My Rating ~ Three and a half stars
RELEASE DATE: 8 October 2019
Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
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.
Thank you so much to GP Putnam’s Sons for providing me with a copy of The Beautiful, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Celine has arrived in New Orleans, alone and unwilling to talk about why she left her home in Paris so suddenly. Moving into the convent isn’t ideal and it’s not long before Celine feels the pull of the strangeness of the new city. When a chance encounter brings her into contact with incredibly handsome, but infuriating Sebastian and his friends life gets very interesting much faster than she anticipated. When people start being murdered around the city, Celine starts to suspect the murders aren’t as random as they first appeared.
I found this one quite hard to rate, because although I quite enjoyed the story, The Beautiful has been touted as the next big vampire book, and it just…..isn’t. I think this is one of those times hyped marketing might have done the book itself a disservice. This is not a ‘vampire story’. Vampires are barely mentioned. If you are hoping for an ‘Interview with the Vampire’ type experience, it won’t be it.
I kind of wish I hadn’t known anything about this story before I read it. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more than I did. The writing is lyrical and magical, I loved both Sebastian and Celine as characters. Sebastian was one of those characters that will stay with me for his arrogant but seductive personality. The ‘supernatural’ beings that are woven through the background of the story are elusive…a bit too elusive. We pretty much learn nothing about them for the entire book. To be honest, when the end of the book came, I wasn’t sure if it was just me missing a whole bunch of information or whether it really didn’t make sense at all.
The chapters narrated by Celine were interspersed with chapters from a mystery villain, and although I understand we couldn’t exactly have labels to show who the chapter was by, as the mystery is part of the story, it would have been helpful to have some way of knowing who’s point of view we were reading from (even by maybe labelling Celine’s chapters at least). I did read the E-Arc though, so I’m not sure if there will be some identifying feature in the final book.
As I mentioned, this is a hard one for me to review. Do I want to read the next book? Yes. I need to know what on earth happened at the end, and I’m hoping maybe we’ll get more vampires in book two? Did I enjoy the actual writing? Yes. But the pacing, confusing aspects and lack of actual vampire characters kept it from being a five star read for me.