Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Review - The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1) by Renée Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pages: 448
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 8th October 2019

Blurb from Goodreads:  

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 Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien'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.

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley*

When seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau escapes to New Orleans leaving her life as a seamstress in Paris behind, she finds herself alongside several other girls at a convent.

Convent life doesn't suit Celine, but the city of New Orleans does, and she soon becomes involved with the mysterious La Cour des Lions, and their leader, Sébastien 'Bastien' Saint Germain. Bastien is dangerous and the last thing Celine needs in her life given her own dark secret, but Celine can't help being attracted to him.

Then one of the convent girls is found dead at the lair of La Cour des Lions. More bodies turn up and the killer seems to be stalking Celine.

Has the killer set their sights on Celine?

Will Celine's past come back to haunt her?

When I heard the author talk about The Beautiful at a panel last year it made me really excited to read it, but having seen a lot of mixed reviews, I wasn't sure I would end up enjoying The Beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't.

Celine was an okay protagonist, but I don't feel like I really connected with her. I liked that she was determined and knew what she wanted.

Pippa and Odette were my favourite characters and the friendships were my favourite part of the book.

The setting of 1872 New Orleans was interesting and the historical connotations that applied to the story.

The plot held my attention to begin with, but after a while I found myself becoming bored and struggling to connect with the storyline. The pacing was a bit off for me at times and I felt like not much happened.

The romance took a while to grow on me, but in the end I did feel the connection between the characters.

I feel that The Beautiful had a lot of potential, but it didn't reach that potential for me.

I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more as the concept really intrigued me.

Overall, this was an okay read.

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