The Beautiful

The Beautiful

Book - 2019
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"In 19th century New Orleans, Celine, a dressmaker from Paris, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery that's connected to a glamorous supernatural cohort"-- Provided by publisher.
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien's own lair--the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks--Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose--one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2019]
ISBN: 9781524738174
1524738174
Branch Call Number: AHD Y
Characteristics: 425 pages ; 22 cm

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r
ravengirls
Nov 18, 2020

This was much better than I anticipated, and although it was slow at time I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't wait to pick up the next one.

This was a fun return to the world of vampires that didn't succumb to a lot of the stereotypes that I wondered if it would. In classic Renee Ahdieh fashion, there's a swoony male love interest, a super badass female MC, and a lot of intrigue and mystery.

Celine Rousseau is fleeing from her past in Paris, sailing across the ocean to New Orleans to start a new life. She expects hard work and anonymity - but what she doesn't expect is a group of inhumanly beautiful people to take an interest in her. When Odette asks her to make a dress for her, a passion she hasn't been able to pursue since her flight across the world, Celine agrees, eager not just to live, but to feel alive again. But soon, she becomes entangled in a web of betrayal and mistrust that has spanned centuries, leaving her and Bastien, the nephew of Count Saint Germain, in a mess of past heartbreak and developing love. Celine is hardened to the world, but, much as she is loathe to admit it, not to Bastien, and her heart may lead her to her death.

In many ways, this felt like the vamp novels of my teen years that I adored with my entire being. There's this mystery surrounding these inhumanly beautiful demon creatures, there's a set-up for a love triangle (ugh, I know, but I actually didn't hate it here), there's a wilful, stubborn MC. But those expectations I had were subverted in different ways in each case.

Celine is a wonderful anti-heroine. I don't say that lightly, because so many YA heroines are whiny and predictable. Celine isn't. She's so set on her own future and carving her way, so terrified of her past and of her feelings towards Bastien that it makes her angry. She is so far from perfect, and I loved her for that. She is just a girl trying to make it in the world; she's smart, and cunning, and wonderfully, darkly funny on top of it all. The crew that makes up La Cour de Lions is also worthy of note in the character department; somehow, I was able to keep all their names straight, which is a feat when there's so many, but it shows how Renee created such vivid characters and brought them to life so well. I also adored Pippa - sweet, lovely Pippa - and I just want her to be happy okay?

The mystery was also woven through the story in a masterful way. I didn't guess whose perspective the vamp chapters were from, nor did I guess the ultimate identity of the vamp trying to kill Celine. It was all a lovely surprise at the big reveal, and I love it when that happens.

Also, *spoiler* I'm SO HAPPY we avoided the trope of the girl falling in love with the vamp. At least in this book I guess... *spoiler*

The set-up of the love triangle for the next book was also well-done, but I feel like it's pretty unnecessary. Who wants Celine with Grimaldi? Who would ship that when dark beautiful devilish Bastien is also available? However, I didn't mind Michael. I just didn't love him like I loved Bastien, and obviously, neither did Celine, so...

Anyways, I suppose I will end this on the note that I love vampire novels. This one did feel a bit draggy at times, but overall, I enjoyed it. I liked the period drama piece of it, and I loved Celine as a character.

ArapahoeTiegan Apr 14, 2020

Set in 1872 New Orleans - the setting for this story was absolutely wonderful. I could hear the French, Yorkshire, Scottish, Spanish accents and it was glorious. I have always been a lover of vampires and I am so happy they are back in YA and in such a dark and glamorous way. I cannot wait for more books in the series to see the vampire culture unravel a bit more - it was really in the shadows for this first book, which set such an amazing tone.

s
sabeehab
Mar 24, 2020

So far, I am loving this book. It can be a little bit cheesy in some regards, such as the romance between the two main characters, but it is enjoyable all the same. I do enjoy the main characters, but the supporting characters are particularly compelling. I am excited to read more!

r
rosajazl
Jan 05, 2020

I could not for the life of me finish this book. The main character was not relatable and actually got more and more annoying as the book went on. She claimed that her love interest was annoying, frightening, frustrating and yet somehow she kept being attracted to him. She tried to stay clever and play some kind of hard to get game but her responses were weak. The writing was too flowery; it seemed like the writer picked some words, looked in a thesaurus, and randomly picked a substitute that didn't actually quite fit. Not recommended.

c
CDawg24
Dec 28, 2019

In terms of content, it felt disorganized. (I also listened on audio, so I'm not sure if this had an impact on the pacing.) It was hard for me to connect with Celine as a protagonist, instead of seeming multi-faceted she came off as annoying and inconsistent. The relationship between Pippa and Celine weren't flushed out, the reveals were oddly paced, and Bash seemed very one dimensional. I'm a big fan of Renee, but this wasn't her best. As a intersectional feminist, it felt a bit slapdash in it's telling of race and sexist.

c
Cutyshy
Dec 02, 2019

This book was so dark and enchanting in the best way. The author captures a glittering captivating world and I enjoyed every page! Rene Ahdieh is a phenomenal writer and this new book did not disappoint. Once I started I couldn't put it down and the plot twist at the ending was not expected. I fell in LOVE with the characters and I'm so intrigued as to how this story will continue!!

OPL_KrisC Nov 27, 2019

A dark fantasy adventure for teens set in New Orleans about vampires and a forbidden romance.

Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Sep 05, 2019

I love the diversity of the cast of characters and the unabashed discussion of issues of racism. I mean, it’s 1890s New Orleans, so I’d be pretty upset if that wasn’t addressed! I think there’s more to be explored, though, because a lot of the tensions hinted at by Celine, Bastien, and Arjun’s racial identities in particular are not addressed in depth. Maybe that’s coming in book two?

I also loved that there are some great feminist moments and one-liners, but I did cringe at Celine's internal conflict about the incident that drove her away from Paris (won't tell you what it is because spoilers!). I thought that didn’t fit with some of her other great empowerment moments.

The twist at the end. OMG. So intriguing. I was a bit underwhelmed by the big villain reveal but the twist really saved it. Looking forward to finding out what happens in the second book!

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OPL_KrisC Nov 27, 2019

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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