Title: The Beautiful
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pub. Date: October 8, 2019
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.
This will be a spoiler free review.
Let me start off by saying, HAPPY RELEASE DAY! This book is now available in your local bookstore and you should go pick it up!
I’m so glad vampires are making it back to YA, I missed them. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, found it easy to dive into and get lost in. I liked the characters and the plot, but more as a quick read.
This was my first time reading a book by Renée Ahdieh, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and I do like her writing style and how she tells a story. I’m already anxious for the next one, after the way this book ended, because what the hell.
While I did enjoy this book, I do have a couple of little grievances/complaints.
The first one is really minor, and completely on me, but I had to keep reminding myself that this book takes place in 1872 New Orleans and not modern day. I find that I struggle quite often when the MC’s are very much modern characters set in a historical setting. I forget all the time and then get angry when the character can do anything about their station because they’re a woman in a time when they didn’t really have any rights. It can be so freaking frustrating.
I also got kind of annoyed at the use of French and Spanish in the book, mainly when it’s not translated by another character or the same character speaking. I didn’t take either of these languages in school (I opted for German) so a lot is lost on me. Some of the non-translated dialogue I could pick up via context clues, and I’m most definitely not going to pause my reading to Google Translate lines from this book. I’m all for the inclusion of other languages, but (personally) please add some form of translation! It also won’t deter me from reading the book, it’s just a personal preference.
Little thing – I didn’t really understand the kind of magic system until the ending.
Also, THE. ENDING. Not really a fan of that trope. You’ll understand when you get to it.
And my final thing is the pacing. This isn’t necessarily a long book at about 450 pages, but it moves so quickly. From a read time, I like this, and liked that it didn’t take me very long to knock out this book. But from a story perspective, it all just happened so quickly. I just wish the pacing had been a little more drawn out, because this book did verge on insta-love, and I’m not that big of a fan of it.
Overall, I’m dying inside for the next one, The Damned and I’m screaming about how it ended. I ended up liking this book way more than I anticipated. I knew people had liked it and that it was getting pretty good reviews, but my track record with books lately has been a bit disappointing. I can’t wait to scream about this book to friends.
QOTD: Are you excited that Vampires are making a comeback?