Source: Random House – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.
Publisher: Random House
Edition: Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy
Purchase:Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.
In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.
And Grayson has gone missing.
No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.
Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.
The Beautiful and the Cursed follows two sisters Ingrid and Gabby, who move to Paris in order to help their mother open her new gallery and escape from the social nightmare at home in England. However the gallery is worse for wear and lined with gargoyles, and with the string of disappearances haunting the Paris streets Ingrid and Gabby are forced to recognize that the city may be far darker than they could have ever thought.
Ingrid, the oldest of the Waverly sisters, is smart and capable though quiet and reserved. She’s a silent pillar to her younger sister’s fiery passion. For the most part I rather liked Ingrid. She’s brave and ready to do what is needed to get her brother back, even if others refuse to take the risks, but she’s also level headed and doesn’t just rush headlong into things without some sort of thought before hand. There were a few moments that were a case of extreme frustration and they were the rare moments in which she did show signs of irrational behavior or indecision…because it was just so odd for her despite fitting the situation. Gabby is also a great character and though she comes off as flighty to begin with she owns up to her situation as soon as it becomes apparent that there is something she can do. She has spirit and a strong will, but she’s also a bit too brash in her behavior. We also get glimpses of Luc and Grayson’s point of view, which are mostly small sections and provide some insight into their situations and personalities. The only problem I had with this is that things were revealed to them that the sisters did not know and some of the tension and suspense was taken out of it.
I should probably point out that this novel is no where as soft and fluffy as the cover implies, as gorgeous as it is, I think the first few pages really send that message home. The plot is one that works like a slow burn, and while I do consider it a bit of a page turner it’s not fast paced. Morgan works at a very deliberate pace to build up the world and work in all the details, and while there are tense scenes with plenty of action it moves with a pace similar to that of a historical romance novel. It has much of the same feel as well, it’s well written and the voice feel authentic (or as much as I know about the time period). Of course there is the main plot point, the gargoyles or Dispossessed. I love the whole idea of a gargoyle novel, which is probably rooted in the fact that I grew up watching the cartoon Gargoyles where they watched over and protected a city. Morgan gives them the ability to shift forms, from their stony gargoyle like features to their more human-selves. I also love the back story one why the gargoyles are charged with watching over the city like they do. I would love to know more about Luc’s past as well as a few of the side characters like Yann and Marco. The building tension between gargoyles and the Alliance (a group of humans aware of the supernatural) that really has me interested in their future relationship.There is also the fact that we get to see much more than gargoyles at work and I wasn’t expecting that at all. While some of it was a bit odd and a tad unexplained, I enjoyed originality of it and I really hope to get to see more of the Underneath and the creatures in the next book.
The one real issue that bugged me about this one was the odd love triangles. They were not overwhelming to the plot and they didn’t take precedence over it, but they were there and left me in a bit of a kerfuffle. In one instance the relationship between two characters was slow building, obvious, and welcomed…but the second interest is much slower to build and didn’t feel quite as passionate. It’s still a good match, but it wasn’t quite the same. I think this was the main reason I couldn’t quite rate this five stars, along with a few tiny details that I wanted to know but were not quite given.
I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book and I can’t wait to see how Gabby and Ingrid fit into the world of the Alliance, and how Luc and Grayson adjust to a few new elements in their lives.