*** Possible Spoilers Ahead! ***
Book Title: The Beautiful
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Main Theme: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Thesis: Seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau steps off the ship, a new girl in early 19th century New Orleans. A transplant from Paris, she feels completely out of her depth, living in a convent of nuns with other young girls who are looking for eligible husbands. Celine has her secrets, and she can’t seem to outrun them. But danger seems to follow her everywhere, as she is somehow caught up in a web of bloodlust and fear, centered at it is the mysterious Sébastien Saint Germain. As the city is gripped by horrific murders, Celine needs to watch her back, and be careful about who she can trust, because the killer might have her in his sights, and a forbidden love might cost the ultimate price – her life.
What Drew Me In: It’s no secret, I like a good vampire book every now and then. I was a huge Twilight fan back in the day… I might be a closeted one now. I have read a few series before, like House of Night and the Evernight series, both of which were… a little too young adult, if you get what I mean. House of Night sometimes feels like a horny teenager writing smut at 2:00 in the morning, when they should be asleep for school. Evernight was kind of cool, with the concept of ghouls mixed in the story, but the ending was just so…. frustrating! So it’s easy to say, I’m a little picky with my vampire books nowadays. What drew me into this book was the setting of the story: old-world New Orleans. There is something about it that just seems magical to me. If you have visited New Orleans before… bless your heart. Of course, when I finally went, it was well after Hurricane Katrina, but you can see that the city is still suffering from it, which is really sad. Condemned buildings everywhere, with huge X’s painted on them. People hustling in the streets, trying to make a few dollars to feed their families. What used to be a magical city has really gone downhill, and I hope that one day it can be restored to its former glory. Until then, I have this book to keep me company.
My Thoughts: Before we get into the plotline, let me say this first. I haven’t read any books by Ahdieh before, but man, I was missing out. She does a beautiful job of creating a setting for her books. The amount of detail is perfect. The way she describes the sights, smells, and noises of Mardi Gras. The smell of chocolate and pastries in the streets, coming from the local cafe’s, or the loud, boisterous parades going down the main street, or the dazzling outfits that Celine notices or makes, my little author heart is melting. It’s amazing.
Now, on to the story.
Holy… hot, sexy, blood-thirsty vampires. I’m going to date myself a little here. Has anyone read Anne Rice’s “Interview With A Vampire”? Or at least seen the movie? I finally watched the movie about two-ish years ago. A little warning, it is not for kids. If you have read the books, or seen the movie, this is exactly what The Beautiful feels like. Ahdieh even says that she was inspired by Anne Rice’s books. My opinion: I wanted to jump right into the book and experience it for myself. Vampires + New Orleans = a great book.
The main character, Celine, is a beautiful and rebellious girl who set’s off for a new adventure in America, leaving her French home behind. When she arrives in New Orleans, she’s dazzled by the new scents, sights, and ways of thinking. Even though she is wooed by it all, she’s taken away from all the glamour and now lives in a convent with the other young ladies, earning her keep by doing chores and busywork, waiting for a man to swoop her off her feet with a proposal. But Celine feels like she is destined for something more in her life, and through stubbornness and free-thinking, she finds herself in The Court of Lions, dressing one of the most glamourous clients with her amazing fashion skills. From here on through the book, Celine is followed closely by an undeniable attraction to a mysterious figure, with danger lurking around the corner, and the finest elite of the wealthy patrons of New Orleans takes her for a spin. While sometimes the story seems a little slow, it ends with such an illegal cliffhanger. I already know I will be purchasing the second book this summer because I’m impatient and I’m not waiting for a copy at the library. 😂
Another thing that I do like about the book is the diverseness of all the characters. Most characters seem to come from all around the world, with different accents, mannerisms, skin colors, and for a certain few, abilities to do things. It’s fun to see more diversity in such a beautiful world!
Would I recommend this book?: If it wasn’t clear from all the praise, YES. It’s a breath of refreshing air in the world of vampires and YA. I’ve heard rumors that it will be a four-book series, so you’ll get your fill of lusty hot vampires and New Orleans. Once the libraries open back up, run and get yourself a copy! 🧛🏽♂️
I’m sorry for being so lazy lately! Quarantine is hard, it just sucks the productivity out of me. Hopefully, I can get back on track. Until then, thank you to everyone who continues to support me and this blog! You are so appreciated!
The Library Lady ♡