The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
Book One of The Dispossessed series
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC won from a giveaway
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
Oh oh oh I LOVED this book! Why did I wait so long to read it?! I've had this ARC since before this book's publication - so, like, a year now. SHAME ON ME. This is historical fiction, and I LOVE historical fiction, in YA and adult age levels. I also really enjoy paranormal novels. So, when you combine the two, historical fiction and paranormal fiction really work for me. This is a great example of how the two blend and mesh into something amazing!
Ingrid and her family (with the exception of her father) move to Paris, trying to avoid social scandals in order to save Ingrid's reputation. But what Ingrid doesn't realize is that her brother has been taken by demons. Her home is guarded by gargoyles, charged with protecting humans. And she herself, Ingrid, isn't quite normal. Everything goes back to the woman who has Grayson, and who is searching for her (Ingrid). It seems like everyone wants Ingrid, whether to kill her, or to take her blood. Ingrid wants to find her brother, but she quickly realizes that she has stumbled upon something that is much more than her twin's disappearance, something in which she was already infinitely involved.
I honestly didn't think I would like Ingrid, at first. I'm not entirely sure why. I'm not a huge fan of her name, but it grew on me. I thought she seemed a bit uptight, but as the story progressed, I really liked the person that she becomes. The character development is really well done in this book, for both Ingrid and Gabby (Ingrid and Grayson's younger sister, by about one and a half years).
That's something that I really liked about this book - the characters were all really well developed and crafted. Also, we get to see many perspectives, in this book. It's written completely in third person, but we get limited points-of-view from Ingrid, Gabby, Grayson, and Luc. I especially liked reading from Luc's point-of-view. Of course.
Luc is the gargoyle charged with protecting the Waverly females. He is brusque and closed-off, just trying to do his job. He is hundreds of years old, so this job gets boring. But soon he realizes that life tracking Ingrid, Gabby, and their mother is not easy. He has an affinity for Ingrid, which isn't easy, because she's human. Ish. And he is a gargoyle. I love his surly personality. I love his abruptness. This never really changes throughout the book, but it's obvious that there are many sides to Luc. He is most compassionate and most stubborn when it comes to Ingrid.
The worldbuilding in this book is AWESOME. I've never been to Paris, and know even less of historic Paris, but I think Morgan did an excellent job with her historical research (or, if anything, she did a really good job of convincing us of what is history). I loved how well the world is crafted, and how easy it is to slip into the nuances of the world. It's not hard to follow all of the names and creatures and lore.
The story seems simple - find Grayson. However, this plot snowballs into one huge tangled chaotic mess. Okay, it's not a mess. But there are so many things going on at once. However, it isn't confusing. I like how complicated Morgan makes this story, how many pieces there are to everything. It all comes together and meets in the end of this book, which is a touch overwhelming, but I liked the ending a lot. Well, the immediate ending is a bit sad. But the climax and the falling action after the climax is great.
The romance is straightforward, yet, not. Ingrid falls in love with Luc, even though it's basically impossible for "human" (is she though?) and a gargoyle to be, um, physical. You'll notice that in this series, physical displays of emotion are few and far between, when it comes to Luc and Ingrid. It's sad, but true. But that makes the rare moments when they are physical with each other SO BEAUTIFUL.
I won't mention anything else about the romance surrounding Ingrid. She loves Luc. Luc loves her. There is also Gabby, who falls in love with someone. I loved seeing that happen, because Gabby is quite the character. She is pigheaded and feisty, not calm with a simmer, like her sister.
I really liked this book, you all. Like, I LOVED it. I can't say enough about it! I hope you all pick up this book (or series in general)!
What I Did Not Like:
I don't really have much to say in this section. However, this book is a four-star-read from me... that's just how I feel! I think the romance, in its slow, torturous web, makes me sad. I really wish things could be easier from Ingrid and Luc! I love the romance and hate it at the same time. So it makes this book a little bittersweet for me - hence the four stars.
Would I Recommend It:
YES! Most definitely! I really liked this book in its entirety - the historical fiction part, the paranormal, the adventure, the romance. I must say, the romance is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and I love it. I hope that it ends well, by the end of the series, but for now, I'll excuse Morgan for toying with us readers. If you enjoy historical fiction, or paranormal-based fiction, you will enjoy this book! It's very unique and fresh, and I am so glad that I have the chance to read at least the first two books!
4 stars. I absolutely loved this book! And I'm writing this review with knowledge of what happens in the second book (I binge-read the two back to back, so now I'm writing reviews for both). I can safely say that this series is one of my favorite YA historical fiction series!
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