A dazzling paranormal murder mystery set in 1870s New Orleans about a girl who tries to escape one darkness only to find herself right in the middle of another.
Celine Rousseau fled a fancy dress shop in Paris for a convent in New Orleans after things that could definitely be the end of her (she’s got secrets) went down. She’s hoping for a fresh start in New Orleans — new city, new her, and none of that darkness she fears she carries within herself. But fresh off the boat that brought her to America, she runs head-on into the shadowy side of New Orleans, as though she’s drawn to the darkness. The shadow has a name, Sébastian Saint Germain, who is none other than the leader of La Cours de Lions. A group that may or may not harbor vampires (the vampire storyline is covert, not overt; don’t expect fangs on every page, or even in every chapter). But there is definitely a big bad monster stalking the streets of New Orleans, taking lives, and all the while zeroing in on Celine.
Celine is tough, independent, and determined to maintain her agency. Her focus is on the friendships she strikes up (Pippa and Odette) over potential love interests (Sébastien and Michael). The pace (both action and romance) is a luxurious slow-burn throughout the first two acts (if slow-burn is not your thing, you were warned), with gorgeous descriptions of New Orleans (Ahdieh’s writing is exceptional). The action picks up as The Beautiful heads into its heart-pounding finale in the third act, with a plot twist that will leave your head spinning and your hands grabbing for the sequel (The Damned).
Book: The Beautiful
Published: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Age Range: 14 – 18
Penguin Teen kindly sent me a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.