The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
Hello! I have finally come back with yet another review to kick off the start of October and I’m so excited for the Halloween season. I feel like October is when the real autumn vibes come and there’s finally time to breathe. Can’t wait for Halloween!
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.
Despite what the aggressive review on the latest print of this book says, vampires are most certainly not back. I am really torn about this book, but at the same time I’m not because I liked this book at first, but the part where vampires exist really didn’t settle well with me. When reading this book I tried to ignore the hints at vampires and everything was fine… until the grand ending where everything is revealed to Celine and she realizes vampires aren’t just stories. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. This book was so atmospheric, had a great storyline about a girl trying to solve a mystery, and featured a strong independent heroine, but there just had to be vampires. Of course there had to be vampires because everyone loves the good girl who wants to be bad and the bad boy who knows he’s bad but secretly wants to be good. Of course the bad-not-so-bad boy ends up reluctantly introducing her to the world of vampires and ends up in a ridiculous love triangle. What kind of book would this be if the strong independent woman didn’t find her self-worth in dating a man?? At first I thought this book was going to be okay because the beginning of this story didn’t really talk about vampires a lot. There were hints at the supernatural, which is totally fine in a book, and you could’ve read the beginning and thought it was just a normal supernatural mystery, not a book with fantasy vampires involved. I have no problem with admitting this book was entertaining, but oh to read a book where the main character’s entire personality doesn’t revolve around their love interest.
Another problem I had with this book’s ending was the “plot twist.” I feel like the author thought she was done writing her manuscript for this novel, then decided that the ending wasn’t surprising enough so she then changed the evil villain for the next character she could find. The character that ended up being the bad guy was so random which really killed the entire build-up of the story and plot. The grand reveal of the bad guy didn’t hold any weight because it just didn’t make any sense and kinda made the rest of the novel (the beginning and the middle) feel pointless. Despite these large problems with this book I will once again state that I really did find the beginning of this novel entertaining, it was just the ending that killed it for me.
I honestly don’t have a favorite character. There was no character development going on in this novel and I feel like every character stayed the same, all the way from starting this story to ending it.
*Spoiler warning for this next paragraph*
Now that I look back at this story, there are a lot of parallels with the series Twilight and this novel when it comes to other character’s relationship with Celine. Sebastien was like Edward because he’s an angsty “bad boy,” Odette is like Alice because she’s a fashionista whose like a sister to Sebastien (Edward), Michael is like Jacob because he eventually fills the hole left by Sebastien (Edward) in Celine’s (Bella’s) heart, and the Court of Lions is like Sebastien’s “Cullen family”. I don’t know how to feel about this.
This novel was entertaining at first, but then started to teeter off the edge. All I ask for is that the token independent woman character is actually an independent woman and doesn’t rely on her current boyfriend for personality. I assume fans of Twilight will like this, so if that book was to your tastes, then this book will be too.
This beautiful book cover was photographed by Jane Morley!
- Have you read this book?
- If so, did you enjoy it? (No judgement coming from me, this review is just my personal opinion on the book)
- What is your opinion of vampires? Are they back?
- Team Jacob or team Edward?