*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: The Beautiful
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.
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.
Review: Well, I’m officially thirsty for more! This is basically the lovechild of Six of Crows and The Originals because it has a strong cast of morally questionable characters and it’s set in 19th century New Orleans. I’m also going to add that it’s kind of got a Jack the Ripper twist to the story because poor Celine is being stalked by a murderer. There is no shortage of suspense or thrill in this one! Oh, and we can’t forget the vampires.
Celine comes to New Orleans hoping for a fresh start, but she gets pulled into the dark, inviting world of La Cour des Lions. It doesn’t help that she’s curious about their mysterious leader, Sébastien St. Germain. Oh, and she’s stubborn as all hell and refuses to be told what to do, especially by men. Prepare yourselves for a delicious slow-burn! It’s a chemistry overload between them and literally everyone and everything is trying to keep them apart. It’s a total forbidden romance that will leave you craving more!
I really enjoyed that the author didn’t try to throw vampires in your face at every turn. There’s a a mystery surrounding it all and even through Celine knows something is different about her new friends, she knows she can’t stay away. It was fun getting to see the villain’s POV as well because it was pretty much impossible to guess who it was! This book also sets the stage for all that underlying supernatural tension to be released in the sequels.
There are so many fun, dark twists in this story and I loved how surprisingly sinister it was! I think having the suspense from the murderer on the loose totally added a lot and I think the mystery of it all was amazing. Just when I thought I knew what was happening, someone would end up betraying someone. Not everything is as it seems in this story. Bring on the new age of the vampires!