The Damned by Renée Ahdieh book review
The Damned, is aptly named in this sequel to Renée Ahdieh’s The Beautiful. Here we rejoin Celine Rousseau and Sébastien Saint Germain immediately after the fated events at the end of The Beautiful. The Damned takes us on an even more dangerous journey as we root for a couple that seem destined to be apart.
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 ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
The second book in this series starts just as slowly as the first one. As we learn of Sébastien’s cursed fate; a fate he is adamantly against and devastated by. However, it doesn’t take very long for it to pick up at a crazy pace.
Previously we saw the story only from Celine’s point of view, now we have the chance to see the story from several different key players. I didn’t mind this so much, I loved seeing how Celine and Sébastien were dealing with their separate situations. You get to see the pain, anger, hurt, confusion and change in both of them.
Sébastien is devastated by being the undead. Even spending most of his life in their presence he can’t wrap his mind about his lost humanity. Especially as it came at the expense of Celine’s love and memories. He cares not for anything anymore, no ambition, no wants, no priorities. Now he is forced to dwell in the night and admire Celine while consumed with jealously, from afar as another competes for her heart.
Celine is now burdened by injuries to her body and her mind as everyone tells her she survived a vicious attack that she cannot remember, with her friends always by her side as she heals and recovers. However, suspicions creeps in as she feels that everyone around her is lying to her and using her amnesia to keep her complacent. Even when the handsome Michael Grimaldi begins to court her so enthusiastically, she cannot quite trust that he isn’t lying to her too.
If the story had focused just on those two points of view, I would have been perfectly pleased with the book, yet the random characters was slightly unnecessary for me. On one hand you learn a lot more about the relationships, ties, betrayals, and backgrounds by the characters involved. On the other, they had so little airtime to explain it that it seemed kind of a waste to include them, some only getting one short chapter. The best purpose I could give for this is to explain motives while keeping other’s in the dark, until it is the time to reveal it. The holding of information until the big reveal could have worked as well, but I digress.
Where this book really shines is it’s world building. The imagery describes as we get further into the world of magic and learn just how everyone is tied together by this frayed string of fate is beautiful. I loved the new characters that it brought beyond just humans, wolves, and vampires, but a ton of other mythical creatures and their place in this world. You learn the constant summer beauty of the Vale and the cold icy wasteland that is the Wyld.
What she lacked in the previous book she more than made up for with this latest novel. More action, more tortured hearts, more love, and more human than the last, she introduces us to a world that is worth sticking around to find out. By the time I started getting to the end as they built up to the climax, I was tuning everything else out just to find out what would happen next.
The addition of new characters, new plots, new grudges, and new loves really fleshed out this story. as all the pieces come together for a devastating ending with one hell of a cliff hanger, I find myself excited for the next book. Tune in December to catch the next of this series The Righteous. Until then catch us next month for the latest book I’m reading.