When I hear the phrase ‘people-eating trees’ I immediately perk up and pay attention. The Treachery Of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long is a debut young adult book that I probably would have ignored had it not been for that phrase. You see, The Treachery Of Beautiful Things has fairies and I’m not all that into fairies, or at least I say I’m not. But if we examine my reading habits closely, they aren’t exactly anti-fey by any means. Y’all, I’m glad I read this, because I ended up closing The Treachery Of Beautiful Things with a contended sigh.
When Jenny was a little girl, the trees swallowed her older brother Tom. As in he got sucked in and she never saw him again. Now, after several years and a high school senior, Jenny has returned to the woods to say good bye to Tom. She ends up getting sucked into the magical woods as well. There she meets Jack who is the Watcher of the Woods, meaning he protects the Edge. These are magical woods inhabited by all manner of magical creatures from the fey to dragons to red caps. Jenny is determined to find Tom and bring him back, despite the fact that she will have to make sacrifices.
It is a journey fraught with peril. The consistent dangers and lack of security faced by Jenny moves the plot of The Treachery Of Beautiful Things at a nice, fast clip. There is rarely a dull or boring moment. The action does not let up which honestly goes a long way in my enjoyment. I was never like omg stop navel gazing and let’s get on with the story.
Jenny is a character to get invested in. She’s grieving just a bit for Tom, even when she finds he is still alive. Jenny has a fierce determination to help others and do the right thing even when it’s at detriment to her self-interest. I admire that. Sometimes she lays it on a little thing with the damsel in distress bit which felt like a little much.
I think my favorite aspect of Ruth Frances Long’s debut is the setting. Y’all, I’ve always maintained that the woods are terrifying and this just confirms it. The back drop of the woods and the Edge create this creepy mystical atmosphere that permeates the book. I just ate it up as I read about Jenny’s travels through the awful, beautiful place.
If romance is your thing, well the relationship in The Treachery Of Beautiful Things is what I’d deem swoon worthy. However, it’s quite drawn out and takes the characters awhile to get to the just kiss please point. I personally like that slow development, but if you need your swoons right off the bat, I don’t think this book will meet that need.
Y’all, The Treachery Of Beautiful Things is a standalone. Hallelujah! I found the ending to be perfect. I was left satisfied and with a smile. I did not feel as though my time was wasted. Plus there are zero cliffhangers. I think if you are in search of the elusive supernatural standalone, Ruth Frances Long’s debut is the way to go. The Treachery Of Beautiful Things is magical, swoonworthy and incorporates some fantastic mythological elements that kept me intrigued until the very last word.
Disclosure: Received for review.
Other reviews of The Treachery Of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long:
The Reader Bee – “completely blew me away”
YA Romantics – “an atmospheric, suspenseful standalone read”