Title: The Damned
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Beautiful #2
Genre: Paranormal / Historical / Fantasy
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 401 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Source: Personal collection
Recommended for fans of: vampires
Content Warnings: violence, guns, racism
Series Reviews: The Beautiful
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.
Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.
This was not the book I expected from the sequel to The Beautiful. One of the things I loved most about the first book was the atmospheric setting that brought the darkness and allure of New Orleans to life; this book lost that sense of place and felt like it could’ve been set anywhere.
There’s also a huge POV shift: The Beautiful was told almost exclusively from Celine’s perspective, but The Damned includes multiple POVs with Bastien taking over the primary role; Celine doesn’t even show up until about 100 pages in. And as a result of losing her memories at the end of book 1, she seems like a completely different person. I loved Celine and Bastien’s chemistry in book 1, but their romance felt forced in this one.
The story felt very disjointed and all over the place to me. I expected the main conflict to be vampires vs. werewolves, but that conflict kept getting sidelined, with the exception of a few scenes that felt very West Side Story. This book introduces fae realms and more paranormal creatures and conflict. There’s just a lot going on.
I’m curious to see where things go in the next book, and I think Renee Ahdieh is a good descriptive writer, but this has a completely different vibe from the first book.