Title: The Damned
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pub. Date: July 7, 2020
Pub: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.
Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible.
I read The Beautiful and fell in love with the world, the characters, the atmosphere. Granted it’s been over a year since I read it, and I’m sure some things were forgotten. Overall, though, I remembered most of what happened and really had no trouble getting back into the world. And while the ending kind of saved this book for me, I was incredibly underwhelmed. You know that season of True Blood where they introduce Fairies and we’re just supposed to accept that Sookie is a descendant or whatever, but it just felt out of left field?
I was a bit disappointed if I’m being totally honest. What was something that felt dark and moody and pretty unique, felt really common place, and not unlike every other YA fantasy out right now. That’s not to say it was bad, I just found myself missing the things that I felt made The Beautiful stand out.
On one hand I did enjoy the book, because the journey Sébastien and Celine go on to find their way back to each other is both tortured af and endearing af. I also really liked that this book focused more on Sébastien and his coming to terms with his new future. He’s understandably distraught and a little annoying. I did enjoy his debauched persona – he was fun.
I also thought the increased presence of the wolf pack was a nice touch. I love the tension between the two groups, and to have the stage be New Orleans…it’s a mood.
One that’s lost with the increased introduction into the world of fairy.
I know that Fairy’s aren’t just rainbow and sunshine and are often depicted in a really dark or at least twisted light – and usually I love that – and that’s explored a bit in this book. And while certain characters exhibit certain traits in the first book, the plot line dealing with the Fairies – and that reveal about a certain character just felt cheap. Like, added shock value.
I don’t know, I wasn’t really a fan.
Like I said at the start of the book, the ending – which I honestly couldn’t have predicted – saved the book for me. And while I was really so-so about the whole thing, I found myself constantly thinking about it after finishing it. Even two books later, I was still thinking about the world, the characters and what happened in the book. I opted for a slightly higher rating simply because it wouldn’t leave me alone. I’m seriously craving the dark moody atmosphere, and I have a feeling we might get to experience more of it in the next book. Not to mention I’m invested now, two books in, and I’m going to need to know how it ends.
This book went from a moody atmospheric, dark New Orleans with things that go bump in the night, to a typical YA fantasy novel. I was bummed, to say the least. I’m definitely going to finish the series, but this was almost a miss for me.
If you read and liked the first one, this is worth checking out – especially if you enjoyed the characters. I forgot how much I enjoyed them, so even if for that reason alone, I liked this book and will recommend it.