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.The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Francis Long
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers on August 16th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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.
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.
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.