Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date - October 8, 2019
Publisher Website - Penguin Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**obtained at Book Expo America**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Paranormal, particularly paranormal romance, has always been a favourite genre of mine. Vampires, in particular, have always caught my attention. Nothing really gets me to add a book to my to be read pile faster than hearing it has vampires in it, especially if they are hot vampires. Needless to say, I was immediately sold in the premise of Renee Ahdieh's The Beautiful from the moment I heard about it. Luckily, it surpassed my expectations and it ended up being a romance that is built around a taunt mystery.

Part of what charmed me about The Beautiful was its setting. New Orleans under Renee Ahdieh's prose is a lush, vivid backdrop for the atmospheric and seductive tale she is weaving. It was exactly what I hoped for. I love New Orleans and the particular atmosphere than can only be felt in that particular city. The history seeps through every single part of it, and Renee captures its essence. The historical setting shifts the city a bit, but it makes you appreciate the history that is felt there in modern times all the more.

Celine is a head strong girl. She is exactly the type of character that people would, wrongly, describe as too much. She wants too much. She wants, period. She pushes societal boundaries in ways that I found exciting. She speaks her mind and is not willing to settle in any way. She especially stands out in this historical setting in a way that I enjoyed and I found complimented the story being told. You needed this character to be the type who was willing to break rules and get into some trouble for the story to work.

Sebastian is the mysterious, alluring man who catches Celine's eye. He has secrets and is reluctant to let anyone in. The back and forth between he and Celine feels electric and inevitable. His group of friends, The Court of Lions, are equally as charming and fascinating. My only real issue is that Sebastian remains mysterious until the latter part of the novel and I want to learn more about him and his secrets.

Michael, the young and good looking police detective, is another character that I found fascinating. His story unravels slowly, but it offers a delicious set up for the next novel. Those who are not a fan of love triangles may want to proceed with caution because there is definitely the potential for one to flourish in the second novel. The way everything ties together at the end is my absolute favourite part of this novel and Michael's storyline is a large part of that.

The ending, for me, packs the most spellbinding punch. It shifts the story into high gear and offers tantalizing possibilities for the sequel. It is the kind of breathtaking set up that made my pulse race a little faster and had me desperate to get my hands on The Damned.

If you have missed vampires in literature as much as I have I highly recommend this delicious take on the creatures of the night. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. Vampires combined with sexy always work for me and this book was no exception. 

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