“We cannot change the mistakes of our past. They live on, so that we may learn, if we should be but so lucky.”
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
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.
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…the return of the vampire. And yes, they are indeed back but you’re going to need to wait for the next book to really see more of them. I can’t even begin to tell you how freaking excited I was for The Beautiful to release because vampires have always been my thing, even long before Twilight. I’m happy to get thrown into any world that has to do with the night stalking creatures that own my heart, and this was a really enjoyable read but I also was left feeling like I wanted more. Not in the major cliffhanger type of sense, but I just wanted more from this book.
Let’s start with what I liked, shall we? The first and most shockingly is the world-building. I’m not the super lush, overly descriptive type of gal when it comes to being introduced to a new world but WOW this was really pretty and so well written. The historical fiction aspect of this book was fantastic and I’m seriously excited for the next book to be back in beautifully descriptive world. The next thing I liked was Celine, our MC. Celine is witty, sarcastic, and has a backstory that shapes her into the “take no shit” type of woman she is. We’re here for it. I also enjoyed the characters from the Court of Lions and the mystery that surrounded them, it was fun to try and guess what secrets each of them held.
Now, on to what I was just “eh” about. For starters, and I hate to say this, the romance felt a little lack luster. I really loved Sebastian and Celine together but I wanted a little more slow burn and a lot more angst, because the parts with the angst were so good. And I just really wanted to suffer and sweat it out a little more, you know? Next, is the actual vampire issue. I read a bunch of reviews before going into this that said there were not enough vampires in this and was I genuinely confused because there’s literally a secret vampire POV that starts from the very beginning. But now, after I’ve finished and all the plot twists have been revealed I completely understand and am 100% on board with everyone who said they wanted more. Luckily, it seems like that will be the case in the next book!
“Don’t fall in love with me,” Celine blurted without thought. “Nothing good will come out of it.”
“We must taste the bitter before we can appreciate the sweet.”
“I’ve heard many people say that tragedy shapes us. But I am not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, nor am I the worst thing I’ve ever done. Nothing in life is that simple.”
“A weed left to flourish is the death of the entire garden.”
All in all, even though I was left feeling like I wanted more from The Beautiful, I did still enjoy this one. I think the author set this up and gave it all the potential in the world to make book two AMAZING. Now it’s time for me to crawl back into my hole of waiting for the next one.