Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Francis Long

29 April, 2012 Reviews 18 comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Francis LongThe Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Francis Long
Series: Standalone
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on August 16th 2012
Pages: 363
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

For me, sometimes I rate a book because, objectively, it’s just a really bad book with limited literary quality.  This is not an objective rating and I need to reinforce that before we continue.  It is a subjective reflection on my personal reading experience.

Because the first half of the book, that I read, wasn’t necessarily a poorly written book. If you like fairy fantasy then you will probably enjoy it.  I, for one, enjoy fairies – but not this kind of fairy story, and it’s not the author’s fault.

Long is trying to get back to somewhat old school fairy tale tellings, and in doing so, has returned to many of the themes intrinsic to the fairy mythos – which is moral, physical and spiritual purity of the human which is tested when pitied into the fairy realm where temptations and defilers lurk around every corner.

Don’t eat their food, don’t dance with them (cause you know what dancing leads to…) don’t corrupt yourself by lying with the fairy king.  The counter balance to that is that through love, moral goodness (restraint for evil temptations) and by having a pure heart – you can triumph over the wicked, corrupt fae.

All a lovely story if that’s your thing, but it isn’t mine.  I don’t do distressed damsels at risk of having their virginity frisked and proving to all that their mighty heart can not be conquered by evil because she’s just so GOOD and PURE.  Look at her rescue that baby!  Look how vulnerable she is one minute but protecting innocent children the next!

It really is my fault.  I should have paid more attention to the cover.  I mean, take a good look at that thing for a second.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things

I mean, look at it!  She’s wearing a white fru-fru dress while walking through a forest, clutching blooming flowers to her lower body and looking flustered and scared.  I couldn’t have picked a better way of depicting maidenhood if I’d taped a real hymen to the front cover.  I need to learn to pay attention!

Just about everything that happens to our protagonist, from the moment she steps into fairy, is a sex metaphor she must escape from.  And if that kind of repressed expression of female sexuality speaks to you then please try this book.  But at the point in which a handsome man kisses her and she LOSES HER SOUL, and Oberon shows up as one of the big antagonists promising to deflower her because she’s just so pure and good – well, that’s the point at which my upchuck reflex goes into overdrive and I mentally check out.

At least I now know why Steph and I have no soul.  It’s all that dirty, dirty sex and alcohol and bad food and filthy dancing and lack of any kind of repression.  And I really wouldn’t personally have it any other way.

*Thanks to the publishers who provided this ARC to me through Netgalley.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

18 Responses to “Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Francis Long”

  1. Kara @ Great Imaginations

    Yeah I agree. The cover screams virginity and purity. Which I don’t necessarily have a problem with, but meh…I’m really debating whether I want to read this one or not now. Based on your summarizing the parts that you read, it almost sounds too fru-fru for me too. I like fairies, but if all there is to the plot is fairies, I am probably not going to like it.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Review of The Hunt by Andrew FukudaMy Profile

  2. Pocketful of Books

    This is an awesome review. This book is so clearly not my thing…I’m really glad I read this review! I personally think that the whole ‘women must be pure and virginal’ issue causes so many problems in the world and makes so many women miserable and desperate, and some are even killed, because their ‘honour’ has been tarnished. BLAME THE MEN WHO CAN’T CONTROL THEMSELVES NOT THE WOMEN! Bahhh! x
    Pocketful of Books recently posted…Graphic Novel Review: ‘Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic’ by Alison BechdelMy Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      @Pocketful of Books:

      LOL! I generally try to not blame anybody! I just don’t think sex is anything to be ashamed about. And I find all the guilt and shame surrounding it to be weird.

  3. Katie @ BlookGirl

    “I couldn’t have picked a bet­ter way of depict­ing maid­en­hood if I’d taped a real hymen to the front cover.”

    I about died laughing! Thanks for the pick-me-up, Kat 😉 I am still going to give this book a try, as I love anything faerie and it’s been on my Wishlist forever, but I do appreciate your review! <3

  4. Jackie

    Your two star review makes me want to read this book. Is that weird? Seriously though, I kind of want to understand first hand how repressive this book is.
    Jackie recently posted…Stand up badgers!My Profile

  5. AnimeJune

    Thanks for the warning! I read historical romance, where DISTRESSINGLY OFTEN, the heroine is the PUREST of pure white marshmellow virgins, talks to the birds, is totally devoid of sophistication or knowledge, and that of course is catnip to the sexed-up Duke. If you really don’t like the EVILS OF WHORISH WOMEN to bang you over the head, stay far, far, FAR away from Judith McNaught. That woman’s books scarred me.
    AnimeJune recently posted…The Weekly Wanting (5)My Profile

    • Kat Kennedy


      It really, really bugs me. Also, I just find it weird the way some romances fetishize innocence/ignorance/purity. As if an untouched couch is the greatest thing in the world. It’s just… weird.

  6. Rachelia

    I think I have this one on my Goodreads list, but I think after reading your review I’d have many of the same problems with it that you had. So thanks for that 🙂

    Also, this was priceless: “I couldn’t have picked a bet­ter way of depict­ing maid­en­hood if I’d taped a real hymen to the front cover”. LOL

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