Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

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Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
The Beautiful and the Cursed
Page Morgan
Series: The Dispossessed #1
Genre: Gothic, YA
Publication date: May 14th 2013
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

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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.
-A copy was provided by Random House of Canada for review-
Set in beautiful Paris, 1899, The Beautiful and the Cursed is a unique, violent, sometimes disturbing YA Gothic involving demons, Gargoyles, and… something unexplained that is one of our main characters.

With the appearance of two dead bodied within the first 70 pages, I knew I was in for a good time. Though not a bad thing (for me), this book was a little more violent than I expected. Aside from the initial dead bodies we’re treated to gory bodily remains and beastly attacks–which were pretty cool I might add. Hell hounds make for really awesome evil! To protect from these creature are gargoyles; amazingly described as these massive beasts, gargoyles have to protect the humans residing in their estates, and can turn to and from human form. This gargoyle lore – gargoyles not being something I knew very much of – left me kind of in awe. Page makes them both darkly beautiful and monstrous. Their human forms give us century old characters: some are bitter, some are lonely, others revel in the power they possess, but they all carry a certain air of desperation that makes them a little… menacing. Aside from the fantastic visuals of these beasts (including their metamorphosis), Paris also comes alive in this novel with rich scenery and ambiance. All that in addition to the beautiful prose = A+ on the writing!

The multiple perspectives in this book take us from one sister to another, starting when they find out about their missing brother. One sister – Ingrid – has unexplained powers that have started to materialize, which has everyone perplexed. The other, Gabby, is a little jealous and dealing with feeling helpless in her shadow. Although they are both very determined young women, I’m always partial to the less damsel-in-distress-y types (even though Gabby is set against being such, she still is), so I found Ingrid to be a much more compelling character. The ability to shoot lightning from your fingers (!!) will do that! The sisters are our main POVs, but we also get glimpses into Luc’s and Grayson’s which come with both good and bad results. Good because we get answers fast: we learn what’s happening to Grayson, we find out a lot about the Gargoyles; but bad because for one, we relive some of the same scenes echoed through a sister’s POV (which I did not find necessary), and for another, we find out things way before the girls do, therefore making the wait a little monotonous. It doesn’t help matters that the plot is not especially fast paced. Sure there are some deaths and intriguing happenings, but the actual plot doesn’t start moving until three quarters through. Once this happens though it’s a pretty freaky ride until the end.

There is also romance in this novel, and with all the different POVs we get a mix of forbidden love, confused emotions, and even a slight love triangle. I did not find the romance to be the book’s best quality, to be honest. I never grew especially connected to any of the couples, nor did I feel a large amount of chemistry between them which always makes the romance a bit bland. It could have been worse.

With excellent imagery and splendid writing, The Beautiful and the Cursed is an original work of Gothic fiction. It takes a little bit to get going, but it is worth it at the end.

Also, I gotta say, the UK cover grasps the book so much better than the froufrou US cover (although the US one is gorgeous, this is just not a froufrou book!)

 

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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35 Responses to “Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan”

  1. Nick

    I’m really excited for this book. Plus, now that you’ve mentioned how gruesome and bloody. It’s really too bad about the romance and the plot not really moving, but this is something I’m definitely willing to give a try! Lovely review, Giselle! 🙂

  2. Amy

    I have been wanting this book since I heard about it. The whole gargoyle thing did it for me. The US cover is gorgeous, but I love the UK one. It’s different, and not a typical cover. I love that her and the gargoyle are just chillin’ in the rain lol!! Anyways, this book sounds like something I would like. It’s too bad it’s slow to start, but if the writing is fab, I can get over it. Great review as always babe!

  3. Mel@Thedailyprophecy

    I’ve only read one book with a Gargoyle in it and I really like to read more about them 🙂 And it’s always good when the first chapters start with a bang (in this case, dead bodies :D)

  4. ODell @ Book Twirps

    You’re right, after your description of the book, the US cover doesn’t do it much justice. I haven’t heard much about this one. I might have to keep it on my radar.

  5. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I’m really happy to hear that it’s not froufrou! I love the cover and the concept but I wasn’t sure if the cover was a reflection or not…because gargoyles and cotton candy pink don’t really relate, lol. I just got this one so I’m hoping to get to it soon.

  6. Annette Mills

    Gargoyles? Sign me up… sounds like an interesting premise. I, too, think the UK cover is better. I’ll have to get my hands on this one. Thanks!

  7. Aman

    Gargoyles are pretty new to me but they sound so yucky. I don’t think I’ll like them though the UK cover really makes me want to grab this read. Great review, Giselle!

  8. Shooting Stars Mag

    Sounds intriguing! I like the addition of gargoyles; something a bit different, for sure.

    I wish more YA would leave out the romance. It doesn’t always work and it’s not needed most of the time, I don’t feel.

    -Lauren

  9. Christianna Marks

    This one sounds so amazing! I feel like this needs to go on my birthday list right now. That is if I can wait till July to read it! Seriously this one sounds so amazing!

  10. Melliane

    it sounds nice! Well I confess that when I see en English book in France I’m always very intrigued! This period is also a really interesting one, always love to read about it.

  11. Molli

    Yep, yep, gonna HAVE to read this one. I am a sucker for ANYTHING Gothic, and I love that Morgan is exploring gargoyles! How cool is that? I’m like you, Giselle, sometimes damsel characters get on my nerves. Other than that and the blah romance, it’s awesome you liked this one, girly!

  12. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I saw the UK cover a couple of months ago and took me a while to realize it was the same book. It’s crazy how different it looks from the US version.
    I’ve never read a gargoyle book before and I’m very curious to see what this one is about. Hoping to fit this one in soon…

  13. Miss Page-Turner

    I’ve been wanting to read The Beautiful and the Cursed for ages now! I really have to purchase a copy of this very soon!! I loooove the US cover, will definitely have to get that edition. I’m really excited about the different POVs, too, hadn’t known this was written from more than one perspective. And it’s set in Paris. Wohoo! Hope I like it better than you did, this one sounds just perfect to me. Thanks for your honest review though:)

  14. Lauren Elizabeth

    I have to say, I wasn’t planning on reading this, but your review is making me second guess my decision to skip it for lack of time. The writing sounds beautiful and I think gargoyle lore could make for an awesome story, even if it has its slow moments and the reader is forced to relive a few scenes from different POV’s (I really am not a fan of that). The hell hounds sound pretty scary! I think I have an ARC of this one, and I’m definitely going to pull it out and give it a try now. Wonderful review! 🙂

  15. Ariella Blake

    I don’t know much about gargoyles so I want to give this a try 🙂 But after your review, I’m a bit hesitant now.. I hate multiple POV’s and if a character is annoying, then I won’t like it. Meh.. I don’t know if I really wanna read it now..

    -Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words

  16. Amanda

    Great review. I was so excited by this book initially, but your review has caused me to simmer down a little. I hate multiple POVs basically for the reasons you described here: I hate it when they rehash similar events or cause readers to understand/discover things that the characters don’t (not because the reader is just more astute, but because crucial info has been revealed to some characters but not others). If there are multiple POVs, then the author better have a good, solid reason for including each one. Otherwise I find them frustrating. The gargoyle lore does sound really interesting though. Hmm. Undecided on reading this one now.

  17. Eileen

    OKAY I just need to tell you that I had this page open when there were NO COMMENTS at all and by this point there are going to be like fifty bajillion but still, I need to say that I WAS going to be the first comment before I got dragged away to school.

    But I’m so happy that the writing is really amazing, gore and bloodshed is really not my thing so I might pass on this solely on the fact that I’d never be able to sleep for another like week afterwards, but I’m glad you enjoyed it, even if there were other things that affected how much you liked it. I HATE a slow plot and not being able to connect to a couple as well, and the fact that Gabby is against being weak but still kind of is always annoys me. (I really hope I read that right because I have my night contacts in right now and they’re like so bad for computer screen reading lol)

    Fantastic review, Giselle!

  18. A Canadian Girl

    I haven’t read too many books about gargoyles so this one sounds like an interesting read. The worldbuilding seems great but it’s too bad the plot is slow and some scenes are relieved again from other characters’ POVs.

  19. Siiri

    I feel like if the first book gets a three star rating, it’s not bad. Some of my favorite series have gotten a three for the first book. I haven’t heard anything of these creatures I think.. I have heard the name, but nothing in particular. Not that I’d remember. Anywho, I do LOVE the sound of the story. I’m not one to jump into historical books, but this sounds promising. The only thing I’m worried about is the too many POV’s since it’s hard for me to connect with the characters if there are more than two POVs. In some cases, max three. I’d love to explore this world though. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll keep my eye on this one:-)

  20. Melanie

    ERMAHGAWD. The cover is a beauty. I’ll buy the cover alone if I could. I guess the UK one would suit it more considering it’s a gothicy historical book. Anywho, it’s real sad to see this not get a 4 or a 5. The cover and synopsis seemed so promising. *dramtic sigh*

  21. Megan K.

    I haven’t seen many reviews for this book, but ah! So glad you enjoyed this overall. 🙂 Two dead bodies within the first few pages and I’m sold. I’m just morbid like that. Also, I’m really intrigued by the imagery and writing you mentioned. This book def doesn’t sound like your ordinary paranormal book. Hoping to get my hands on this soon! Fab review, chickie!

  22. Megan Hand

    First, excellent review! Second, you totally made me laugh because this does sound like a badass book, and I loved your line about being in for a “good time” after two dead bodies in the first so many pages. And the froufrou cover, you are on the nose with that one. If this book is a violent as you say, the left cover on the bottom is way more appropriate. I guess the publishing companies think we USers can’t handle the badassery sometimes, lol. Even though you said it was more violent than you expected, you’ve intrigued me with the compliments about the writing, but then the lack of chemistry… I think I’ll still check this one out sometime!

  23. Lyn Kaye

    I have been eyeing this one for a while. If I ever see it, I might snag it. I like that you were quite honest about the book.

    Sometimes I get to frustrated trying to write a spoiler-free review!

  24. Micheline D

    Sounds like a solid 3-stars and definitely a book I still want to check out! The idea of gargoyles isn’t something I’ve read up on either so I’m really curious about the lore – and shooting lightning from her fingers got me even MORE pumped for this one 😀 Sweet review Giselle, I’d been really curious to see what you thought of this one!!

  25. Alexa Y.

    This sounds like a fairly interesting read! I haven’t ever read a book about gargoyles before, but I’m mesmerized by the thoughts you’ve shared about how they’re written in this book. I think I might be inclined to pick this one up and read the story for myself, just to experience the unique elements the author has to offer!

  26. Alexa Y.

    (I’m not sure if my first comment went through, but just in case, I’m going to try to leave another one.)

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about gargoyles before. The way you described them and their magic is so intriguing! I definitely think I’m going to have to give this novel a try, since it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve read before.