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.
I received this book from the publisher at YALC but this did not affect my opinion at all.
This might by my first ever very negative review. I was debating whether or not to even write this review because I don’t like writing long negative reviews, especially about ARCs but I kinda want to rant about this book. If you want to read this book and have high expectations, it’s probably best that you don’t even read this review because I don’t think I’ll say a single positive thing.
I was so excited for this book. I’ve always found paranormal romances to be a guilty pleasure of mine and I was ready for a new mainstream YA novel about vampires but this book was not good. Like at all. I’ve never read any other Renee Ahdieh novels but I don’t think I’m going to read another one of her novels because this book really put me off.
What irritated me the most about this book was the complete lack of vampires. I think we had in total like 2 vampire focused scenes. If this wasn’t being marketed as the return of the vampire, then it would have been fine. But so many people are going to go into this book expecting intense vampire content but that is not what we got. What we actually got was a confusing and boring story that I still don’t even really understand.
Another major irk with me was the writing. I feel like the author was trying to write in the style of the time period but some things were so out of place such as ‘I do not give a f**k’ and ‘you’re thirsty for him’. These are modern day phrases and it didn’t make sense in this book. On top of that, the general writing was badly phrased. I found it to be so confusing and I feel like we were constantly missing paragraphs and lines because it would jump around constantly. Nothing felt fully developed so I’m still not sure what even happened.
I also did not enjoy the main characters. Celine was interesting at times, but I found her actions and dialogue to be very repetitive. Also, this book mentions her boobs on like every page and I don’t know why Renee Ahdieh mentioned them constantly. Bastien, the love interest, was your typical broody YA hero so there’s not much to complain about with him. But he was hardly in it and their love story felt a lot like insta love. I also didn’t like how most of the time, she only felt validated with her actions when he validated them for her, especially in regards to the big thing that occured to her in the past. The side characters were interesting but they were also hardly in it. This book just honestly felt like it was Celine by herself most of the time which made it very boring.
The plot twist related to the killer really irked me but I can’t say why because of spoilers obviously. But it reinforces a previous complaint that I had about it. The events that occured to the main characters in the last chapter were somewhat intriguing but not enough to carry on with the series. I don’t think I’ll be carrying on with this series and I definitely do not recommend this book. I’m not sure if I’m the minority but I haven’t strongly disliked a book this much in a while which made me sad.