Monday, March 23, 2020

The Beautiful - Renee Ahdieh

Summary: In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful. (Summary and pic from

My Review: Before I check out a book or start reading it, I do the normal people thing and read the inside cover. Sometimes I like this because it gives me a heads up. Sometimes I don’t like it because it gives up the deal pretty quickly and sometimes I like to just be immersed and figure it out on my own. As a person who doesn’t like to be confused, though, I don’t like if I have to rely on the inside cover to tell me what’s up.

The Beautiful has a cover that lets you know what it’s going to be like (thank you). I like the lush flowers spilling out of the ornate goblet, and the black is instantly captivating. Because it is a YA fic I can hopefully assume it’s not going to be too salacious, but definitely probably have some paranormal romance going on (or maybe historical fiction) and so that also gives me a clue. I didn’t actually read the inside cover of this book before I started reading it because I thought I knew what was up. I probably should have, because it took me awhile to figure out that New Orleans, the city that The Beautiful takes place in, is a city ruled by the dead in this book (and maybe in real life? I dunno). Maybe this should be addressed later on in this review, but it’s a good thing that this book has another part of the series coming out, because the fact that the mysterious people in the La Cour des Lions are dead is never actually discussed. I’m not sure they’re all actually dead, really. I just got that from the inside cover. See what I mean, though? It’s a good thing there’s another one coming out because it has to be explored.

The fact that I want to read another book from this series is obviously a good thing. There are many “first books” that I read that I can just walk away from and be fine. This isn’t a book that I have a burning desire to know more from, but I am looking forward to June 9 when it’s released. I feel like this book is hearkening back to the paranormal of yesteryear. First of all, the paranormal beings in this are different kinds of vampires. Vampires are always en vogue, but this is hearkening back to a few years ago when every teen girl didn’t just think it was for freaks to be enjoying vampires. They enjoyed them too. So that’s fun. I loved the atmosphere of this book—New Orleans is always so mysterious and magical. I like the dark feeling of it, and Ahdieh did a great job of evoking a certain feeling about New Orleans that was an integral part to the setting and happenings. She definitely used rich words and descriptions that evoked lots of emotions. Her descriptions of the dresses and materials were amazing! It was a really visual read, which was fun. If you enjoyed the Caraval series, I think you would really enjoy this for many of the same reasons.

The story itself was interesting, but I think that there could have been a lot more to it. Ahdieh obviously knew what she wanted to happen, but because of that, sometimes other parts of the story were overlooked or under addressed. I think there was a lot of potential for more depth to this story, but because it was of a decent length anyway, there were probably some elements that could have been easily cut out and still have the story make sense, and even give opportunity for other parts of the story to be more fleshed out.

Overall, I feel like this book had some great potential, and although it did have some great things going for it, it definitely had a few things lacking. However, the atmosphere and the fact that there are more books coming in the series make it worth the read. If you are into paranormal romance, especially vampires and the richness of dark magic and forbidden love, I think this is one you should check out.

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some young love going on and although there is nothing super descriptive, there is some sensuality discussed. There is also violence. I would say it is pretty typical for vampire paranormal romance books of yesteryear.

1 comment:

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