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.
My Rating: ****
So beautiful. I really enjoyed this and clearly, Ruth Frances Long is a kindred spirit. This book is packed with references to all sorts of fairy tales and mythologies and cool fairy stuff and monsters, even a dragon! I got right into this fantasy world, it was so perfectly drawn, and I've always had an obsession with creepy forests. This is my kind of book.
The story clips right along and I cared about where it was going every moment. There were all sorts of cool revelations and shocking twists and I kept gasping out loud. I really liked Jenny for the most part. She's the perfect modern incarnation of Snow White, whose story she kind of follows. Except sometimes... well, she drove me a bit crazy. All those revelations and twists I talked about? She was the last one to figure out any of them. She seemed a little slow and I just wanted to scream at her, "CAN'T YOU SEE????? ARE YOU TOTALLY BLIND???!!??" Sheesh, people had to straight up tell her things that I'd figured out chapters before (with the same info she had). The foreshadowing was a little heavy-handed and the heroine was still not figuring things out fast enough AT ALL.
Then her little romance with Jack wasn't quite as believable as I wanted it to be. It happened kind of fast and I just didn't buy it at times. And I will not talk about the resolution to that or the end of this book. I WILL NOT TALK ABOUT IT. Okay, except maybe just to say that I hated it. So sudden, completely unexplained, thoroughly unsatisfying. All I'm going to say.
For me, the writing wavered between gorgeous and way too flowery. This book is very descriptive and sometimes I liked that. And other times I skimmed. My eyes would jump ahead and I'd force myself to go back and read what I'd missed only to find out that I hadn't missed much of anything.
So, to sum up, I loved the magic, the villains, the whole setting, and the story. I struggled a bit with the characters, the love story, the resolution, and the writing. But apparently I love the magic and story enough that I can't bring myself to give it less than four stars. :D
Recommended for fans of fairy tales (the darker kind), magic, monsters, scary forests, and fairies.