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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.

401 pages, Hardcover

First published July 7, 2020

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About the author

Renée Ahdieh

24 books17.5k followers
THE WRATH & THE DAWN and its sequel THE ROSE & THE DAGGER are available wherever books are sold.

FLAME IN THE MIST will be released on 5.16.17.

** Please note that requests for Advanced Reader Copies should be made through Penguin, and all other requests should be submitted through the author's website. **

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,854 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,992 reviews298k followers
May 26, 2020
Sadly, this sequel is like The Beautiful but with nowhere near enough sexy vampness to keep it thrilling.

To be fair, I thought The Beautiful was only okay. I gave it three stars. It was a bit of mindless entertainment and I'm a sucker (ha, pun!) for sexy vampires, let's be honest. But the world itself was quite weak, the setting felt nothing like 1872, and the whole supernatural politics aspect was not interesting to me. With this book, I really just wanted some Bastien/Celine smut, lol. Or, like, more makeouts, at least.

Unfortunately, that part was lacking. I mean, when the makeouts did happen, it was deliciously steamy, but the problem is that The Damned tries to get bigger and wilder with the plot and the result is an odd mishmash of mythologies and supernatural creatures. There is so much wishy washy paranormal info about vampires, werewolves, enchantresses, ethereals... but none of it had much depth.

Also, the first 150 pages of this book were a struggle because they consist of moving through different POVs and talking about what they want but can’t have and what they don’t remember and mysterious dark plans that they can’t tell you about *evil laugh* Nothing actually happens, though. And when it does happen, it all hits at once in a seemingly random stream of supernatural occurrences. That part where one minute they are in New Orleans and literally the next minute they are in Maharashtra visiting the Lady of the Vale gave me whiplash.

I predicted, correctly, that Celine, Michael, and Bastien would end up in some faux love triangle. One where Michael is clearly the third wheel and never a realistic candidate for Celine's heart, making any romantic scene between the two of them boring because there's absolutely no tension or excitement. This is paranormal YA-- is she really going to pick the safe boring detective over the sexy naughty vampire? What do YOU think?

The secondary characters overall were kinda bland, even this book's villain. Everything is built up around Celine and Bastien, so I was indifferent to the other characters' subplots and betrayals.

For some reason, I had assumed this was a duology (perhaps because Ahdieh's previous books were) but it is clearly left open for a sequel. Given the way this resolved, I am thinking the next book will be more of the same, so I will probably give it a miss.

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Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
September 1, 2020
the queen of duologies has done it again. except this time, she knows her own greatness and has decided to expand this series to more than two books. and i am so excited. its what this story truly deserves.

what makes this installment so great is the world expansion. yes, the writing is just as easy breezy, the characters are still as loveable, but the entire world grew with this and it was really interesting to read about. so many new characters, so many new side plots, so many small intricate parts to a larger story overall. yes, this could be considered a filler sequel, but it feels like filler with a purpose.

also, i would be a terrible reviewer if i didnt mention bastian is pretty much the primary focus of this book. hes my bae, so i love that so much page time is dedicated to him. my heart was so invested in his growth and journey. <3

again, im so happy this series is going to be more than just a duology. considering the story went in a direction i wasnt expecting, i really cant even predict what will happen next!

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,306 reviews44k followers
February 22, 2022
Tataaaa! Can you hear booing coming from the die-hard fans of the book? Yes, that’s my cue to announce my unpopular review!

Unfortunately hot, steamy, thrilling supernatural fantasy/ romance hasn’t found at this moment so I’ll try again a few books later!

First book of the series was okay, three starred-Switzerland- I didn’t hate it but I’m not fan of characters and world building reading.

After the cliffhanger I was still curious about how the story will evolve and how insta love story of charming vampire and Memento Celine ( yes she lost very important part of her memories)will develop and I crossed my fingers because I needed to read more about vampire world, big secrets, their big scheme.

But second book failed me a lot:
Firstly there is a bombardment of information about supernatural entities made me feel like I’m getting a class called: introduction to the supernatural world and its most lovely creatures: that’s right, my dear friends, we’re lectured about the historical improvement of werewolves, vampires, ethereal etc. My brain cells constantly ache after the longest and most boring intro of supernatural world.

And yes: let’s talk about the most unreliable love triangle: Celine-Bastien and Michael. We have sexy, charismatic, alluring vampire and flat, annoying, boring detective. Oh boy, I’m so sorry for Celine! How could she choose between them? The decision will be so tough. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes! ( of course I’ll, choosing the hot vampire and hit the road)

I have to admit: when I read the love scenes between Celine and Michael, I hired an assistant to keep my eyelids open so I couldn’t fall asleep! Yes, it was more boring and nonsense than Netflix’s Insatiable and their decision to renew series for season 2!

I love paranormal romance genre with great mythological vibes accompanied by enchanting atmosphere of NOLA!
But the story’s progression, weak world building and lack of passion of characters’ forbidden love story made me lose my interest!

So yes, even though I fell in love with the book’s fantastic cover, I didn’t enjoy the rest of the story and I don’t think I’ll continue to read the end of it! I’ll pass the final book, giving my two stars, starting to run before listening the insults and protests of the series’ true lovers.

Profile Image for Samantha.
440 reviews16.8k followers
November 6, 2020

I understand fully that this isn’t the best paranormal book I’ve read, and yet I find this series so entertaining and dramatic. This second installment had way more paranormal and fantastical elements than the first one, with very little of the magic actually explained, and I truly don’t care. It’s a fun romp. A little found family of supernatural creatures. It was just the distraction I needed.
Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
305 reviews14.6k followers
September 1, 2021
Thank you so much to PenguinTeen for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts and opinions are my own. All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.

Quick Stats:
4.5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
Review in a Nutshell: The Damned is a fantastic sequel; expanding on the world and characters, building on the plot, and answering so many of my questions from the first book.

“It is never too late to chase the better version of yourself.”

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Assault, Gun Violence, Panic Attacks, Suicide, Murder, PTSD, Racism, Misogyny //

“The higher hatred burns, the more it destroys.”

Release Date: 7/7/2020
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 456

The Damned is the sequel to The Beautiful, and takes place directly after the events of the first book. I can’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you liked this first book, then you definitely want to pick this one up.

“Blood begets more blood.”

- Writing & Setting -

I absolutely adore Renee Ahdieh’s writing style. I just need to make that clear. It’s beautiful, with so much depth and description. Her dialogue flows perfectly, with great banter and some fun humor. Her writing seems to get better and better with every book.

The setting of this book is another standout aspect. The Beautiful was dark and atmospheric, vague and mysterious, and The Damned is definitely atmospheric, but much less vague. The world-building is much clearer, with the supernatural creatures and their histories explained in depth.

“The dark does not pretend to be something it isn’t. And I’ve had my fill of the light.”

- Plot -

This book answers a lot of questions and leaves you with even more questions. This series is still more character-focused than plot-focused, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a plot. The Damned seemed a lot more action-packed than The Beautiful, but the pacing is still a little on the slower side. It definitely picks up in the second act, and by the end, there is quite a lot happening at once. Speaking of that ending- yeah I’m still in shock.

“Fire was necessary to forge a weapon of steel.”

- Characters -

Where the focus of The Beautiful was predominately on Celine, The Damned pays much closer attention to Bastien. We barely see Celine until the second act. But, honestly, I didn’t mind- Bastien has such amazing character growth over this book, and so much to deal with, that it never bothered me that Celine was sidelined for a little while. However, she gets some amazing moments as well.

Every character in this book is extremely well developed. This cast of characters is so fun to read about. I would read an entire spin-off series about Odette, Jae, or Arjun, I love them so much.

“Every setting sun brought the promise of a rising dawn. A tomorrow that could change the course of today.”

- Conclusion -

Pros- Amazing character development
Cons- A little slow at first
Overall- 4.5/5 stars.
The Damned is an amazing second installment in a series that you don’t want to miss.

Bonus! More quotes I loved (because this book really is quotable)

“Hatred should never prevail over love.”
“The silliness of mortals. Your God will not help you now.”
“Men were the worst kind of heroes. Riddled with flaws they refused to see.”
“Feel your anger, but do not succumb to it, for it will be your end.”
“There is no such path. And I am no one’s hero. So I choose the way of destruction.”
“With enough fear, you can stoke hatred until it becomes a wildfire, burning everything that stands in your way.”
“But the deepest cuts can come from the smallest blade.”
“Beauty often masks the decay beneath.”
“It was easy for a man to be kind and generous in times of plenty. The real measure of a man was what he did and said in times of difficulty.”
“I have loved you in both my lives. I will love you in all the rest to come.”

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Profile Image for aphrodite.
414 reviews867 followers
August 21, 2020
1.5/5 stars

so weird that the standalone, the beautiful, somehow has a sequel... sounds fake to me

if you would have told me that the sequel to one of my favorite books of 2019 was going to suck this bad (ha), I would not have believed you.

I don’t even know what to say save that this literally felt like a completely different book. all the characters I loved in the first did not have the same charm and allure as they did in the beautiful.

bastien who I LOVED was the most annoying character as he was constantly whining. his character went from a charismatic swoon worthy love interest to boneless elena gilbert in 300 pages.

celine, one of my fav characters of ALL of 2019, was out of character through the WHOLE BOOK because she had amnesia for most of it. she was SUCH a strong and beautiful character who brought so much light to the first book. to see her reduced to a shell of a person with minimal page time was so, so disappointing. a true crime. and don’t even get me started on her “lineage”...... okay.

michael was also SO BORINGGGGGG and I loved him and celine too. their banter was so cute and I was hoping this series would have given me the love triangle I’m craving.

this book not only butchered the characters I already loved but also added perspectives of characters I couldn’t care less about. WHY did they get chapter perspectives but celine couldn’t have a personality??? make it make sense.

this book’s plot and the way the story goes is the biggest mess of 2020. I was a big defender of the beautiful when people said there “weren’t enough vampires” but with THE DAMNED, they were NOT enough vampires. I was hoping we were going to get more lore & history but instead of polishing an aspect of the book that was left with a lot of mystery, the author decided to bring in 5 other mythical beings with equally shallow world building. UGH.

I’m so freaking upset about this book. I loved the beautiful so much and I don’t even know what the point of this story was. It didn’t have the incredible characters, the lush writing was missing, the historical elements of the stunning city of new orleans was missing, the mystery was gone, there were zero stakes, and I’m SAD in the worse way possible.

this is absolute going to be on my worst of the year list and I can’t even believe that’s the case. pls mourn my loss with me.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,739 reviews709 followers
May 22, 2020
After that ending of The Beautiful, there was no way I was going to skip this one.

I love love loved Celine in this one. She’s experienced even more and stands stronger than ever. I loved her tenacity and refusal to be placated. Bastian is even more intriguing this time around. I was captivated reading him figure out how he moves forward. And again, I could have done with 5000% more Odette.

Plot wise, it was a bit info-dumpy in the beginning, but I relished finally knowing the backstory of everything. Once things got going, there were reveals and false trails and I was here for all of my second guessing. I will say that the ending felt very unfinished and I’m hoping there will be another book. (I've been told from several people that it's going to be multiple books, but haven't seen an official announcement.)

Overall, I loved Renée’s take on vampires and will absolutely read anything she puts her name on.

**Huge thanks to GP Putnam’s Sons BFYR for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Angela Staudt.
398 reviews108 followers
December 2, 2021
12/1/21 - My first reread and I actually enjoyed this 10X more than when I first read it. The first one will always have a special place in my heart, but I love the journey of The Damned.

Thank you Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Let me just start off by saying The Beautiful was one of my favorite books of 2019. Renee Ahdieh brings back vampires, but makes them so much more breathtaking and beautiful. I was blown away with how luscious the writing style was and how dark and mysterious New Orleans was. The Damned blew my mind. I was not expecting this book to go the way it did at all, but I can’t get over how much I loved it.

“Life is not given to any of us. Neither is love. A hundred thousand years will not teach you that truth. You must accept it for yourself.” He turns to me. “What you are has no bearing on who you become, Sebastien. Man or demon, that is entirely up to you. It is never too late to chase the better version of yourself.”

The Damned is definitely more focused on Bastien and we see a lot through his point of view, which I loved so so much. Renee weaves this magnificent story together that is so stunning and intriguing you want to know everything and more. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Bastien’s emotions, his passions, his strengths, and weaknesses. I care so much for Sebastien Saint Germain and getting to know his darkest most inner thoughts was the best thing I could have asked for. Besides Bastien, we see a lot more perspectives which was a total plus for me. I won’t spoil it and say who all we get to know better, but you won’t be disappointed. Celine is what made me love The Beautiful, she is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t care about how she looks or acts for society. She does what she loves even if it isn’t up to par with societies standards. We don’t see nearly as much of Celine during the first half of the book, but with the way the story flowed so smoothly I didn’t mind.

“Because of everything that happened, I’ve learned to love myself more,” she said. “And is that not the best gift any trial in life can give you? The power to love yourself today better than you did the day before.”

Another thing I truly enjoyed was all of the action and world building. I was completely caught off guard when we aren’t just dealing with vampires anymore. Renee brings in every sort of creature and it’s phenomenal. Honestly, I knew we would see more of the vampire side of New Orleans and I was correct, but I learned so much more of the history as well. I loved all the twists and turns this book had and was absolutely thrown off with the ending. I actually would appreciate if the next book were in my hands right now. I can say without a doubt Renee has set up a riveting series because of all that she included in this book; I can’t wait to see where this series goes. All I know for sure is I can’t wait.
Profile Image for ☀︎El In Oz☀︎.
560 reviews320 followers
January 17, 2021
A deliciously dark and beautiful sequel! This book blew away my expectations, which I am very glad for! The Beautiful was a dark murder mystery set in 1800’s New Orleans. The Damned took this world and expanded it to new levels. We are introduced to the mystical world werewolves and vampires come from, and get a glimpse of the Fae and dwarfs. We are given history and told why certain species want war, and who wants what. Why their world is split into two. The struggles, lore, and history is dark, bloody, and somehow bright and vibrant in this book.
The world itself is lush and simply put, amazing. Renée’s writing has a quality to it that sucks you into the atmosphere she creates. She weaves such an engaging story with her beautiful yet simple prose. She wastes no time to jump into the story, taking place mere hours after The Beautiful.
We see character struggles that I had no idea existed, and we saw characters change. Renée truly knew how to make every character have convincing motives, each person driven by a different emotion that you can identify them with, wether that be hate or love, envy or pride.
Every character has fears and wants that make their actions and decisions easier to understand.
The plot is tightly woven and I truly felt the action was all there. We are given many plot points and POV’s, and it truly is interesting to see little things become important. This book has more death and betray than the last, more stakes and more oaths, bargains, and promises.
Truly I am most intrigued by Tía and Suran. They seem to have interesting pasts and I hope we learn more anything them in book 3!
The romance was quite spot on. Although I wish we had more development, the star crossed lovers trope was brought here and re imagined and defined in new ways, with some very romantic scenes.
The characters themselves, like I said before, had lots of growth and continued to evolve over the course of this story. Pippa and Micheal remain to be my least favourites though, they bored me to death. Celine, Bastien, and Anju are my favourites, but like I said Suran and Tía really intrigue me.
The ending actually shocked me as I realized what certain people had done. Now, I can think of at least 4 plot points that are really interesting and I am eager to see how they will connect and play out.
The schemes and paths and bargains in this book really brought some interesting things out and I’m curious to see how some of them will play out.
Overall this book was great! But now for my more negative opinions.
There seemed to many POV’s in this book. One was 1st person and the other 3rd. I personally had zero issue with this, it flowed smoothly and made sense. My only issue is although most POV’s are important, I really found Jua and Micheal’s tremendously boring.
Émelie didn’t really seem like the best villain. I found the other threats, like war, and the oaths they made, and just the other supernatural characters more interesting. Her rage was really odd and I hope we have more development with her in book 3.
The ending I think was very odd. Again, it left open threads for book 3 but ending in my two least favourite people’s POV’s is more of a me issue than anything.
The threat of the detective coming after Celine to ask her about Francois’ murder felt out of place after so much time dealing with supernatural threats. I don’t know if the issue of the fact Celine killed Francois will even be that important going on, as it doesn’t seem that serious in the grand scheme of things.
I also kind of disliked how Celine had to be ethereal. I wish we could have a solely human protagonist.
In conclusion I am eagerly waiting for book 3, and I hope we get elaboration on the parts I want to learn more about!

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) ★ ★ ★ ★.25
The Damned (The Beautiful #2) ★ ★ ★ ★.25

Ok but if Celine doesn’t get her memory back someone is going to die. Bastien for life✨
Profile Image for aly ☆彡 (hiatus).
346 reviews1,169 followers
June 2, 2021
[This may contain spoiler from the first book]

I started reading this knowing I should not get my expectations up high. But once I finished them, I think it was pretty forecasted how the flow was gonna be seeing how Celine had no memory of Bastien. I'm not expecting to see much Bastien and Celine in this book so I was not entirely disappointed.

However, what makes this book to plummet was: i) the sudden change to multi POVs which can be promising if you do it right. But since we were introduced to mostly Celine's POV in the first book, I have to say the multi POVs were a bit instantaneous, resulting in a poor world-building.

The book seems to be all over the place and unorganized which may be hard to keep up since their POVs were not introduced in the first place. This also prompts little progress between Celine and Bastien because there were too much backstory and flashback instead, it's getting absurd.

Not to say the love triangle in this book was a disgrace . It feels like the author is being indifferent towards Michael and Celine moments. They lack chemistry and often times looking so grim. I know we were all rooting for Bastien in this story, but if the author really put some efforts to polish Michael as a character and the third wheeler, it might ignite some spices and intensify the love triangle. This one fails miserably, better to not even start the love triangle.

Nothing in this book is thrilling. I was again, disappointed with this genre/vampire books. Been contemplating whether I would want to read the third book. It kind of have lost its touch. The book feels better to end as a standalone (or this is just the middle book syndrome). The second book is just tortuous (not in a good way) and very disjointed.
Profile Image for abthebooknerd.
294 reviews144 followers
July 17, 2020
A bewitching sequel filled with shocking twists at every turn. Every bit as dark & delicious as the first 🖤

“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.”


I have no words. No words left in me. No words left in me to convey the depths of my tumultuous emotions. No words left in me, which I desperately need to write this review. There is nothing but blatant shock. Of the highest order.


”In the end, the monsters did possess the better stories.”

The book picks up right where The Beautiful left off, and let me tell you: Renee Ahdieh doesn’t ease you into the glittery swimming pool of pain. She slam dunks you into it. You will hurt. You might rage a little bit. You might even fight to contain your pterodactyl screeches in public places...Like someone else I know.

SO many questions. SO many things to absorb in that ending. SO many unexpected turns. Is there going to be a spin-off? Another book?? Obviously, I can’t say more without spoiling it, but PIPPA? This book was filled with so many unexpected twists and turns. That last 10% chunk...My dudes, you won’t be ready.

The shocking reveals, the false trails. The amazing friendship moments! I adore Pippa and Celine’s relationship. They compliment each other so well, and challenge each other in the way that friends should challenge one another. I also loved the multiple POVs in this book! This world contains such a vast cast of characters, so to be able to read from their perspectives and see the world through their eyes was so rewarding 🖤

Especially Bastien’s. It was so nice to spend more time with him this time around. We got to see the inner workings of the Court that he has grown up in, the backstories of his mysterious guardians. It was so complex, and truly captivating. We also got to see him develop, and his journey to become a better man throughout this book. It truly was inspiring.

”What I am now should have no bearing on what I become.”

And the romance??? My god, it hurt so good. The agony. The long-distance pining! What else can I say that hasn’t already been said? I love Celine and Bastien.

For the story as a whole, there were a few problematic elements, and we kind of stepped away from that gothic New Orleans vibes that I loved so much about the first one - but this continuation was nothing less than entertaining!

Because this is a sequel, there’s not much I can say without spoiling it for those who haven’t read it yet, so let me just say this:

The world will entice you. The plot twists will give you whiplash (in the best way). And the romance will consume you.

Vampires are back. Thank you, Renee Ahdieh 🖤

P.S. Arjun + Pippa = I ship it.

A huge thank you to Penguin Teen for gifting me with this ARC!

To check out my The Damned inspired Bookstagram post, click here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCg1Z1tAp_o/
Profile Image for Umairah (Sereadipity).
216 reviews111 followers
July 9, 2020
The Damned was a magical read that expanded upon the first book well, answering many of the questions that I had whilst giving me more. I loved diving back into the glamorous yet monstrous world of The Beautiful and learning more about the characters. However, it wasn't a five star read like the first book was for me because I felt like it tried to cram a bit too much in without adequate explanation.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing: 4/5

Celine was grappling with the trauma of what happened to her at the end of The Beautiful. She felt like she had lost herself in the midst of confusion, nightmares and terror gripping her when she was perfectly safe. For Celine, this book was about self discovery- in more ways than one. She showed even more fortitude and determination than in the previous book and I was rooting for her throughout.

Celine took centre stage in The Beautiful and Bastien had little character development, whereas The Damned saw him take the spotlight and have his own arc too. His POV chapters were in the first person and in the present tense, as opposed to everyone else's POV chapters being in the third person and the past tense, making it feel as if it was primarily his story. We get to see the most of his inner conflict as he dealt with his own trauma and navigated uncharted waters in a familiar world. He wanted to be a better version of himself despite the darkness inside him and he went on a journey to find out what that meant. I liked discovering more depth to his character and it helped me to better understand him.
"Love and loyalty are not always the same thing. Loyalty is easy. Love is doing what is right, even when it is difficult."

I loved getting to learn more about the side characters especially Odette and Jae. I think they both deserve their own spin off books because they're amazing and have the most interesting back stories. We get to see the POVs of so many more characters in comparison to The Beautiful such as Bastien, Odette, Jae, Arjun and more. I was actually surprised that we don't see Celine's POV until around a quarter of the book. I liked reading from new perspectives even though at first it slowed the pace down too much.

The Damned didn't hold back with the supernatural: vampires, werewolves, fey, goblins and more. We are introduced to the magical realms of the summery Sylvan Vale and the wintry Sylvan Wyld- equally dangerous despite their appearances. The plot became more about the greater picture than any one character's goals which I liked but, as I mentioned earlier, too many components were introduced without being properly fleshed out. The conflict between the Brotherhood and the Fallen could have also felt more high stakes.

I really enjoyed The Damned but it felt like it was mainly setting the stage for the next book. I originally thought this series was a duology but it turns out there's going to be a third book and I cannot wait!

Thank you to Hodderscape for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,203 reviews3,679 followers
July 3, 2020
The Damned is a very different book than The Beautiful and it took awhile to hit its stride, but ultimately I really enjoyed the direction that it took. Book 1 was a historical murder mystery with vampires appearing quite late in the game, but in book 2, vampires are very present from the prologue on and there isn't much of a mystery element. This book expands a lot on the mythology of the world that Ahdieh has created, we get answers to some unanswered questions from Book 1, the central relationship gets steamier, and everything gets much more complicated.

In terms of pacing, this book was a little awkward and in some ways feels like it's setting things up for the next installment in the series, although we do also get some degree of resolution. One criticism some readers had of Book 1 was that information on the world was parsed out too sparingly, but in this book we sometimes get too much information that is less woven into the story. This is especially true at the beginning and we don't get Celine as a perspective character until nearly 25% of the way in. That was a mistake in my opinion, because I'm much more invested in what's happening with Celine and it would have been better to get at least a little bit with her earlier on.

In some ways, this book feels like it's responding to earlier criticism. Not enough vampires? Let's give you lots of vampire scenes! Not enough world-building info? Here's a whole bunch of it! As someone who LOVED book 1, I kind of wish it hadn't gone so far, but I'm sure other readers might appreciate the changes.

That said, I thought the narrative was interesting and took some twists I was not expecting. You continue to see some nods to the Twilight series, but written the way that it should have been. (i.e. not everyone is white and straight, our heroine has agency, our hero is not controlling and creepy, it's sex-positive instead of weird about purity etc.) I am really enjoying the series and seeing where the author takes it. I'm here for the dark romance, the angst, and politics, and all the hidden secrets. It's not a perfect book, but I'm definitely interested in continuing on with the series. I received an advance copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
October 11, 2022
i love that this installment leaned more into the paranormal world even though the shatter me series has ruined me for the trope. i went into it with pretty low expectations but found this book a lot more gripping than book one, even though i still have issues with the pacing of the information reveals in this and how things that could serve as plot twists are just randomly fed to the reader.

at no point in this book did i know where it was gonna go next, which is kinda fun, but i also feel like now we have literally no set up for book three. i still plan to continue on with it but now i'm invested because i love how well written celine and bastien are, even though the world and conflict around them isn't the best written.
Profile Image for Callie (BeverageandBook).
206 reviews170 followers
July 23, 2020
This was super enjoyable. I listened to half of it on audio and I think the narration lends something to the story. It didn’t head in the direction I expected, but I loved the expansion of the world and I’m looking forward to whatever’s next.
Profile Image for Kendra Cusworth.
222 reviews138 followers
May 25, 2020
4.5 stars

Wow. Wow.

The Beautiful was one of my favourite reads last year. It had captivating characters, breathtaking descriptions of New Orleans, a highly intriguing plot, and vampires.
Renee Ahdieh made vampires cool again in 2019 in the most sophisticated and seductive way. I applaud her for that.

So obviously, I had quite high expectations for its sequel, The Damned.

The Damned is definitely more of Sébastien’s book. It makes perfect sense when you remember how the last book ended. In this book, we were given many different POVs, but I would say that the majority of them were Bastien’s. Also, while everyone else’s were in 3rd person, Bastien’s chapters were in 1st person. It was an interesting decision but one that I completely loved. It really helped us become fully invested in his mind and his thoughts.

Bastien goes through a lot in this book. He is a boy that is always enticed by the darkness within and around him. But after being engulfed by anger and going through massive life changes, we may see a side of Bastien that comes a bit closer to the light instead...
Bastien internally battles with the idea of loyalty vs family and what it really means to love someone. It was so intriguing to be in his head for the majority of this book.

Though Celine was still one of our main characters, she doesn’t become too heavily involved in everything till about the 25% mark. At first, I was a bit bummed since I adore Celine—she is one of my favourite protagonists—however, again, when you remember how the previous book ended, it made perfect sense. You do see and hear quite a bit of her, but the story to be told belongs to Bastien and his immortal family. I must add that Celine definitely takes a solid hold back of the story in the second half of the book as we dive into her mysteries and the unveiling truths of her life.

Bastien remains on the list of my favourite main characters. He is headstrong, quick to act, smart, and cunning. Every step he takes is a calculated one. Of course, at the beginning of his story in this book, he had a lot to overcome. But watching him do that, watching him be angry and sad and lonely, made me only adore him more. Watching his journey from anger to passion, from lost to found, was truly something to behold.

This book does not slow down! It is action packed and has you excitingly anticipating the next moment.

I was excited to see more development between Celine and Pippa’s friendship. There was a very crucial moment between those two that needed to happen in order to strengthen their bond. Also, it gave us more depth to Pippa’s story and her personality.
Also, speaking of Pippa... Pippa x Arjun!!? I would like to see it!! The seeds were definitely planted for a possible future between those two! Their dynamic, though we only got a tiny bit of it, was captivating and entertaining.

The side characters in La Cour des Lions were explored much more than the first book. I was happy to know of their stories and their personalities. Jae’s backstory was so intricate and intriguing! I was chomping at the bit to find out more about him. Also, Odette is everything to me and I could’ve done with sooo much more Odette content. I love Arjun as well and I wish we would’ve gotten more of him and his story but sooommethinnnggg tells me we will be getting a lot of it in the next book.

This book opens up so much further into the lore of this world. Giving insight to mystical and paranormal creatures, it took a turn I did not expect. Like it truly came out of nowhere for me. Because of this, The Damned has a slightly different vibe than The Beautiful. That being said, it still takes place in New Orleans, it is still magnificently atmospheric and enchantingly haunting. Though it did take the unexpected turn I mentioned, I grew to love it. It really helps thicken the plot of the overall series, giving weight and depth to the story and raising the stakes of everything. And of course, Ahdieh’s rich world building makes these new turns and discoveries just as captivating as the first book. I am excited to see how the new world and characters come into play in the next book.
I want to add that I can see some people be slightly disappointed in the turn this book takes. It truly takes on a whole new world, in a sense. It becomes much more of a fantasy. But I loved it in the end!

This book got sexy and I just want to thank Renee Ahdieh for giving that to us!!

The ending was magnificently earth shattering. So many different reveals happened throughout the course of the book and I thought I could be surprised no more. But no! Renee really did that. So many shocking things happened at the very end. And just when you think all the plot twists were over...nope! Another one slaps you in the face at the very last few paragraphs of the book.

The few problems I have with this book are as follows: the ending felt a bit rushed. The story made sense but I think we could’ve done with a few more chapters to slow down and focus on a few details within the plot. One example is that there is a moment in which Celine comes to a decision(one that I loved, I should add) but it felt almost a bit rushed. We could have been given more development on that.
Also, this book focuses a little less on the romance when compared to its predecessor. Romance was still there and just as beautiful, just not as present.

I am so grateful to have read an ARC of The Damned. I cannot believe that I’ll have to wait something like a year for the next book. I am so fully captivated by this series and the world and characters that Renee Ahdieh created.

In conclusion, get excited everyone!! And also strap in!!! Because The Damned is about to rock your wold.

Thank you to the publishers PenguinTeen for providing me a copy of this via netgalley!
Profile Image for Nikita Afsar.
184 reviews288 followers
October 25, 2020
I'm way too tired rn to write a proper review so I will do that later. However, I do wanna express my love for Celine and Bastien already. I just love them so much. And this book fed my Castien heart? Or Beline? I like Beline more lol. This book added so much to the world and the characters and everything was just delightful.
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,727 reviews866 followers
June 27, 2022
#1) The Beautiful ★★★★☆

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Céline (mc) is East Asian-French; Sébastien (mc) is Taíno; Odette (mc) is a lesbian; Michael (mc) is Italian & Black; BIPOC scs.

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Profile Image for Kathaleen Mallard.
108 reviews65 followers
August 13, 2022
Non-Spoiler Section 📕
This book took a whole other direction then where I thought it would go. I liked how the world was opened up to just passed vampires. In the Beautiful I was waiting to see how things were going to open up. I really liked this book and I thought that this book was a good edition to the first one. There was a lot of new things to see and a lot of new creatures and characters introduced. I'm excited to read the third book. However I will say I was not expecting the ending that happened. Wow. I was sister shook. I mean to all of you who read this book and didn't want me about the ending I don't want to be friends with you anymore.

Profile Image for Sanja ✵.
246 reviews
July 10, 2021
I think this sequel really improved a lot of aspects! My main critique for The Beautiful was that it lacked most of the mythology. It took a really long time to confirm that we were in fact dealing with vampires, and we didn’t get to know much about them. The Damned made up for that and more. The world got so much bigger and there were so many more supernatural creatures than I expected. We also got more backstory and the characters developed more of a personality.

So this book really addresses my main concern and had a more interesting storyline overall. I liked that the traditional paranormal developed and added another realm, so we ventured more into the strictly fantasy world. It opens up a lot of potential.

What this book also did was adding my least favorite component in a story. Several shifting POV. I can like when this is done with two POV, but more than that and I’m going to lose interest. Especially when it isn’t introduced straight away, but from the second book. Then I’m going to what to have the second book in the same format as the first. Some of the POV were so unnecessary, because they came up once for like four pages. Why not do it like the first book? And to add to the confusion; Bastiens POV were in first persons, but everyone else’s were in third persons. So I see it as Bastien being more important to the story and everyone else being secondary, but then we could have just have his POV. Otherwise all the POV would have to be the same.

I also have a slight problem with the LGBTQ representation. We have two characters that fit into that category, Odette and Émilie.
Spoiler for the book here
Odette gets killed of by the end of the book, I get that characters dies in these sorts of books. But did it have to be woman that defies the traditional rules and loves other woman and crossdresses? Couldn’t it be any other character? Because other characters gets attacked, but survives. We don’t have confirmation that Odette dies, but it doesn’t look good. We are then left with Émilie, that from my understanding is pan sexual. But she is the villain of the story. So it feel like being part of the LGBTQ community either leads to death or being a villain. I love when representation is present, but it also have to be good representation.

I really liked this world and want to see more. But I found out that the next book centers around Pippa and I just don’t feel excited about that. If the next book does the same thing like this book, with changing POV, I will read it. But if it leaves out Bastien and Celine I will not read it until the fourth book is out. Hopefully that will focus on characters I actually care about. I don’t know what Pippa’s story could bring to the table. Is she gonna discover the same mythology we just explored in this book? What could she brings that are new? I don’t care about her love story or about her at all, so I’m feeling hesitant about the next installment. Will probably wait until the reviews starts to roll in.
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
1,035 reviews248 followers
October 28, 2020
Admittedly, after reading (and struggling through) the first book in this series, "The Beautiful", I went into this book with some pretty low expectations.

Luckily, some of the things that I most disliked from the first book were resolved in this novel such as how each chapter specified the character perspective that it would be in. That solved a hefty amount of confusion that the first book caused.

Unlike the first book, this novel fully captured my attention and I read all 400 pages in one sitting. It truly was an exact opposite experience from the first book.

Along with loving the plot of this novel as a whole, I also loved how detailed it was in regards to the world building and the magical creatures.

I'm hoping that there is more to come in this series. I'm glad that I gave this series another chance by reading this follow up because it was very different and now I'm looking forward to what is to come.
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,496 reviews405 followers
July 6, 2020
4.5 stars

Damn but that was good (see what I did there). THE DAMNED utilised all that world-building from book one and just pressed launch. This read was full to the brim of vampiric content and I came to love these characters so much more in this installment. It was an exciting read from cover to cover with a reasonably fast-pace, peppered with lulls to catch your breath.

Sometimes when a book is really good, I highlight and highlight text but with THE DAMNED, I forgot about highlighting, I was that absorbed. The characters I’d come to like from THE BEAUTIFUL became characters I loved and of course, Bastien and Celine were central to this. With that ending to THE BEAUTIFUL, you just know that the world was a confusing place for both these characters at the start of this book.

The story was complex and cleverly woven, but some of the confusion I felt in book one was not a factor in this book. That previous world building paved the way for the characters and different beings to play out with ease. There were so many unexpected factors and plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed particularly the Wyld and the Vale components to the story.

This book /series has delicious side characters and Odette continued to float my boat and I enjoyed getting to know Jae, Ahrun and even Nicodemus better. Pippa had some low level involvement but I see more from her to come.

The chemistry between Bastien and Celine was like a vampire sizzling in the hot sun (snort). These two had a journey and I had no idea where it was going to end up. I will say that Bastien was the kind of hero I could get on board with.

“Do you wish you could make this decision for me?”
“I do. More than I care to admit.”
“Then why have you given me the choice, against this inclination?
“Because I should not make your story about me.”

THE DAMNED blew book one out of the water for me. It gave me all the vampire I wanted and needed and a story to grip consistently. I want more from this series and the end indicates that’s the case.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.

This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities Blog.
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,763 reviews303 followers
July 18, 2020
Sadly, I was a little disappointed with this one. And I really loved the first book.

After the events of The Beautiful and the cliffhanger of an ending, I could not wait to get my hands on the second installment. I expected it to have the same ambiance and the first and really pick up the story and just run. However, that was not what I got. The first 100 pages were boring led nothing to the story. I also don't understand why we suddenly needed everyone's POV here. I mean, it shouldn't have taken over 100 pages to get to Celine - our main heroine. While I love a good back story, I didn't need it dumped on me for every character.

Once I got past that hump, the story finally picked up but it was nowhere near the story of the first book. This almost seemed like two different stories merged into one to fill a book. And that makes me really sad because, again, the first book was beautifully written.

Another thing about this book that really threw me was how different all of the characters seemed. Yes, they all went through some traumatic experiences by the end there, but at the core, they are who they are. Celine was rude in this book. She treated her best friend horribly and flitted from Michael to Bastien and then back again. It spoke nothing of the strong willed character I met in the first. And don't even get me started on how horrible Bastien was written here. I honestly don't know what happened.

I went into this thinking it was a duology but now I'm hearing that it may be 5 books and part of me wonders if that was decided at the last minute and that's why this book seemed so jumbled together. I will read the next one because the last portion of the book was starting to pick up and I do want to see where this goes. But I hope it's more of a cohesive story than this installment.
Profile Image for Laura ☾.
878 reviews278 followers
November 21, 2020
3.5 stars

While I enjoyed this overall, I feel like it suffered a bit from middle-book syndrome, in that it spent most of its time clearly setting up the next book rather than focussing on itself. I definitely look forward to seeing some of the things that were set up in this one be resolved in the next one!

I actually enjoyed that we got to see more characters' POVs in this one, especially learning more about characters like Arjun. What bothered me though was that some POVs were written as first-person, present tense, and some as third-person, past tense, which made the narrative not flow as well as it could have.

The pacing in this definitely picked up more than in the first book, but at times it felt a little bit all over the place.

Profile Image for Kalena W.
652 reviews301 followers
July 2, 2023
4.5/5 stars, my emotions are all over the place

I was so excited when my library loan of this book came in because I had just reread the first book last month and had such a fun time, I found myself yearning for more of this world. Though I was a bit worried about how this book would play out because of how the last book ended, what happened to Celine makes things very complicated. But this book picked up right where it left off and in a way, I frankly didn't expect, but made the story even better than the last.

The plot in this book was fairly easy to follow for most of the story, though there were moments that confused me just a bit. I was able to enjoy all the plot twists fully though and honestly didn't see many of them coming, and it was likely because I was able to lose myself in this really interesting story. I really wish I had the opportunity to read this on audiobook as my reread of the first book because that probably would've made it a five-star read, but the writing style was still so lush and gorgeous. I loved how Ahdieh described New Orleans, the new worlds, and everything in between.

While Bastion was easily one of my favorite characters last book, my enjoyment of him was only elevated in this book, especially because there were tons more chapters from his point of view. It really helped me visualize him as a unique character, and let him go through the storyline that exists in this book. If it had not been from his point of view it definitely would not have been as impactful as I felt it was through his thoughts, feelings, and experiences laid bare for the reader. Celine was still a great character as well when we did get pov chapters from her, there were lots revealed about her that I think sets up for some very interesting plotlines in the coming books. I have to admit that I did miss her while less of the book was focused on her.

There were also some side characters that got more focus that I had so much fun reading about. Odette was a favorite of mine in the last book so it's no surprise that I was overjoyed to read more from her perspective here. Arjun also quickly became one of my favorite characters, he's really fun to read about even if we didn't get to see a lot into his thoughts. Jae, Boone, Madeline, and the others of Bastion's family were really fun to watch, especially as they helped develop my understanding of the group of vampires and how they work. I really enjoyed seeing Michael again as well, though there was a lot less focus on the plot that was following him, I'm still so excited to see what happens to him in the next book.

The only thing that felt a little off for me was the expansion of the world of mythical creatures. The last world had already exposed the reader to vampires and werewolves but this one introduced a whole different realm that they came from. Urban fantasy can be hit or miss for me, and this falls heavily into that category with how it was introduced, but I generally liked it. I enjoyed seeing other creatures and Ahdieh's take on the world, but just wish it had been integrated a bit more smoothly. It felt pretty sudden that the main characters visited this land and I just wish there was more lore that was explained beyond what was given.

Overall, a really fantastic sequel and build-off from the last story, and definitely one that I am very excited to continue. The characters captivate me, the writing style is gloriously thick and creates such a cool atmosphere, and the plot twists are gruesome and heartbreaking. Hopefully, the next book comes in quickly on library loan as well, because this was just so fantastic and I cannot wait for more.

[TW: death of a loved one, blood and gore, beheading mentioned, biting of neck and wrists, unknown disease, bullying and shunning mentioned, child abuse mentioned, animal death and injury, knife wounds]
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