Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for The Beautiful (from Goodreads):
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 Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien’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.
Series: The Beautiful
Author: Renée Ahdieh
# of Books: 4 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, more books to be published
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First & Third Person
Publication Dates: October 2019 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook
Disclaimer: I only read the first book of the series, The Beautiful, and have opted not to pick up the sequels. Find out why below…
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
I’m 50/50 for Renée’s book series. I loved The Wrath and The Dawn (so much that I bought the hardcovers which I rarely do) but was left a little underwhelmed by The Flame in the Mist. So this series was going to be the tiebreaker. And boy, was I excited to try it! I miss the YA paranormal (ie vampire) reads of my younger days and this seemed like the perfect gothic read to remind me why that genre was such a trend 10 years ago.
What I Liked:
I’ve never been to New Orleans and this book just made me want to go there right away. The gothic setting is so lush and captivating. Renée writes great worlds without dumping so much info on you. I wish we spent more time in it though.
–The Mysterious Narrator–
I really loved the mystery of who this second narrator (the murderer) was. That mystery kept me going honestly. It kept the story moving and my mind racing with theories when I would zone out from Celine’s narration.
What I Didn’t Like:
I had flashbacks to Bella Swan with this lead–and that isn’t a compliment. She was so, so dry and dull. I got so bored of her lamenting about this “dangerous” side lurking inside of her (which was’t all that dangerous if you ask me. Perhaps it was just a strong case of curiosity?). Honestly, as I write this I struggle to write anything about her because she was so forgettable to me.
A lot of this book felt like filler to me. As in they contributed nothing to the plot and could be omitted without alarm. The last few chapters when everything comes into place were exciting but I was so over this story by then (I just wanted to find out who the narrator was!) I didn’t bring myself to care.
The chemistry between Bastain and Celine was non-existent for me. I didn’t get where on Earth those deep feelings came from. I think they talked maybe 3 times before they are declaring love?
I think some people might disagree with this part but I thought Celine had much stronger chemistry with the police detective Mathew. At least she interacted with him enough times that I could believe they would develop romantic feelings.
My Audiobook Experience:
I enjoyed the audio production. The accents were great and I never struggled with listening to it…it was the writing that I had a hard time with.
Will I Finish It?
No. Despite an intriguing ending I really don’t care about Celine enough to pick up the sequels. Especially when I learned it was going to be a 4 book series. No thanks!
My Series Rating: DNF
The Beautiful 2/5 | The Damned N/A | Book 3 N/A
|Book 4 N/A
For those who really love gothic settings with a slow building plot line, this might be a good one for you. But if you want something faster paced, look elsewhere!
Read if You Like: gothic reads, slow story building
Avoid if You: dislike vampires, dislike paranormal
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- Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao (Blood Heir Trilogy #1)