Apologies are for sheep. Let them all see what I’ve become. Let them fear me.
I preordered the Fairyloot copy of The Damned to match my gorgeous edition of The Beautiful, but I couldn’t wait for it to get here, so I’m glad I got a review copy from Hodder & Stoughton too! After several months and over 160 books between them, I couldn’t remember what had happened in The Beautiful, but between my review here and this excellent primer here I was able to jump back in – though it has left me with the strong desire to reread them both together.
Rating: 4 stars!
Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy of this book, it has not affected my honest review.
Trigger Warnings: blood and murder (vampires y’all), gaslighting and memory fuckery, the consent issues inherent in vampires glamouring their victims.
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.
What did I think?
I honestly love Renee Ahdieh’s writing style. I just love it. In the first 60 pages alone I marked at least ten lines as potential quotes because every line is beautiful and I wanted to remember all of them. I thought it was a little weird that Bastien’s chapters were in first person while the rest of the characters were in third person, but Bastien’s chapters did give me some of my favourite quotes so I’m not complaining too much. I found this book to be a little more simple than The Beautiful, which was much more flowery language. I didn’t mind that though, as I was engaged with the plot and this didn’t have nearly as much ‘second book syndrome’ as I was worried about! In places I was a little confused about the nonchalant way that information was shown – at one point I had to go back to my The Beautiful summary because I thought a plot twist was something I was already meant to know, it was delivered so casually.
I loved Bastien in the first book, but in The Damned? He might be the only fictional man worth respecting. I won’t go into too much detail, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but considering the time setting, Bastien is excellent. He insists on so much personal agency for Celine, giving her a choice in everything that they do and I just love to see it. I love historical fiction, but not when The Man decides everything. Bastien wouldn’t do that to her. Even the love triangle wasn’t that bad – I usually hate them – because the logic behind it tracked and it was clearly based in the society of the time.
In my review of The Beautiful I said that I wanted more vampire stuff in The Damned, and I definitely got that. Seeing a character go through the newborn vampire process was really fun, and definitely had the same energy of the first book. I loved the fae aspects that were added in and how the vampire and fae history was meshed in, different from a lot of vampire books I’ve read. I didn’t realise this was a four part series (because I’m an idiot) and when I got to the 75% mark, I suddenly had the sense of impending doom that this series wasn’t going to be wrapped up in this book. As it is, I can’t wait for the rest of the series, as the end of The Damned kicked things off hard.
Add it on Goodreads here!
Buy at Hive if you can and support your local indie booksellers! Also available at Waterstones and Amazon.
2 thoughts on “The Damned by Renée Ahdieh (The Beautiful #2, Review)”
Oooh vampire AND fae mythology? I’m intrigued. I read the first book but it felt too introductory. It’s nice to know the sequel gets “meatier” to a certain extent.
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