The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)
By Renée Ahdieh
Originally Published October 8th, 2019
Multi POV, First Person
Sometimes I read a book and I simply don't know where to start when reviewing it. My reviews never really follow a set algorithm as some bloggers do and I usually just write what I feel and think as it sprouts in my brain. For The Beautiful, my thoughts are a bit scattered, and, honestly, that is a pretty good representation of this book.
First and foremost, this book is decadent. Rich and lush in its vivid imagery and detail. Ahdieh tells a sensual story of seduction, violence, and mystery. Reading this book felt like wading through the darkest chocolate you could find. The food was extravagant and so intricately described, as was the clothing, all wonderful things that help to immerse you in Ahdieh's supernatural 1872 New Orleans. Unfortunately, the amount of detail and development for the characters and story were not so masterfully scripted.
It's true. I know more about what our characters' clothing looks like in each scene more than I actually know what the characters themselves look like. I see attractive blurs in my head, with gorgeous clothing, eating decadent food. Which, I'm so down for, but I only wish I knew that what I imagine is correct. Have you ever read a book and then later seen fan art for it and the characters depicted look nothing like what you've been imagining? Yes, that is me now with The Beautiful. I've no idea if it's right, but what I have in my head is lovely!
There were also several things I was, and still am, very confused about. The lack of explanation and exposition for most of the cast of characters, as well as the inner workings of the actual plot and villain, are all hazy and a tad convoluted. I can only imagine this is by choice; Ahdieh is an amazing storyteller and I can't wait to see how the rest of the story unravels as the books go on. Unfortunately, because the thick mystery revolving around the entire plot wasn't resolved in even the smallest of ways at the semi-rushed end, it has left me feeling a little gaslighted.
While the ending leaves me a little underwhelmed and a little confused, this in no way detracts from the first 90% of the book. Each chapter is brilliantly written and the characters' interactions full of wit, humor, and the tension I love to see (if you know what I mean ;) ).
All in all, a beautiful first in a series that offers up much to be desired in future installments, a desire I know Ahdieh will deliver in full!