Reviews

Into the Shadow: Review of The Damned (Blog Tour)

Black Lives Matter ~ Free Palestine ~ Kashmir Bleeds ~ Junk Terror Bill

Thank you to Hodderscape for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Read my review of The Beautiful here!

Book: The Damned (The Beautiful #2)

Summary

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 quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Year Published: 2020

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Damned was a magical read that expanded upon the first book well, answering many of the questions that I had whilst giving me more. I loved diving back into the glamorous yet monstrous world of The Beautiful and learning more about the characters. However, it wasn’t a five star read like the first book was for me because I felt like it tried to cram a bit too much in without adequate explanation.

Celine was grappling with the trauma of what happened to her at the end of The Beautiful. She felt like she had lost herself in the midst of confusion, nightmares and terror gripping her when she was perfectly safe. For Celine, this book was about self discovery– in more ways than one. She showed even more fortitude and determination than in the previous book and I was rooting for her throughout.

Celine took centre stage in The Beautiful and Bastien had little character development, whereas The Damned saw him take the spotlight and have his own arc too. His POV chapters were in the first person and in the present tense, as opposed to everyone else’s POV chapters being in the third person and the past tense, making it feel as if it was primarily his story. We get to see the most of his inner conflict as he dealt with his own trauma and navigated uncharted waters in a familiar world. He wanted to be a better version of himself despite the darkness inside him and he went on a journey to find out what that meant. I liked discovering more depth to his character and it helped me to better understand him.

“Love and loyalty are not always the same thing. Loyalty is easy. Love is doing what is right, even when it is difficult.”

I loved getting to learn more about the side characters especially Odette and Jae. I think they both deserve their own spin off books because they’re amazing and have the most interesting back stories. We get to see the POVs of so many more characters in comparison to The Beautiful such as Bastien, Odette, Jae, Arjun and more. I was actually surprised that we don’t see Celine’s POV until around a quarter of the book. I liked reading from new perspectives even though at first it slowed the pace down too much.

The Damned didn’t hold back with the supernatural: vampires, werewolves, fey, goblins and more. We are introduced to the magical realms of the summery Sylvan Vale and the wintry Sylvan Wyld– equally dangerous despite their appearances. The plot became more about the greater picture than any one character’s goals which I liked but, as I mentioned earlier, too many components were introduced without being properly fleshed out. The conflict between the Brotherhood and the Fallen could have also felt more high stakes.

I really enjoyed The Damned but it felt like it was mainly setting the stage for the next book. I originally thought this series was a duology but it turns out there’s going to be a third book and I cannot wait!

Have you read The Damned? How do you think it compared to The Beautiful? Let me know in the comments!

Twitter Goodreads

Reviews · Uncategorized

Monstrous Glamour: Review of The Beautiful

Book: The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

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’s vibrant 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.

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.

Goodreads | Twitter