The Damned by Renée Ahdieh
Themes: Fantasy, YA, historical fiction, romance, paranormal creatures,
Trigger warnings/Potential concerns for readers:
Format: I received an E-Arc copy from Netgalley but I believe it will be available in hardback, paperback and kindle. You can check the book out here.
Price: £16.99 at Watersones
Rating: 5 STARS
Release date: 07/07/2020
I feel like I’ve hit a lucky streak with NetGalley at the moment, I’d just finished reviewing The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant when I thought I’d have a nosey at what new books there were to review when I saw The Damned by Renée Ahdieh and figured I’d try my luck. Well as you can see the NetGalley Gods answered my prayers! I have purchased the special edition Fairyloot copy to match the copy of The Beautiful but I’m still feeling grateful I get to read it a little bit earily thanks to NetGalley.
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sebastien 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.
I’ll try not to include any spoilers about The Beautiful in case anyone hasn’t read it yet (but please read The Beautiful, its an incredible vampire fantasy). I am so glad we’re learning more about the vampires in this story. In The Beautiful, from what I can remember it’s heavily implied that some of the characters are vampires but the v word is out in full force in The Damned! We learn more about their backstories and some of the points of view (POV) are from some of these characters which I really liked.
A lot of The Damned is from Bastien’s perspective, along with the Court of Lions which I enjoyed. It was interesting to see Bastien’s transformation from human to vampire and the challenges he faced during this.
I also really liked Émilie’s POV, hearing her side of the story and how she came to be the was she is was interesting. I liked seeing the family dynamics between the Saint Germain and how the family works, and also between the Grimaldi family. I’m intrigued to see how this will play out in the next book, especially after the events that occurred towards the end of the book.
The romance is out in full force in this book, I really love Bastien and Celine, I truly believe they’re soul mates but I also couldn’t help but ship her with a certain detective.. Saying that, there was a chapter at the end of The Damned that has me shipping him with someone else so I’m back on the Bastien and Celine ship haha. I also love the friendships Celine has with Pippa and Odette, Ahdieh can really write about female friendships and the power they can have. The women Ahdieh write about are strong, fearless, loving, dedicated, brilliant role models people reading YA should have.
The Damned is bringing out the supernatural creatures out in full force and I’m here for it! Like I mentioned earlier, things are implied but they weren’t fully explored in The Beautiful and I’m so glad they were. There’s a whole host of supernatural creatures involved and the supernatural background of these creatures and how they came to live in New Orleans or the Crescent City is explained. There’s no info dumping though which is always appreciated.
I love Ahdieh’s world building, it’s so rich, yet still believable, and thankfully not overwhelming. The details are just enough to make you believe a world like the one she’s created could exist if you just squint hard enough. I’m also gonna need to visit New Orleans asap!
I’ll be honest though, this book TOOK A TURN.. I really didn’t expect some of the fantasy elements to be explored in the way they were. I loved the Crescent City Ahdieh created in The Beautiful and carried on exploring in The Damned but I did not anticipate this, I loved it though so it was a welcome surprise. So bonus points for catching me unawares, we love a good twist!
The last few chapters.. I cannot, I really was not expecting that, I won’t spoil it but strap yourselves in for a ride! This book has consistently surprised me (in a good way of course) and I really cannot wait for the third installment. This is definitely my favourite Renée Ahdieh series! If you’re into fantasy, romance, historical fiction, paranormal creatures you’ll love this series!