The Damned

(The Beautiful #2)

by Renée Ahdieh

I always want to like Ahdieh’s books more than I actually do reading them.

I don’t know what the problem is, other than possibly there’s little bits of action drowned in lots of inner emotional dialogue rehashing stuff we already know…until there’s a sudden harsh death.

This second book in The Beautiful series following vampires, fey, and werewolves (mostly in their human form in New Orleans society) as they jockey for power, make promises, care for each other in found families, and betray each other because of prior alliances. At the center of this story are two groups: Michael Grimaldi the policeman from a family of werewolves, Sebastien St Germain from a family of vampires (and turned to vampirehood in the last book), Celine Rousseau who makes up one point on their love triangle, and the society of Cours de Lion, or the Scooby Gang of half-fey, vampires, etc. Sebastien and his notorious uncle have gathered around him for protection.

If you read the last book, you’ll know there was a betrayal and Sebastien ended up vampire and separated from Celine– quite a delicious place to be. And Ahdieh capitalizes on that delicious tension a little bit, but spends far, far too much time wallowing in Sebastien’s existential angst.

A little less talk, a little more deliciously tension-filled scenes of Celine and Sebastien meeting under their new circumstances, please.

Then the rest of the book reveals some revelations (well-foreshadowed, so not too revelatory actually) about Celine’s parentage and a bunch of deals made that forces Celine into dangerous territory with some of the Scooby gang and Sebastien. And wow, that’s the spine-tingling part (with creepy added bonus winter fae) that should have been half the book, truly. Sadly it slips by too fast.

So, yeah, The Beautiful is a series worth reading, and I’ll probably read the third installment now that Michael is a force to be reckoned with, but I don’t really like how all these characters that have been built up over entire books get suddenly sucked away, and how we wallow a bit too much in Celine and Sebastiens repetitive angst. But meanwhile, the prose is luxurious, the New Orleans setting sumptuous, and the side characters wonderful.