Overall: 5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 4.5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: This book is definitely not for everyone, but it was perfect for me. Everything from the characters, the setting, and the plot- it was exactly what I wanted it to be, and more.
“We forget our dreams, but nightmares linger with us evermore.”
“There was no way for us to turn back. The tinder has been collected. The match has been struck.
Only one of us can survive the fires of Hell.”
Release Date: 10/8/2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 448
The Beautiful follows Celine as she flees her life in Paris and goes to New Orleans. Staying in the convent, Celine falls in love with the city she’s taken refuge in. But when young girls start being found dead, Celine must delve into the dark underworld of the city to find the murderer.
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Gun Violence, Torture, Rape Mention, Rape, Murder, Racism, Racist Slurs, Misogyny //
Read more for all of my thoughts on The Beautiful, and why I think it might be divisive!
“I am the spider. I set silken traps. I watch as you step into my web.
I wait to strike.
But do not fear. I promise I will never forget you.”
Writing & Setting
There are two aspects of this book that I think are causing people to not enjoy it. The first- the writing. If you’re familiar with Renee Ahdieh’s books, then you know her writing style. The prose is elegant, while still including fun banter between the characters and interesting asides. The majority of the book is in 3rd person, following Celine and Bastien, but there are 1st person chapters interjected, told from the point of view of the mystery murderer. While I loved each perspective, I think the mystery murderer was the most interesting (plus they quoted Aida so I love them now). However, the reason I think the writing might be a downside to some people, is that it’s a little dense. If you’ve read Renee Ahdieh, this will be no surprise to you (in fact, I think her writing has gotten even better than previous books), but if you’re coming into this expecting something easy to jump into, you’ll be disappointed.
There is a benefit to the denseness of her writing- it really, really helps set the scene and make the setting feel alive. You can tell Renee Ahdieh did her research when writing this book. The way she describes the food and fashion of the time is absolutely mesmerizing. She captures the sights and smells of 1870’s New Orleans so well, you feel transported there while you’re reading.
“No matter where she went, danger followed.
And it horrified her. Just as it thrilled her.”
Now for the second reason why people might not like this book (or why they might love it!)- the plot. This book is primarily a romance, with a hint of murder mystery, but overall it’s heavily character driven. This book is about Celine, Bastien, and the murderer. It’s about uncovering each characters past and seeing how and why it’s influencing the present. I know a lot of people were excited about the vampires, but the entire vampire aspect really doesn’t play a large role until the latter half of the book, and even then, it isn’t quite what most people (myself included) expected. I think a lot of people were thinking this book would be more like Twilight or other previous YA paranormal romances, but the paranormal aspect really doesn’t come to play until close to the end. For the majority of the book, it’s a historical romance with an interesting mystery.
Despite it not being what I expected, I really did love the plot of this book. It was a little slower, but it was so worth it. And when the plot picks up, it picks up. I didn’t want this book to end. The twists and reveals were amazing, and the suspense was killing me throughout the book. I couldn’t put it down.
“I am not so captivated by the beautiful, monsieur. For I know beauty is only a moment in time.”
The Beautiful has a few important characters, and I love them all so much. Celine, the main protagonist, is such a strong character, whose backstory is really interesting. I wish I could elaborate more on it, but no spoilers. I will just say- they handled it really well. Bastien, the main love interest, is such a fun character. Their romance is rooted in them being equals (and Shakespeare). The side characters are also really compelling, all of them were well rounded and interesting on their own. My only complaint is that by the end, some of the character motivations (and a little bit of the paranormal stuff) are a little murky. And by some of the characters, I really just mean one specific character. However, I think this will all be dealt with in the sequel. Have I mentioned yet that I’m dying for the sequel?!
“The truth is not always what you see.”
Pros- Great characters, great writing, great world– basically great everything
Cons- Don’t go into this book expecting your typical paranormal romance. It’s a lot slower and denser than your average vampire book, but it’s still amazing!
Overall- 5/5 stars.
While I can understand why someone may not love this book, I still would recommend it to anyone who is interested. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year. But oh god that ending killed me and I don’t know how to cope.
“It always ends in blood.”
If You Liked The Beautiful, I’d Recommend:
- Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco – [ Review ]
- Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare – [ Review ]
- The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh – [ Review ]
Bonus! More Quotes I Love:
“Before dawn breaks, I will know the scars Death left on her soul.”
“Knowing who you are is necessary in order to determine who you want to be.”
“Rage is a moment. Regret is forever.”
“A weed left the flourish is the death of the entire garden.”
“They thought there was no reason to fear me. That I had scattered to the winds, like ashes from an urn. They sought to steal my birthright and instill a false king upon the throne.
They were wrong.”
“Love of any kind is a weapon to be used against you, when wielded by the right hand.”
“Love is looking at someone as if the stars shine in their eyes.”
“The best she could do was hope. After all, hope was its own kind of magic.”
Are you excited for The Beautiful? What’s your favorite vampire book?