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.
Last year I read two books by Renée Adhieh, Flame in The Mist and Smoke in The Sun. I thoroughly enjoyed these two books and when it became known that she would release The Beautiful, I had a lot of expectations for the book. A vampire murder mystery? Yes please. But I think I had set my expectations a little too high, it was quite disappointing for me.
It starts slowly and it takes a long time before the story starts. The plot is a bit vague and I often had no idea what was going on. You sometimes have that the story is really good and then suddenly it drops again and the tension and the story become vague again. Because the story starts slowly, it takes at least 200 pages before it gets well. This caused my interest in the book to decrease somewhat.
It is told from Celine’s perspective but occasionally also from Sébastien. There are a few chapters what is told from the ‘bad guy’ perspective. You have no idea who this person is and this makes you want to read on. It is only at the end of the story that you find out who it is, and I have to say that Renée Adhieh did an excellent job because there are no hints of who he this person was through the story.
It’s a vampire story, but where are the vampires? There are hardly any vampires in the story and this was a major disappointment.
Despite the fact that this wasn’t a great book, I did enjoy it after a while. Renée Ahdieh has a lovely writing style which made this book easy to read.
I am very curious about the second part ‘The Damned’ and I hope that there will be more vampires in this.
I’ve buddy read this with Roelien. Definitely check out her review!
Rating: ★★★✩✩ Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
About the author
Renee Ahdieh is an American-Korean author, best known for her New York Times best-selling series The Wrath and the Dawn. Her books have been translated into many languages. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Currently, she resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Victor, and their dog, Mushu.
Book by this author: – The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1) – The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn, #2) – Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1) – Smoke in the Sun (Flame in the Mist #2) – The Beautiful ( The Beautiful #1)