! The story was so fascinating and dark and intriguing. I love Long's storytelling, her prose, her way with words. This story wasn't just about Jenny finding her brother - it was about Jack and his curse, the Fae world and their tyrant. It's a standalone novel, so it wraps up at the end. The ending is fabulous. So beautiful, and not too perfect. Okay, it was perfect, in a warm, lovely way. Ah! What I Did Not Like: I wanted a little more from the story before Jack has to rescue Jenny from the Nix (you'll have to read the book to know what I mean - and I promise, this isn't a spoiler). This occurs about halfway through the book, but it also takes a good portion of the book, for Jack to rescue her, and then we haven't even reached the climax. I wanted a little more journey, trampling through the forest, that kind of thing. Just a small thing! Would I Recommend It: I seriously loved this book - a fantasy novel set in the modern world - and I would totally recommend it. Especially for the romance, it's one of my favorites. Love! Rating: 4 stars. I can't believe I waited this long to read the book! It's been sitting in my room... innocently... for nearly two years. Shame on me for doing that! I really liked this book.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
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.
kcody03 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't wait to finish this book. The writing was confusing and the characters undeveloped. Another problem was the fact that the ending was unexplained.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good story!!!
Welshgirl More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I actually stayed up until 2 am to finish it. I felt that Jack's character and Jenny's were very well developed, and there were many twists and turns to get to the happy ending. I liked how the author brought in the Titania/Oberon characters, hinting that they were the same types in every culture. It took a bit to figure out where the present day action was, but overall, this was an incredible satisfying book!
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Treachery of Beautiful Things started of as a very interesting book. I started it with no expectations what so ever, and I wasn't even sure I was going to enjoy it. The main protagonist, Jenny, had a brother who was swollen by a tree seven years ago. Jenny's brother, Tom, can no longer be found anywhere. No one believe Jenny, when she told them that Tom was swollen by a tree. She was only ten, and they thought she was making it all up. Jenny went to psychiatrists and doctors, and nothing helped. People told her she was hallucinating, and imagining things, but she was sure about what she saw. One day, she walks by the same forest, and hears her brother's flute playing. She can notice her brother's playing anywhere, and she was sure it was him. She ran into the forest, until she was lost. Lost into the realm. It was very interesting to find out that Jenny got sucked into the magical world. Ruth Frances Long was really good at describing the magical world, because I really found myself smiling at her beautiful descriptions. It felt like I was reading a fairytale. Which wasn't boring, but very magical. When Jane is there, she meets Jack. Jack o' the Forest. Jack is determined to send her back to her help, and gets his friends to take care of her. Things happen, nasty things, and that's when the story starts evolving. Jenny is a very strong character, and that made me like her a lot. Though sometimes she got a bit reckless, not caring about whatever would happen to her just to find her brother. The romance between Jenny and Jack was simple. It didn't feel heavy, and I guess I liked it that way. While reading, some details in the book were confusing to understand. At that point, through the middle of the book, the Realm started to become confusing for me to imagine. At first it was very mystical, but then I guess there was too much detail. Sometimes, something that would have been described in one paragraph, took one page. That had me skimming through the lines, and just wanting to read the dialogue. I guess that's when the book started to bore me a bit. It took too much time for things to get to the point, and that made me kind of frustrated as well. Into the ending of the book, I really liked it! It did get more interesting, and I hoped it was interesting through all the book. Overall, it was a good book to read. I wasn't disappointed or shocked, because it was fine. It wasn't entirely boring or entirely interesting either. Though I did close the book with a smile on my face, because I though the ending was just too adorable! It wasn't what I was expecting at all, and I guess that made me like the book a bit more. I would recommend this to all young adult paranormal readers. A different intake in paranormal creatures.
MarissaA More than 1 year ago
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. 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 :)
Imagination423 More than 1 year ago
This book was very boring it is the ONLY book I have not been able to finish. The author tries to hard to paint a picture. I found that a lot of the time I had to read things over again because she gets so wordy in her descriptions the point/picture she is trying to paint gets lost. At other parts of the book I became confused as to what she was talking about. It's almost like she just threw the plot together and didn't take the time to think about how she was going to tie the story together. She gives very little background history on characters. She should have been less wordy with her scenery and focused more on character image and background.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It enchanted me from the first page. I am in live with this book.