Books · Reviews · Spoiler-Free

Halloween “Mini” Review – The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh (Spoiler-Free)

🍂 Happy Halloween, everyone!!! 🍂

I hope you guys have a fantastic night if you happen to celebrate this cool almost-holiday 😄

And what better way to close the Halloween season than with one last spooky review? This time, with vampires!

Or were there vampires? Hmm… Let’s see!

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Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton for kindly providing me with an ARC of The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh.

This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

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.

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🧛 I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpected diversity in this: how respectfully addressed it was and the role it played in the story. Both protagonists were biracial, as were most of the side characters, not to mention a few LGBT characters – openly, in 1872!

🧛 I loved Pippa! And Odette! Gosh, how I loved them. Both were just such amazing friends and Odette was absolutely hilarious. I also really enjoyed the rest of La Cour des Lions.

🧛 Kudos to the author for providing such an airtight mystery! I really didn’t see that one coming – no matter how many times I tried to guess the murder’s identity, I still came out completely flabberghasted in the end. Well done!

🧛 Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with Celine. I don’t know what it was about her. Even right now, I still can’t describe her personality or understand why everyone was so enamoured with her. She was too much in her head, which made her repetitive and halted the narrative in weird places.

🧛 I also didn’t buy the romance. I didn’t see what these two saw in each other besides physical attraction and their meager interactions were certainly not enough to give birth to such strong feelings. Not to say I didn’t find myself swooning from time to time, though, because, let’s be honest, Bastien is absolutely dreamy.

🧛 The pace was incredibly slow and nothing much happened in the first half or so. However, it did pick up speed in the last third, throwing everything it had at the reader. I became super engaged very quickly and realised how interesting the story actually was! I’m just sad I didn’t feel like that all the way through.

🧛 New Orleans is a magnificient, magical place and I’d loved to have gotten to know it better. Yet most of the time Celine was too busy with her own thoughts to pay attention to her surroundings!

🧛 Finally, we didn’t get any actual vampires until the very last few chapters, which was quite disappointing. And even then, it was all over way too quickly! I was hoping they’d have a bigger part in the story.

roll in the Hallowmeter….

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

I have to say, despite everything, I actually found myself enjoying The Beautiful quite a bit after getting through that slow first half.

I didn’t care much for the romance or the protagonist, which was a shame, but the love interest and side characters more than made up for it. There was also a lot of really great details that added absolute magic to the story.

Such a marvelous setting as New Orleans could have been explored further, however. Not to mention the lack of vampires throughout the book upset me greatly.

Nevertheless, the author managed to craft a surprisingly cohesive plot with a great mystery element and tons of suspense to keep the reader interested. This is my first book of hers, and I do want to read more – this had a lot of potential, it just wasn’t completely fulfilled.

I wish the pace had flown better, because it would have completely transformed this story.

Overall, an intriguing book that might appeal to romance fans, especially for those looking for a more old-timey feel. Not so much to vampire fans… Hopefully, the sequel (The Damned) will have a ton of those, and more!

~ Check out more Halloween Mini Reviews! ~

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📌 Pin It! 📌

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
📖 What is your favourite vampire story?
📖 Which forbidden romance has left you swooning?
Let me know in the comments below! 😊
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Thank you so much for reading and see you next time!
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9 thoughts on “Halloween “Mini” Review – The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh (Spoiler-Free)

  1. I love your review system! This book has been making the rounds and had me curious- thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    As to my favorite Vampires; it’s hard to beat Vishous from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series!

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  2. There aren’t vampires in this book until the last few chapters? That’s seriously disappointing, especially since this was marketed as the comeback of vampires (as far as I’m aware). 🤔 I’m not sure if I’m going to pick this book up, I’ll probably read The Wrath and the Dawn by the author first. Amazing review! 😀

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  3. I think my favorite forbidden romance + vampire story is the one from Queen of the Damned. Well, it’s been over a decade since I saw the movie but it left quite an impression on me.

    I also heard there aren’t any vampires in The Beautiful until the last minute. I haven’t started it yet, but I had to significantly adjust my expectations for a non-vampire-vampire book.

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  4. I’m sorry this was a mixed bag for you! It’s too bad you couldn’t connect with the heroine. I haven’t read it yet but planning to pick it up soon. I’ll try to lower my expectations when I finally get around to it! Thanks for the honest review! I hope you’re enjoying your current read! Happy reading!

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  5. I love vampires, and I did like Ahdieh’s debut novel so I was excited for this one! But it makes me sad that it takes so long to vampire? It bothers me when books are pitched as one thing, but then it doesn’t show up till the end… it adds to the book feeling slow as well. However, the characters and the diversity sounds amazing! I love the sound of a good mystery too. I think I will still give it a go, but just go in with open eyes!

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