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The Treachery of Beautiful Things
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Retellings > The Treachery of Beautiful Things w/spoilers

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message 1: by Jalilah (last edited Mar 15, 2018 05:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
This thread is for our March 15-May 14 Gateway/Portal themed group read Young Adult Novel winner, The Treachery of Beautiful Things!
Spoilers allowed!


Mary Catelli | 843 comments I'm particularly fond of the scene where Jack has to get the sword from Wayland.


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
This is a delightful book! I love how it's just steeped in the folk and fairy tales of the British Islands. I had never given a second thought to the toy Jack in a Box or the game jacks and connected them with the Jack characters.


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "I'm particularly fond of the scene where Jack has to get the sword from Wayland."
Yes, that was a good scene!


Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Even though I'd agree this isn't a romance, I just can't get into it.

There's a LOT going on, but it doesn't feel very well developed to me. It just feels like a series of Jenny stumbling on, and then being rescued from one creature after another.

She really knows her folklore, but that's really not enough to hold the book together for me.

I've gotten up to the bit with the Wayland Sword but I think I'll stop there for now. I've got 5 days left on my library loan, so I might change my mind and finish it up before it expires, but at the moment there's just so many other books I want to read more.


message 6: by Jalilah (last edited Apr 27, 2018 04:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Even though I'd agree this isn't a romance, I just can't get into it.

There's a LOT going on, but it doesn't feel very well developed to me. It just feels like a series of Jenny stumbling on, and..."


It definitely has the feel of a first novel, as if the author decided to work in as many British myths and folktales as she could and put them in one book. It felt a little calculated and the myths are not internalized in the way some very skilled authors in the genre can do. Like I said, I enjoyed it, but probably not to the point I'd re-read.


message 7: by Asaria (last edited Apr 27, 2018 03:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Asaria | 568 comments The whole Jenny's quest was reminding me Gerda's journey to rescue her childhood friend Kay, and later Tam Lin. Unfortunately, I'm sure many other references went over my head, as much of cultural context being lost on me.

I'm curious what more experienced Ruth Frances Long will write in the future,

Melanti wrote: "Even though I'd agree this isn't a romance, I just can't get into it.

There's a LOT going on, but it doesn't feel very well developed to me. It just feels like a series of Jenny stumbling on, and then being rescued from one creature after another.

She really knows her folklore, but that's really not enough to hold the book together for me. ."


Melanti, I partially agree with you in the hindsight. For me that's not a deal breaker, though. Not this time. Maybe because after series of books ranging from OK, so-so to boring, it was like a breath of fresh air. Or I became way too much enchanted by the forest :).

I found interesting that the Fae land itself become another protagonist - beautiful, magical, cruel, easy to get lost inside, transformative. Immediately brought to my mind the feeling of ancient primeval place, full of history and mysteries. Also the fact that no one is completely trustworthy, everyone is entangled in the web of lies, intrigues or conflicting royalties is appealing to me from the story point of view.

Mary wrote: "I'm particularly fond of the scene where Jack has to get the sword from Wayland."
Yep, I like that scene too, even if mashing up the plot with norse mythology feels completely unecessary.


Jalilah | 4282 comments Mod
Asaria wrote: ". I'm curious what more experienced Ruth Frances Long will write in the future,
"

This was her first novel, so I think she's most definitely got potential as a writer. She's got an urban fantasy series called Dubh Linn, which I most definitely want to check out! It's set in Dublin and the first book is called A Crack in Everything

I had not thought about the similarity with Gerda and Kay from Snow Queen, but you're absolutely right!


Mary Catelli | 843 comments Asaria wrote: "even if mashing up the plot with norse mythology feels completely unecessary. "

He also appears in Old English writing, getting him closer, if that helps. 0:)


message 10: by Asaria (last edited Apr 29, 2018 03:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Asaria | 568 comments Lila wrote: "Asaria wrote: ". I'm curious what more experienced Ruth Frances Long will write in the future,
"
This was her first novel, so I think she's most definitely got potential as a writer. She's got an u..."

That's what I meant :). The series you've mentioned seems getting a bit lukewarm reception in comparison to her debut, but I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic :)

Mary wrote: "Asaria wrote: "even if mashing up the plot with norse mythology feels completely unecessary. "

He also appears in Old English writing, getting him closer, if that helps. 0:)"


Once again no knowledge of English folklore is coming back to bite me. Not for long :)


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
I definitely enjoyed all the entwining folklore in this. And I thought she did it fairly seamlessly. I never felt completely jolted out of the narrative when one folktale ran into another. Tam Lin into Midsummer Night's Dream into Norse Mythology into Snow White, etc.

I did become bogged down in the middle, where it felt like, agreeing with Melanti, the writing became formulaic where it was Jenny meets problem, is saved by problem, continues on journey to face another problem, etc.

I would certainly read more by the author. I didn't realize this was her first book.

The highest rated review says the entire book is one big sex metaphor. I'm like, what????

To bring it back to the portal theme, I've always loved how often forests are the scenes of change/portal. From The Hazel Wood to Uprooted, I love it when forests transport the characters and readers into a new world. But it often seems like those new worlds are dangerous. I would love to see the portal from the opposite perspective, where a creature of the wood/fae becomes transported into our world where it's seen as evil.

Though I guess we have read that in Except the Queen!


message 12: by Michele (last edited May 05, 2018 08:28PM) (new)

Michele | 520 comments Margaret wrote: "I would love to see the portal from the opposite perspective, where a creature of the wood/fae becomes transported into our world where it's seen as evil."

Try The Shepherd's Crown. It's technically the fifth in the Tiffany Aching books (starting with The Wee Free Men), but can be read on its own.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "Margaret wrote: "I would love to see the portal from the opposite perspective, where a creature of the wood/fae becomes transported into our world where it's seen as evil."

Try [book:The Shepherd'..."


I do need to finish that series.


Gem  | 14 comments I'm a bit behind, I just finished this morning. I was really hopeful when I started reading this book and I do think the author the wove the folklore into the story well but the writing fell short for me, and the story line predictable. The end for me was disappointing, I would have preferred to see the entire last chapter left out. Too Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast for me, good wins over evil and the couple ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after... I like endings that are not so predictable and a bit more messy.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "I'm a bit behind, I just finished this morning. I was really hopeful when I started reading this book and I do think the author the wove the folklore into the story well but the writing fell short ..."

I'm typically the same with endings. But I think with the type of storytelling in this one that having a tied up ending makes sense.


Kelsey | 84 comments Forgot to come back here and comment after I finished this...

People mentioned liking the Norse-ish bit with Wayland and the sword... to me that was where the book picked up and started to get interesting. The first half was pretty tedious for me, since Long didn't give us much reason to care for Jenny before tossing her into some pretty predictable perils. Jack actually seemed like a much more interesting character to me once we finally got to see his side of things, and in the second half the mixed-up layers of folklore really took center stage.


Margaret | 3491 comments Mod
Kelsey wrote: "Forgot to come back here and comment after I finished this...

People mentioned liking the Norse-ish bit with Wayland and the sword... to me that was where the book picked up and started to get int..."


I completely agree.


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