I fell hard for Renée Ahdieh's The Wrath and the Dawn, so I was very excited to get an ARC of her latest novel courtesy of BookishFirst. However, The Beautiful failed to fascinate or even make much sense.
Set in New Orleans in 1872 right before Carnival, one would expect the novel to be dripping with atmosphere. There are girls living in a convent and a monstrous serial killer on the loose, yet there is only the most basic attempt at world building. Nothing came to life.
While atmosphere was lacking, The Beautiful is high on melodrama, which, honestly, I expected and don't necessarily mind. But, the characters were flat, and the plot was thin. It was like I was reading an outline of a great story, but it hadn't fleshed itself out yet.
In the end, I gave this three stars because I liked Renée Ahdieh's other books, but this one just wasn't for me.