THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Ruth Frances Long

THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS

Age Range: 12 - 16

KIRKUS REVIEW

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)

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3580-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2012




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