Author: Ruth Frances Long
Publisher: Dial Books
Released: Aug 16, 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
"They're only trees. Only trees. Who's afraid of lonely trees?"
The fantasy world in Long’s debut novel is a familiar one. With the presence of key characters such as Oberon, Titania and Puck, The Treachery of Beautiful Things becomes another faerie book among several others. Comparisons against the more notable stories in this category are inevitable. I’m sure I’m not the only one currently thinking of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey books, and that I wasn’t the only reader to feel the main character’s plight to locate her missing brother was oddly familiar. Slight similarities aside, Long is clearly an able writer. Her prose is as magical as her setting, and with it, I believe she did a fairly commendable job crafting together an enchanting tale. Whether or not this is an exceptional enough story to stand out against its competitors, I can’t say. What I am certain of, however, is the fact that this book is intended for a very specific audience.
The Treachery of Beautiful Things is a fairy-tale, through and through. We have the innocent damsel, the pleasant love interest, and a magical world forming the backdrop of their romantic adventure. Ruth Frances Long takes a more traditional approach with this fantasy tale – it’s old-fashioned to the core and clearly crafted in such a manner for those of us who enjoy the charm of a nice story. While happily ever afters and sweet characters may be exactly what some people are looking for – and if you find yourself nodding here, I’m confident you will appreciate this book – for a large chunk of the young adult audience, I feel it may be a little too tame. Technically, there are very few aspects that can be faulted, yet still, whatever the reason, this story failed to impress. While I can praise the world-building and appreciate the various magical aspects of this book, I wish it had left a more lasting impression.
The characters themselves are likeable, yet not particularly memorable. Jenny, the protagonist, is defined in moments of admirable bravery and remarkable innocence. While it’s safe to say she is not an infuriating character, I would have personally preferred someone with a little more fire. Jack was a fraction more intriguing with his past and his role among the trees. The mystery surrounding his position was quite appealing, yet, in the end, it was Puck, the goat-like hobgoblin, who managed to capture my interest the most. Had I been fully invested in this fairy-tale-like story, then I’m sure plenty more of the characters would have stood out to me as much as Puck did.
Although this book wasn’t momentously outstanding for me, I do believe it is a well-written and imaginative tale. The main issue here is the unfortunate truth that a reader like me probably should never have picked this up. While I did enjoy parts of it well enough, I think The Treachery of Beautiful Things is far better off in another reader’s hands. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what else this author may write in the future.
Rating: 3 stars