Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed

Ingrid Waverley is a young woman to be reckoned with. Faced with her brother's mysterious disappearance after an abrupt move to Paris, she is determined to discover what has happened to him. Soon she and her sister Gabriella are drawn into a Parisian underworld more terrifying than they could ever have imagined, but watching over them are two impossible (and impossibly handsome) young men. Luc is a 'Dispossessed', an ancient gargoyle whose sworn duty it is to protect the humans who inhabit his abbey. Nolan has secrets of his own too. He is a member of the Alliance - a shadowy group dedicated to keeping Paris safe from the demonic forces that threaten to destroy it.
Secrets, danger and hidden powers stalk the girls in this beautifully imagined paranormal romance that will keep readers gripped from beginning to end - and one thing is for sure - you'll never look at a gargoyle in the same way again . . . Quoted from Goodreads


I have really mixed feelings about this book.  I love the idea of it: gargoyles, a girl with mysterious powers, a missing brother, Paris.  It's all set up to be amazing.  And part of it was, but then part of it wasn't.

Here's what I liked.  Gargoyles.  Okay, so they're called the Dispossesed in this book, and they were kind of awesome.  They hate but guard humans. They're cursed but regularly visit with angles (which, okay, is part of the curse).  Basically, they were a rich, diverse group of characters, and I really liked the mythology and their role in the novel.  I'm kind of jealous of the British cover because I think it gets this book a little bit more right, though the girl looks way too modern.

Second, the mystery that is Ingrid.  I mean, a girl who can call lightning from her fingers? Awesome, especially over a hundred years ago.  Plus, she's this beautiful, blond helpless looking thing, so I loved that she was given an excellent power that was made for nothing but destruction and fighting.  Beautiful contrast.  Plus there's her twin bond with Grayson.  You never know if it's related to her powers or just a simple twin thing, but I liked how she she knew when he was in trouble and the connection they had.

Of course that leads in to one of the things I didn't enjoy as much about this book.  The multiple viewpoints---Grayson's in particular.  I get that you're supposed to think, "oh no, what horrible things Grayson is going through.  They have to save him fast," but I don't think what you gain from his POV made up for loosing they mystery of where he was and what had happened to him.  In fact, besides one or two twists in the end where we learn the bad guy's main motive and plan, there really wasn't a lot of mystery.

Then there's Gabbie.  While I liked the sister's bond and that she wanted to fight despite her distinct lack of powers or training, I found her story a lot less compelling than her sister's.  Sure, she and Nolan were cute, and maybe even made more sense as a couple than anyone Ingrid was set up with, but she also ended up being a damsel in distress more often than not.  I'm hoping her role grows more in the next book, because she has a lot of potential, but her story was less compelling for me.

As for the romance, well, it sort of suffered from the typical YA problems.  The main love interest, well . . . he's forbidden.  And immortal.  And cursed. And not human.  In fact, they could die if they get together.  Sound familiar? Then there's the other guy. And he's just that,  the nice other guy.  Of course Ingrid is attracted to him because he's the safe, sweet contrast, but he's not Luc. Like I said, Gabbie's romance worked a little better for me, though I'm still team Luc all the way.  What can I say, I'm a sucker for those forbidden romances.

Despite some of the problems, there's a lot going for this book. There's tons of action.  Honestly, it was more violent than I first expected, full of dead bodies and hellhounds.  We have the mysterious Alliance, and of course, there are the Disposessed (gargoyles), with all their internal conflicts.  It's definitely not a slow book by any stretch of the imagination.  Really, it's an exciting 3.5 stars for me.  Yes, there were a few problems, but all in all it was a fun adventure, and I'll absolutely be reading the sequel.

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