The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh book review
Do people even still read books anymore? The answer is yes. Rare, but reading is still a thing. Hard to believe right? Like, people still read? Actual physical books? If you are one of the rare few, then you probably get a lot of these comments:
“Reading is so boring.”
“I don’t have time to sit down and read a book.”
“You really read books for fun?”
“How can you reread books; you already know what’s going to happen?”
And my personal favorite, “You are such a nerd.”
Yes, yes, I am, I love reading, always have and despite the rarity I know that there are others that love it too. So, to help all my other book lovers find that perfect book, I’ll be giving you reviews on books I’m currently reading. The good, the bad, and the downright waste of paper, I’ll go over it all and you can decide what’s next on your reading list.
If you’re anything like me, I jumped on the vampire bandwagon when Twilight came out. To my shame, I loved the books, #TeamEdward. But my shame aside, from there, vampire novels took off. Despite moving away from them for a while this one caught my interest. I’ve always loved period romances and to throw vampires in there, well, now you have my attention.
In 1872, New Orleans was 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.
Celine was a very engaging female lead. Her secrets and what made her run from her home will catch you in the first few pages. Celine and several other young women, all coming to America to start new lives, (of course) land on the shores of New Orleans. At first, they are fearful of what lies ahead, bolstered by the rumors of ghosts, and spirts haunting the city, but are quickly swept into the magic that is Mardi Gras.
As she travels the streets, she gets her first glimpse at Sébastien Saint Germain, who we soon learn is the leader of New Orleans La Cour des Lions, a mysterious underworld who, to the citizens of the city believe is a dangerous Underworld of the rich and vicious, but reality is much more fearful. Despite being a human leading a band of vampires, Sébastien is a force to be reckoned with in his own right. Meeting under horrifying circumstances Celine and Sébastien’s attraction grows as they are joined together in a murder mystery.
Overall, this story was good for the romance aspect. If you were looking for a little more mystery I can’t fully recommend it. The mystery aspect is almost an afterthought, and the villain is not fully developed. They try to capture him as someone to be understood, but their development seems almost forced. The past feud is feebly explained and unfortunately cannot carry the mystery enough for one to care. By the end I found I wasn’t overly concerned about whoever was angry and their bitter revenge. I just wanted to see this couple together.
The best part of the story is the romance that is bubbling. From two different worlds in the worst way, Celine is wrapped up in a world and a love that is anything but healthy. The pacing of their attraction is staggered at times, but wraps up beautifully, leaving you eager to find out what is in store for our couple.
I recommend this book if you are looking for a dark romance. The forbidden relationship between Celine and Sébastien will keep you captivated, even without a strong mystery. The ending will leave you eager to get the next book.
So, check it out and see what you think, while next month I review the sequel to The Beautiful, titled The Damned.