Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, 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.

Review:

I didn’t remember much of what had happened in the previous book, The Beautiful, but luckily The Damned picks up exactly where the first book let off. Bastien has been turned into a vampire and Celine doesn’t remember him, or any of the tragic events that happened to her and led to her loss of memories.

The Damned has a very slow start, with much focus on Bastien, and the world and members of the fallen. It’s pretty obvious we are facing a completely different story from the first book. It also seems we were just scratching the surface of this world of wolves and vampires, and with The Damned we just opened Pandora’s box.

So, forget the mysterious 1872 New Orleans, which was the best feature of the first book, and get ready to explore a world full of different creatures and eerie fey.

The plot initially drags on a bit with the struggles of Bastien to accept his new vampire nature until we finally get to Celine’s story. I liked Celine and her determination. She is smart, resolute and brave. I started feeling like this book was more about Bastien, and so many new POVs are introduced, I was glad to see her back in the plot.

With Celine, the plot finally picks up but there are still too many storylines going on and some scenes lack the “gasp effect”, certain plot revelations are told without much preamble. Moreover, in between chapters there were gaps like you missed something, and you were just told what happened by the writer instead of reading how the events unfold. And then, you get to a fast-paced, crowded, ending where all the plotlines become just a big tangled mess and it’s just a bit weird. I can’t say much without spoilers, but someone was massively out-of-character.

Still, I am curious to see where it goes and to learn more about this (for some reason Korean inspired) Sylvan Vale and Sylvan Wild world (so, yes, as I said, forget about New Orleans). Moreover, Bastien is an intriguing character, or maybe I am just weak for broody vampires, but he took the spotlight from Celine. I am a bit worried the third instalment will be too predictable, the romance is already fully developed and there, and other love interests and storylines are quite obvious.

In general, it was a tad disappointing, it was more of a spin-off than a sequel. The plot is too crowded, full of threads and new POVs, but Ahdieh saves everything with her beautiful writing style and she doesn’t fail to entertain you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.