Book: The Beautiful
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Year Published: 2019
- Plot: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5
- Writing: 4/5
- Overall: 4/5
Usually, I can’t stand vampire books but I trusted Renée Ahdieh to write one that I’d enjoy and I’m glad that I did. The Beautiful was a glamorous, mysterious read- set in 1872, New Orleans– that had me spellbound throughout and I’m so excited for its sequel.
Celine Rousseau was a dressmaker in Paris until a terrible event forced her to flee her life there and start a new one in the dazzling city of New Orleans. Soon, she became caught up in a gruesome murder mystery along with a group of people known as La Cour de Lions and she made discoveries that meant her life would never be the same again.
Celine was incredibly reckless, she wanted to live life on the edge and experience everything it had to offer. She was also very headstrong and admirably confident– she knew who she wanted to be and didn’t care what anyone else thought about it. However the main reason I loved her was because we both share a deep appreciation for delicious food and she loved eating mille-feuille almost as much as I do! I adored the other characters too. Odette Valmont was the kind of person I wish I was friends with and was always full of enthusiasm and humour. Sébastien Saint Germain was like a more refined and fancy version of Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows and his relationship with Celine was perfect.
The writing and world building were stunning. Ahdieh’svibrant descriptions of New Orleans conveyed a genuine love for the city and I loved the way she managed to weave in themes of feminism and racism into the story too. Furthermore, I liked how many different languages were incorporated like lots of French and a bit of Spanish, Italian and more as well as multiple references to famous works of literature. It made for an extremely multi-faceted and engrossing experience- I felt like I could get lost in the world she created and never find my way out again. Also, the vampires were more subtle and elegant than I thought they’d be and didn’t come across as tacky and annoying like they usually do for me (thank goodness they didn’t sparkle). The reader is slowly fed information about them and there’s so much that still hasn’t been revealed that I’m assuming will be in the next book.
My only issues were that it was too slow paced and too much time was spent establishing a foundation when I wanted to get into the story. Also the writing was quite repetitive– we didn’t need Sebastian to be likened to ‘the devil’ a million times. However overall these things didn’t alter my enjoyment terribly and it was still a really fun read for me.
A sparkling world, an endearing cast of characters and so much more. I loved The Beautiful and it most certainly didn’t disappoint!
Thank you to Hodderscape for providing me with a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.