Review: The Damned (The Beautiful #2) by Renee Ahdieh

In a word, this book was infuriating. And it’s so sad because this was one of my most anticipated sequels of the year and it kills me to be let down like this. I had such high hopes after falling so in love with The Beautiful, loving the balance of paranormal and historical fiction, and it felt like everything I loved about that first book was tossed out the window, landed in a dumpster, and was set on fire. Who allowed Ahdieh to write this utter bullshit? Why didn’t anyone stop her?

There are two areas that really ruined this book for me and because of those there was little else I could focus on. The first is the writing and the way Ahdieh decided to craft this story in such an abysmal way. She has always been a solid writer to me, someone I can rely on to give me the narrative and structure I require. And yet, she appeared to be possessed by some kind of demon and decided to not only write this story in multiple POVs but different tenses as well. I don’t know why every other POV was in third and Bastien’s was in first, nor do I know why his tense was present and the rest in third was in past, but it has to be one of the worst things I’ve encountered in a while. There was little to no rhyme or reason to structure the narrative this way. Yes, I understand that Bastien awakening as a newborn vampire is an important thing to experience but not if we have to write varying narratives to do so. Ahdieh is not a first person author so why she decided to try it out for the first time now is beyond me. If this narrative choice wasn’t enough to anger any reader, especially after the wonder of the first, then the actual plot should do it.

The thing with the plot is that there was very little of it. You finish the first book expecting it to be a brewing war between vampires and werewolves, (you know, Twilight) but apparently that wasn’t enough. Apparently we had to bring in every fantasy and paranormal creature under the sun but the kitchen sink and throw it into a convoluted plot. Doing this made the story that much more muddled and crowded and the inclusion of fey and dwarves and fairies felt like too much. Multiple worlds and realms? Ethereal halflings? A mystical throne everyone will go to war for? And I thought the amnesia trope was bad enough. It felt like Ahdieh either lost touch with her initial purpose or felt like she needed to do this to shrug the Twilight comparisons off. Either way, it was a terrible decision and ruined everything I enjoyed from the first book. Gone was my historical fiction, gone was my mysterious paranormal story, and in its place was a muddled, complicated, desperate to be a fantasy novel mess.

If you’re thinking of starting this series, don’t. The mess of this book is not worth the beauty of the first book. The narrative is a disaster, the plot is too busy fighting for dominance that you don’t know where to look, and the character are reduced to one dimensional cliches. Not even the romance of Celine and Bastien can save this dumpster fire. Trust me, save your time and money. Don’t read this.

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Hardcover, 456 pages
Published July 7th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Book Synopsis

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. 

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon

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