I finished my 28th book of the year yesterday, and I am quite pleased with that. I started reading the Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh immediately after I finished The Shadows Between Us. So here are my thoughts on the book!
By Renée AhdiehPublished 8 October 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
fantasy | young adult | romance | paranormal
My rating: ★★★.5☆
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.
At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.
What I Liked
So The Beautiful is both a fantasy and a romance novel, and I can for sure say that I enjoyed the romance part. I think Celine and Bastien are both really interesting characters, and they’d fit well together if Celine were to let go of fake desire to fit into common society.
I also noticed that this book had a good flow; it read very easily and I could keep up with the story. I immensely enjoyed the setting of the book: New Orleans, but I do wish we could’ve glimpsed a bit more of the city. Nevertheless, it was a cool backdrop.
Now I must say that the line between overly predictable and feeling satisfaction over correctly predicting something is very thin. In this book, I predicted something, and it first it looked like I was wrong about it. But the last chapter proved me right after all, and in this case it felt satisfying. It was one of those I knew it!! moments.
Lastly, I enjoyed the friendships in this book. I enjoyed the bond between Celine and Pippa, because they’re very different in personality and yet match well. Odette was also a great character, and one of my favorites from the whole book.
What I Liked Less
Even though I enjoyed the story, I think it was just too slow. It took a lot of pages for things to really get going, and even when they did I expected more. The blurb itself says that New Orleans becomes gripped by a serial killer on the loose, but if I remember correctly, the only people that are described as being slightly concerned by the murders are those in the Court and those in the convent. I said before that I would’ve liked more of the city to be involved, and here is where that was supposed to happen.
Despite that, I liked the ending a lot and did not feel like it was rushed compared to the rest of the book. I enjoyed the way things ended, and it sets up the next book nicely without being too much of a cliffhanger. I will be picking up the next book The Damned when it comes out. I’m hoping that the next book will answer some questions I have that were not answered in The Beautiful.