Book Review: The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pages: 448
Format: Kindle


Celine Rousseau finds herself in a convent in New Orleans after a tragic, and mysterious event have her driven out of France. Trying to fit into proper society takes a turn for the worse when Celine gets involved with mysterious, and dangerous Le Cour des Lions and their leader, Sebastien Saint Germain.

When young girls start to mysteriously die, Celine is dragged into an investigation with a lot more secrets than she ever expected. Unfortunately for her, the killer is closer than she expected, and not entirely human.


Writing and Execution

– The first thing I want to note is that I’m not entirely a fan of Renee’s writing style. This is a personal preference because I am someone who doesn’t really like flowery writing. I got lost during certain parts of the book due to it being so packed with metaphors and simile. I think that a lot of it could’ve been cut down in half, or given a direct description on it. This over-use of metaphors and simile did also create a lack of actual explanations. Only later in the book is there a brief description of what it all means, but even then it is so brief and mysterious that it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

– This is where it can be said that the author was trying to portray a more mysterious atmosphere. However, I don’t think that the lack of description in general is what should evoke the mysterious atmosphere. I think that there are a lot of other ways, like having the characters talk about how there is more than meet the eye. Or have the actual setting of the book feel like one big illusion. Instead, what ended up happening is that on the last two chapters, the reader has somewhat of a description of who the characters really are, and how there is more to it. By then, it was all pretty obvious and it ended up falling flat.

– Furthermore, there is a constant change of languages without any translation. Both French and Spanish are used in full sentences where there is no translation afterwards. I think it would’ve been nice to have the translation in text (instead of me having to google it every five seconds), and just keep the text in one language and say that the character’s changed languages.


– As for the characters themselves, I loved them. None of the relationships fell flat or forced, and it was one of the favorite things in the whole book. I was constantly waiting for the various characters to interact because it was filled with so much information and humor. I will say that the romance was under-developed. I wish that there was more time for the characters to be together, instead of there being just a sudden attraction. Though it didn’t feel rushed, I just wished for my angst between the two characters. However, I can’t wait for the second book just to have more of those wholesome character interactions.


I will say that the pacing was very weird. Again, I think that it would’ve been better if there was more time to break matters apart. The whole story happened in an expand of around 2 weeks and I wish that it would’ve been a bit slower so there could be more build-up and explanation.


Lastly, I want to talk about the ending. I would consider the ending starting more when a certain new character is introduced and the big reveal. First off, the new character…. Ummm… I don’t really see the point. I think that their existence was really there to create drama and conflict. It doesn’t really have much value apart from that, but I am willing to be doubtful that it will connect better in the second book. Mostly because the new character did add a twist to the story that I always love, but I still don’t think it was necessary.

As for the big reveal of the mystery, it was… meh. I don’t think the mystery was really done well, and the villain wasn’t very clear until the epilogue. And here’s my whole issue with this. The story was split in third and first person, with first person being the killer. But those chapters only went around in circle and were just plain creepy. They didn’t do anything special, nor did they really help create a bigger mystery. Then when the epilogue came, the big twist came. I think that the execution could’ve been better. It was very quick and without much explanation. There was the big villain monologue which I despise, and I just really wish there could’ve been more.

This is very clearly a first book in a series, and all I can really say is that, as much as I loved the characters, I wish there was more to the story as a whole. I think in the end it felt flat in certain aspects that made me deduct a star.


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