⇒Featuring vampires, forbidden romance and New Orleans
All the hype you’ve heard about The Beautiful, all the mentions of steamy enemies-to-lovers romance, the whispers in the dark about murder and balls…it’s all true. Renée Ahdieh’s next novel is sumptuous, gripping and heated – and the wait is finally over. Vampires are officially cool again.
I adore Renée Ahdieh. I read The Wrath and the Dawn almost a year ago and it absolutely blew me away with its rich prose and breathtaking world. I met Renée in July and she is literally the sweetest person in the world, so when an arc of The Beautiful arrived at my doorstep…I squealed.
One of my favourite things about Renée’s writing is that she can make any setting come alive. With New Orleans as a background, you can be sure The Beautiful was rich in culture and world-building. I felt like I was with Celine amid the gilded houses and the dark streets where all kinds of creatures lurk, at luxurious parties and supping with the Court.
Celine was such an awesome heroine. She wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself and her friends. She was determined and brave and beautiful. I loved seeing her character grow and change as she navigated her life after fleeing Paris. The side characters were just as great. Odette was glamourous and interesting, a star in her own right. It’s my life goal to befriend her. Pippa was generous and kind, such a genuine and innocent character, I really appreciated that she didn’t have to stab people and shout – not that I mind that – to show what a great person she was.
“It never ceased to amaze her, how she seemed to thrive under cover of darkness. How she fell more in love with the moon every night.”
One downside of this book for me was that…I didn’t really like Bastien. Don’t @ me, I beg, but he was just such a typical YA hero that I felt pretty much nothing for him. I wanted to be swept away and fall in love like I know so many readers will, but I just, didn’t and that really disappointed me.
The Beautiful was full of twists and turns, both unexpected and expected. I never knew quite where the plot was leading, where the killer would strike next, what Celine would do. It was pacey and enticing and I couldn’t put this book down.
I loved the feeling that crawled up my spine as I read this book, that I was being watched by a pair of beautiful but deadly eyes that hid in the dark corners of the streets. I loved the mysterious snippets of narrative we got from the eyes of the villain, they really helped make this book unique and interesting.
Honestly, was this book cliché? Yes, absolutely. But I enjoyed it in all of its trope-y beauty, so I’ve got nothing to complain about.
Overall, The Beautiful was a sumptuous and magical book that swept me off my feet. It was elegant and lyrical, surprising and exciting. I would expect nothing less from Renée Ahdieh. I’d absolutely recommend this book to everyone who loves YA fantasy. What a revelation.