Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 363 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: August 16, 2012
Source: Personal Shelf
Reviewed by: Lili
A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction.
The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she's lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack's help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she's faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice--and not just her own.
I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while, so I’m really excited that I was able to have the time to read it. And I’m happy to say that despite the fact that this novel was off to a slow start, I did like it! It’s dark and twisted, but everything you’d want from a fairytale re-telling whose star villain is the famous and hated Mab. Kudos to Long for creating such a unique debut that stands apart from other traditional tales of faerie!
It took about seventy pages for me to get into this book. I enjoyed it, but it was hard to focus. I found myself putting the book down often and picking it up later to read a few more pages. My friend Gillian put it best when she said it was almost too beautiful. The writing has this level of description that is unparalleled. It was so easy to picture everything and Long certainly excels in this department, but it was so overwhelming at first to have such amazing description that I found myself rolling my eyes at the sheer beauty of seemingly everything before I realized that all beautiful things really are treacherous. Once this realization hit, I found it easy to breeze through the remaining portion of the book. It was more or less a scenario where I had to adapt to the unique writing style. And the unique dark world that Long created for us was easy to immerse myself in.
I also struggled with the creatures. As fascinating as the lore was, there was just so much. I was easily overwhelmed because I felt like every time a new creature was introduced there was either an info-dump or a infer-about-the-creature-yourself moment that I failed at epically. I wish that there was more detail aimed towards the clarity of the creations instead of only descriptions of this deliciously dark and magical fairy wood. I think it would have saved me a lot of confusion because I often had to reread certain passages to make sense of things.
However, the overall tale was absolutely amazing. There was twist after twist and there was never any time to breathe. You blink and miss a word and something insane and completely unexpected is suddenly happening. It was great and kept me on my toes in the best possible way. The romance was also amazing. While not a main plot point, the forbidden feelings between Jack and Jenny were perfectly depicted and believable and they acted as the overall driving force some huge plot twists.
With a satisfying ending, I can definitely say that this is a great book to check out if you’re looking for something beautiful to read with a fairy world that is both infinitely creative and dark. However, you need to focus on the details in the very beginning in order to make sense of things.