The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

The Beautiful

Author: Renée Ahdieh
Series: The Beautiful #1
Reviewer: Marlou

Content Warnings



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.

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I so badly wanted to like this book, but alas, I did not. Three stars is me being generous. This book really was not for me. Look, I love vampires, so when this book was said to include them and the location was New Orleans, I squealed in delight. But it was not meant to be.

Supernaturals: the supernatural world is not explained. At all. The creatures that live in this other-world are not mentioned clearly. There is just no world-building at all. I do not know anything and I have truly read every word of this book.

Writing style: I could not get used to the way this book was written. The author used too many details, too many descriptions and way too few actual plot points. The entire story doesn’t feel done, it feels as though parts of this story were not included in the novel.

Characters: although the characters were all vastly different, I still found them boring, flat and uninteresting. Even the beautiful devil himself, Bastien. I did not feel close to anyone, did not mourn any deaths nor was outraged at people getting hurt. I just did not have a connection with anyone.

Language: this book has a lot of French in it. If you don’t know any French then that is seriously taking some nuances of the book away. I speak a little French so I could understand enough of it to make sense of the sentences. The important lines are translated, but the subtle little things are not which, if you don’t speak French, can be of great annoyance because you won’t quite get what they’re saying.

Murder mystery: this book is supposed to be about some kind of murder mystery. It did not feel that mysterious to me as the reader can read into the thoughts of the killer. The bodies are all mauled by some rabid animal which is clearly a vampire attack and the immortals in the story know that. They probably also knew exactly who the murderer was this whole time or at least its motive. Nothing felt mysterious to me, it was just several murders…

I’m just very disappointed by this book. I can see the potential. I can see why some will like it. I just didn’t. It’s not the book for me. Three stars is all it is getting and I’m truly feeling generous giving it that rating.