Move over Twlight, I do believe this is a start to a new series that just might unseat the reigning king of the vampire-werewolf love saga. Renee Ahdieh has laid down this gauntlet in the first in a new series titled, The Beautiful.
The setting is 1800’s New Orleans and Ahdieh does a masterful job of weaving the culture and ambience throughout this book of a burgeoning city full of decadence, religion, and long known to be a home for those of the otherworld. Her descriptions throughout the novel are rich in detail not only of the settings, homes, and gardens, but also of the fashion and society morays throughout the age. I found it incredibly historically accurate which added to the allure of the book.
The characters in this book are both mysterious and familiar at the same time. A mix of “Otherworldy” creatures which only are revealed later in the book lend to intrigue throughout the first parts of the book. Celine and Pippa are wonderfully crafted characters. Pippa is the picture of piety and rule-following gentleness. Celine is crafted with darkness and grit and an attitude that endears her to my heart. While she struggles with good nature versus bad nature, she does so with a quip on her lips and fashion sense to boot.
This novel wonderfully lays out a budding romance between two different gentlemen and one lady. The ending is a cliffhanger that leaves me wondering just what the author will do with the next installment. It could go so many ways that I can’t wait until the next one is released. For fans of vampire fiction, romance, mystery, and action add this book to your pile quickly as it is a definite page-turner.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Profanity/Language: 2 religious exclamations; 16 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 5 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 5 anatomical terms; 2 f-word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: Recall of murder without detail; four instances of throats torn out with minimal detail; discussion of beheaded corpse; 2 page fist fight; two recalls of smashing man’s head with candelabra; woman is forcefully moved and grabs man’s lapels in protest; man is shoved to floor (funny); two verbal threats; two threats with firearms; vampires feed with no detail; 4 page graphically bloody demon attack; recall of woman being tossed in pit and burned by sun; dismembered body on display; smack to back of head (playful); recall of stabbing with pencil; recall of gory/bloody wound; man breaks another’s nose; 3 page graphically bloody vampire attack with copious blood and broken bones.
Sex/Nudity: Nibble on earlobe; two caresses of face; two instances of discussion or reference to woman’s breasts; recall of unwanted touching of arms, neck and legs during rape attempt; kiss to hand; two kisses; hand holding; embrace to protect woman; 2 page scene with kissing, clothing being removed and hands under skirt on thigh; sexual innuendo.
Mature Subject Matter:
Racial conflict, death, rape, murder, gambling, supernatural (vampires etc.).
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults drink liquor and smoke.