The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
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.
At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.
I read this with the Nic Nax Book Club (and y’all should totally check out her shop because she makes MAGICAL book folds!)
All I knew about this before going in was vampires are BACK (except this time I actually care haha)! Renee Ahdieh is one of those authors I just have to read because I love her writing style and I know she’ll kill it. And kill it, she did!
I was hooked right away because Celine is one sassy woman! I loved wit and intelligence and I especially enjoyed the fact that she was making dirty jokes even though she was literally about to go to a convent. QUEEN.
I was very intrigued by the mysterious gentlemen and the MURDER. But most importantly, I was very invested in the chemistry between Sebastian and Celine. Not to mention the beautiful flirtations and resulting embarrassment when it sometimes backfired. Oh my gosh, there was one scene where I was so mortified for Celine! It was PERFECTION!
Throughout the book I was convinced every single person was going to betray her and had no idea where the story was going to go! Another thing I liked was the fact that most of the story was told in third person… but there were a few chapters in first person by a mystery narrator! It added more to the mystery!
Also, I loved the friendship Celine developed with Odette! Odette was so frikkin’ cool! She was just so confident–I aspire to have that level of comfort and confidence in life! And Pippa was so cute, but I felt like she was just sort of…there… I felt like she didn’t have as much of a purpose to be honest.
This book did make me THINK a lot, but in a good way! I was completely immersed into the story and was trying to analyze everything to figure out the full picture before it was revealed (I didn’t solve it haha). Honestly, the only reason I docked half a point off my rating was because my poor brain had a bit of a difficult time comprehending the last bit of the book (well, at least I wasn’t completely sure I understood it). Overall though, a book I would definitely recommend!
If you love murders, mystery, extremely handsome bad guys (and I mean actually bad, okay? STAY AWAY… if you can, haha), badass females, fashion, masquerade balls, really scary creatures of the night, hilarious and dirty Shakespeare references, and awesome twists and turns you’ll love this story!