Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Image result for the beautiful by renee ahdieh

Seventeen-year old Celine Rousseau arrives in New Orleans in 1872. Looking to leave her dark past behind in Paris, France, Celine boards a ship to America to reinvent herself with the help of the Ursuline convent. But when she arrives in America, Celine finds that the city of New Orleans is nothing like she imagined. She becomes enamored with the city’s glamorous parties, delicious food, and lively atmosphere. 

After one of her fellow sisters at the convent is murdered by a serial killer, Celine finds herself sucked into the underworld of New Orleans, known as La Cour des Lions. As she falls for the society’s handsome and fearless leader, the elusive Sebastien Saint Germain, Celine uncovers the deadly secrets of New Orleans…realizing along the way that nothing about this city is as it seems. She discovers an ancient feud between members of the underworld and that her new friends may be less human than she thought. 

When Celine becomes the murderer’s latest target, she turns to Sebastien and Les Cours des Lions for help in capturing the murderer. Will she uncover the killer’s identity before it’s too late? 

The Beautiful was….average. Don’t get us wrong, the book’s plot development and setting captured our attention immediately. Ahdieh did a fabulous job of world building and we can tell that she did her research on 1870s New Orleans. The cultural references were spot-on and we really felt that we were traveling back in time with Celine to 1872.

Moreover, the book touched on themes of racism and sexism in 1870s New Orleans, which we really enjoyed and felt played an important role in furthering the story and character development. Her attention to detail and history should be commended and definitely did not go unnoticed. 

All this being said, the plot did drag at times, and it did not entirely pick up until three-quarters of the way through the story. Also, the love story between the main characters felt a bit insta-lovey, but it was not nearly as bad as some other YA books.

Celine was a witty, independent, and strong female protagonist, and we truly enjoyed her narration. Her chemistry and banter with Bastien was great and really added to the development of their love story. Also, we can’t help but mention Michael Grimaldi, the dashing and charming detective in charge of solving the murders. Michael and Celine also had incredible chemistry and we are excited to see where their relationship goes in the next book. 

We were a bit conflicted on how to rate The Beautiful. We loved the world building, Celine’s character, and the shocking twist at the end of the story. Don’t get us wrong, we definitely are going to read The Damned, the second book in the series, after that ending— who wouldn’t?!

However, she could also have done without some of the insta-love moments and the unnecessary chapters that made the book feel overwritten. Hopefully Ahdieh removes some of the fluff in the next book. Nonetheless, we’re curious to see what is next for Celine.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

21 thoughts on “Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh”

  1. It’s so funny, I absolutely adored this book! It was one of my few five star reads this year! I do agree it is a bit slow paced in the middle and the insta-love thing, but everything else won out above those two little things for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this honest review! I’ve been trying to decide if I want to read this book or not. I thought it might be a little slow and cheesy, and I’m glad that you acknowledged it. But it makes me more apt to read it knowing that the world development and characterization is good! Thanks for your help!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Honest! I love New Orlean and the atmosphere sounds amazing so maybe I’ll reach for it despite the slower pace. And the commentary on racism and sexism is always a plus! Insta love is a pet-peeve but isn’t that a part of vampire era? If we embrace it we may as well embrace it lol!
    Great review, guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just finished reading this book myself! Totally agree, I loved the setting of 1870s New Orleans as well as the world building, but my main complaint was the pacing. Not a bad read, but a bit of a let down after the previous two series from the author. Thanks for the honest review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a big time reader and feel like YA doesn’t get the respect it deserves sometimes. Thanks for the update on this one. I haven’t read it yet, but now I’m kind of drawn to.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve seen so many positive reviews for this book that I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the fantastic review. We were undecided on how to grade this book. The world-building, Celine’s character, and the surprising conclusion at the end of the novel were all highlights for us.


  7. Oh, I sometimes feel that some authors may have overwritten the book too. Like adding extra paragraphs that don’t really add to the story. Thanks for this honest review!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s