Book Reviews

The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1) by Renee Ahdieh

The BeautifulTitle: The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Rating: ★★★★

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.

YESSS! Finally! Another vampire novel. The world has been waiting for this for years now. Unfortunately, I waited until right before the sequel was coming out. My mistake!

Initially, I was getting the Twilight vibes. Two guys who are swore enemies are vying for the attention of one human girl.

We must taste the bitter before we can appreciate the sweet.

The world-building was fantastic. The Gothic culture is one not mentioned enough. The lush descriptions of underground New Orleans is depicted as extravagant and elite. I could taste the buttery pastries slowly dissolving on my tongue. The Court of Lions is deceptive, secretive, and exclusive. This time period is the perfect setting for the vampiric culture.

Celine, our narrator, is a strong, direct, and thick-skinned girl. She has a past. We all do. What I loved the most about her is that she was able to be strong, yet vulnerable. Celine struggled with the actions of her past, but realized that they didn’t make who she was now. Afraid to be vulnerable to the people closest to her, she realizes that it is okay to ask for help and to rely on those close with her. I know, I, myself, have struggled with the same realization in the past.

Bastian is the bad-boy of the town. He can get any and every girl he wants, the men fear him, and he is as cocky as they come…until Celine comes in town. Him and Celine are more alike than they think.

I want to love Celine and Bastian together, but I always root for the underdog. I guess I am team Grimaldi. Sorry, not sorry.

My one complaint was I’m getting too many Twilight vibes. Hopefully, in The Damned, it strays away from how I see the story moving. I also thought ALL of the characters in the Court of Lions were too loud. I know some of them have to be introverts!

Which brings me to my next point…Pippa. I love her! She is so quiet and genuine…but she is definitely hiding something and I think she has to be paranormal in some way.

it’s up to us to make the best of our lives

Ahdieh brought readers a broody, dark, and Gothic world where paranormal characters live. Her lush descriptions of New Orleans circa 1872 makes readers feel like they’re participating in the balls and festivities.