BOOK REVIEW: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh

BOOK REVIEW: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee AhdiehThe Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)
by Renee Ahdieh
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: 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.

My Disclaimer:

Before Reading Book Two: Highly Recommend (I literally insist)

After Reading Book Two: What are you talking about? There is no book two. This is simply a wonderfully charismatic, dramatic ending standalone. Do with that information what you will.

Nothing good ever came from succumbing to madness.

I read this over a month ago, yet I am no less breathless when I randomly begin thinking about it. I think it says something when you have read probably ten books post said book and your mind still randomly jumps back to it randomly, dumping you back into that time and moment when you wholly immersed yourself and said ‘I’ll never forget this’. But we always forget. Always.

It drove me to where I am now. But I am not ungrateful. For it brought to bear two of my deepest truths: I will always possess an errant young soul, no matter my age.
And I will always be the shadowy creature in darkened alcoves, waiting . . .
For you, my love. For you.

That’s not to say we NEVER remember it again, or can’t relive that feeling when we do think back to it, but we all move on, us readers, because we make room for so many more amazing books, if we are lucky. I think I’ve been very fortunate, as I have read no less than 40 amazing 5 star books just this past year (maybe more) and I loved them all fiercely for each individual story, each with its own merit-sometimes for the same reason, the same trope, the same male characteristics, the same strong, bold heroine, or a shy blushing MC. Maybe instead it’s witty and sarcastic, or dramatic and tension-filled, rife with peril or romantic delusions leading to a huge-but oh so amazing-misunderstanding that makes or breaks the book (but almost always makes the book, for me).

But if a monster takes a life, what kind of creature refuses to save one?

So why this book? What was so individualistic about it that it pops in my mind so much when it wasn’t without many flaws? Well. Perhaps that bias comes from book two which doesn’t even exist so why I even mentioned such an asinine thing is beyond me, but whatever. I. Don’t. Know. I just know that when I picked this book up, it felt right. I know I say that now and again [a lot] but it makes it no less true. And that just makes me a good reader, a smart reader, a very altruistic (I looked this up and legit this is not the correct word but I like the way it looks and sounds so…it stays) and enthusiastic fan. And this was no exception.

No matter where she went, danger followed.
And it horrified her. Just as it thrilled her.

I think part of the reason I fell so strongly in love with this story was that, TO ME, it felt different. New. Exciting. It’s not-not really-but it was such a mashup of so many things I felt a kinship to it, a pull unlike anything I’d felt in a while. It wasn’t my normal ‘Oh I’ll love this forever’ stint, nor did it just jump off the page and become an instant favorite. Much like the slow burn of this novel, this book grew on me in a way I’m not accustom to and…I definitely didn’t hate it.

In that instant, Celine thought she had an inkling of what it must be like to be a monster. To commit monstrous deeds. To wish for monstrous things to come about.
To revel in the dark.

Celine was a heroine I wholeheartedly enjoyed with her curiosity and fierce nature (it was a while ago I read this, so bare with me on describing her-I just know I LOVED her for simply being her and she was a fun heroine to follow, even if I don’t wholly remember everything). She knew what she wanted, and she also knew what she could and couldn’t live without-her friend was of utmost importance to her, so she did what she felt she had to. She could not put her friend in danger as she was sought after by the killer. What she could live with endangering her life for…well. Same.

Was this love then?
If it was, Celine wanted to bathe in it. To luxuriate in this feeling of knowing—without being told—that someone saw her, amid the beautiful decay. Saw her and stood by her side, against the very world itself.

Bastien. Let’s not pretend he is anything new in the male lead department…but it doesn’t mean I didn’t squee when he came on the page, morally gray as ever yet as sweet as a cinnamon roll to those he loved and cared about. I wonder who he grew to care about? Hm. Puzzler. That all being said, their love is forbidden for too many reasons to name, and he knows that. Yet as the book progresses, we begin to see his facade crack, his attitude change, and his motives become perhaps no less pure, but far more misguided.

“Ask him.” His smile turned punishing. “I have no doubt what his answer will be.”
“Mon cher, you don’t know him as well as you think you do.” Odette’s retort was pointed. “That’s the thing about beautiful fiends like Sébastien Saint Germain: they always do what you least expect them to do.” She brushed a speck of nonexistent dust from his shoulder. “And in the end, they always wear the crown.”

I cannot say why misguided, as I wasn’t quite sure what he was or wasn’t until a certain point in this story-I still raised an eyebrow when ‘proof’ was shown, but no matter. It all came to a head, in the end. Just know this: If a tortured hero (for actual good reason, this time) with forbidden love and mystery is what you fancy, I’d go for it.

“…Rage is a moment. Regret is forever.”

So. I don’t know. Without continuing to ramble I don’t know how I am supposed to express why you should read this when I can’t quite pinpoint why it felt different to me. Set in an eerie New Orleans, with unidentified creatures and Celine’s quest to figure who or what is targeting those around her, this book was just a breath of fresh air. I loved following her through the streets not knowing what was following her, who was around (not all bad, ya know), what might happen (as there really wasn’t a set formula, it just flowed), and what would eventually transpire when it all came to a head and Bastien had to make a choice-I won’t say it was right up my alley, not outright, but, okay, I was laying in said alley basking in the darkness, starlight, and forbidden lovers as they raced to survive against an unknown wholly evil force and I literally could not breathe. But, like, make your own decision, ‘kay? Don’t take my word for it.

******

The way I loved this so much 😭😭

RTC

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    Hmm, so the first book didn’t blow me away. And I haven’t picked up the second. But now I’m wondering if I should or not? Great review!
    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted…Book Blitz Review with Giveaway: Love You Wrong (Love You, Maine #0.5) by Julia KentMy Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Ugh well…you got my answer! So sorry for my late response!!! And thank you so much for reading my reviews! :)))

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