Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Beautiful and the Cursed, by Page Morgan

I have a lot of say about this one, but let me start by saying that I want every book to be about gargoyles from now on!

Okay, so the entire gargoyle concept is super neat. Basically, it goes back to the old myth that says how gargoyles protect the building that they inhabit. So, in Paris (and especially in 1899 when the book is set), there are a ton of buildings, churches, homes that have a gargoyle protector. It's no wonder that when Ingrid and Gabby move to an abandoned abbey, there's a gargoyle protector. The world that Page Morgan creates is extremely interesting, full of demons and a group called The Alliance that protects the world from demons. Did I mention there are gargoyles too? Oh, I guess I did.

The book starts with Ingrid and Gabby moving to Paris only to find that their brother (Ingrid's twin) has gone missing. They get pulled into a world that's completely different from their own and are willing to do anything to find their brother. With the help of the mysterious Luc, and Alliance members Vander and Nolan, Ingrid and Gabby find that nothing is as it seems and trust shouldn't be given easily. This book is a roller coaster of excitement, with twists and turns that'll leave you desperate to flip the page.

Here's what I really liked: Characters. Characters. Characters. Ingrid is so metal, I mean, she accidentally burned down her best friend's house after her friend was proposed to by the guy Ingrid liked. She also doesn't care to a certain extent what people back in London or even in Paris think about her, and that's pretty cool too. In the beginning, I didn't really like the character of Gabby (Ingrid's younger sister) because she seemed very annoying and immature. But as the book went on, she soon became my favorite character. She wants to fight demons and isn't afraid to go out on her own to search for information on her brother, even though there is a strict police curfew because of murders around the city. I also really love the character of Nolan, and it's not just because he's Scottish (though that has a lot to do with it). He's brave and just cocky enough (borderline sass master), and he's good at fighting demons.

But my favorite thing about this book is definitely the gargoyle concept. I know I keep saying it, but it's refreshing and the mythology around it is quite fascinating. I love the idea that there are different packs around Paris and each pack has its own animal equivalent that they look like. It's an idea that lets your imagination run wild because you're trying to figure out what they look like when they transform from human to gargoyle, and somehow they seem graceful when they fight. Like, whoa, how do stone creatures do that? I'm still trying to figure it out.

Okay, so now on to the stuff that I wasn't a big fan on. There were small point of view problems, where I couldn't really tell whose side we were seeing (especially since it's written in 3rd person and basically goes through multiple POVs). But that problem could have arisen for me because I was reading it on my Kindle and it's harder to flip back pages and double check. POV problems aren't a big deal and I can get over those easily. Another thing that bugged me was the love angle (yes, I'm calling it an angle. It is not a triangle. A love triangle means that A loves B who loves C who loves A. This was more of a A loves B and C.) My biggest problem with this is that I'm having a hard time liking Luc and understanding why Ingrid likes him. Yes, I get that he's handsome, but he's never really been that nice to her. I also understand that he protects her and all that too, but he's a jerk and never gave her a reason to like him. Especially since her other option is Vander who is super kind and nice and cute (obviously, I'm Team Vander). I don't know, maybe I'm just not crazy into the idea of the bad boy love affair thing.

My biggest problem with this story is how similar it is to Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instrument and The Infernal Devices series,  especially ID. Same time period, brother is missing, girl isn't exactly human, demon fighting/angel interference (though the angel stuff is more MI), a group that fights demons, Luc/Vander = Will/Jem (kinda sorta), etc. That was really hard to get past, especially since I'm such a HUGE fan of the Shadowhunting world. And saying this is hard too, because I really did like this book, a lot, but there were times where I felt like I was reading the other author's work. But who knows, this is still the first book in the series so maybe it'll go its own way and be completely different (fingers crossed), I've chosen to stay optimistic.

Overall, if you're a fan of Cassandra Clare, you'll probably really enjoy The Beautiful and The Cursed. Just don't compare the two because you'll drive yourself crazy. I did like this book, and I definitely recommend it. I'm excited for the sequel and I hope that Page Morgan molds the story in her own creative way, because she truly is a good story teller.

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