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Review: The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Rating: Exquisite, enchanting, magical. Though slow to begin, this folktale world is truly worth submerging in.
I admit I had trouble getting sucked into this book. It took me a while to read, which is hardly ever the case for me. It was almost like the words were too beautiful, the images too intensely vivid, that I couldn’t find my footing. We’re thrust straight into the fae world without getting grounded in Jenny’s life in the real world first. We know she’s traumatized from watching the forest steal her brother. Her parents are grief-stricken and everyone thinks she’s crazy. I think I required at least one scene in which these things were shown.
But then it was like the book worked its magic on me. I LOVE the fairy world. Long’s descriptions… exquisite doesn’t even begin to cover it. I could see it. She paints a picture so beautiful and so creepy all at the same time. Nothing and no one is truly trustworthy. Motives are tangled. Everyone’s a trickster. It was intensely confusing at times, but I think it was meant to be. These aren’t you average fairy tale fairies. Approach these fae folk at your own peril.
|She will cut you.|
And I fell in love with Jack. Jack is the best. We get to know him so well, and he’s so full of heart and feeling, despite the fact that he’s not human and doesn’t have a heart. Plus he’s HOT, which is a weird thing to say about a guy dressed in leaves, but there it is. Jenny is strong and stubborn and plucky, even if I wanted to know a bit more about her, particularly about her life at home. But you sympathize with her completely. She’s here to get her brother. At all costs.
Jack and Jenny’s relationship is complex and beautiful. It tugged on my heartstrings. It’s romantic and magical and oh-so-deep. Jack is officially on my list of Bookish Boyfriends.
Everyone’s a villain in the fae world. Every legend is alive and it’s so completely creepy. I confess I’m not well-versed in this kind of folklore, and I was a bit lost in the beginning, but eventually I was able to follow along. You don’t need to be very knowledgeable about Puck and Oberon and Titania and Mab and all that to read this book (though I have read A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, and that may have helped clarify a few things in the beginning). I found myself wanting a few more info-dumps, if that can be believed.
Long has created an amazing folktale world, capturing the darkness and treachery that lies at the heart of all our childhood tales. Things get creepy in the forest, and yet I didn’t want to leave it. Read this book if you love old English tales, romantic love, noble sacrifices, and the kind of world where it’s impossible to break and oath. I’ll be over in the corner hoping Jack o’ the Forest comes to rescue me next (it could happen).