Title: The Beautiful
(The Beautiful #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Vampires (!!!)
Source: BookExpo 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 8th 2019

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight. 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.
***Trigger Warnings: Mentions of rape, graphic depictions of murder victims***

It is time to throw Twilight out the window and forget your grandma'a kind of vampires because Renee bought them back in 2019. I was super excited when I learned about the news about The Beautiful, in the recent years the decline of vampire books has been drastic and it was very rare to see them in YA. So a vampire book by one of my favorite authors? Hell yeah!!! At BookExpo this year I fell and broke my ankle and I sadly wasn't able to meet Renee. Emily was kind enough to get me a signed copy of The Beautiful but also got a recorded message of Renee wishing me a speedy recovery and that she hopes to meet me soon. (My fan girl heart flailed at this!) Alright, alright, back to my review now. The Beautiful is a lush 19th century murder mystery, with a romance worth dying for and characters that will melt your heart. 

It is 19th century New Orleans and seventeen year old, Celine Rousseau is seeking refuge in a covenant after fleeing her life in Paris. Celine is enamored by her new home and soon meets Oddette who is looking for a seamstress to create her a beautiful dress for a masquerade ball the marks the start of Mardi Gras. Celine who was a seamstress in Paris takes on the task and soon befriends Oddette. But Odette is part of the dangerous group, La Cour des Lions, that is led by Sébastien (Bastien,) and its clear from the beginning that Celine isn't getting away easy. As people around Celine begin to be grisly murdered and sparks fly between her and Bastien, Celine is immersed in the underworld of New Orleans. Will her heart and herself make it out of this alive? 

I think Celine is my favorite character that I have read about in the longest time. In 1872, woman still don't have rights and general don't speak up or speak that minds. Well everyone but Celine. Sharp tongued, full of wit and not ready to take anyone's bullshit Celine is ready to start her life over after the events that made her flee Paris. When she meets Bastien it is clear that their attraction is undeniable but the beautiful boy that she is attracted too also infuriates her with his secrets that he can't share. I really enjoyed seeing Celine's growth through out The Beautiful, and I am super excited to see where Renee is going to take her in the next novel. 

This is also just a mini appreciation paragraph for Oddette because she is also a favorite in this book. Though she is a secondary character and doesn't have her on POV chapters she is essential to the plot. If you are looking at someone just as witty as Celine and funny just look at Oddette. I also enjoyed seeing that Oddette is an openly gay woman in the 1800s where is was still frowned upon. 

I loved the darkness of this novel and the mystery that surrounded the La Cour des Lions. I was eagerly turning the pages to learn more about them and what they were. Renee doesn't simply introduce the vampires from page one of the book, it takes about half the book before we have the official word that there is vampires. But everything before that is shrouded in mystery that has you guessing who is human, who isn't and left me crossing my fingers that these vampires didn't sparkle. (I am sorry, I had to.) There are so many plot twists and revelations that are going to leave you speechless and not believing what you read, everything was so intricately done and I couldn't have loved it more. 

Though I loved The Beautiful I did have a few issues with it. I felt like there could have been more explanation on certain events and things could have been expanded on. Even after the whole book you are left in the dark about a lot of things, which I am hoping the second book is going to answer. The Beautiful is told in three POV but Celine's is the main. I think labeling them would be beneficial, there were a few times I confused myself because I assumed I was reading from Celine's POV and it was actually Bastien's. There is also one cliche when it comes to vampire books and I was hoping that The Beautiful wasn't going to fall too, but it did. It is nothing horrible and I can see how it is going to play into the plot of the next book. 

Overall I loved The Beautiful and that ending basically killed me. I can't wait for book two. Renee had me hooked from the start. I recommend this book for fans of vampire books, dark romances and forbidden love. This book is out just in time for the spookiest time of year! 


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