I was very young when I first read Anne Rice's 'Interview With the Vampire' when it was first published, and got hooked on the beautiful, steamy, sinister and mysterious city that buries its dead above the ground - where the undead also continue to walk. I thought the cover of 'The Beautiful' a bit plain but was intrigued by the time and setting (19th-century New Orleans) enough, that was all I needed to know.
It's great that a lengthy excerpt was included, and that in that excerpt we not only got to know Celine but also her fellow charges at the convent (especially Pippa, Pippa is awesome and I am scared to death that makes her a prime target). The girls come across a separate individuals, the murder at the pier gruesome but beautifully setting the reader up for what to expect from this book ... and I sense a bond between Odette and Celine that has the potential to grow both complicated and dangerous. In other words, REALLY anxious to continue!
Good world-building for a start (though would like to see more details setting up the time period), characters you can care about right off, and several mysteries about Celine and the storyline itself that makes you want to keep turning pages ... ALL reasons to want to keep reading!! I only hope the emphasis is more on the story and vampires than the romance; fingers crossed for a continuation of something more Anne Rice than leaning over into Stephenie Meyer territory, which is played out! I also think the story and writing deserve a stronger book cover, but the one chosen is good; not great, but good. Hope to read more very soon!