Friday, July 12, 2013

The Beautiful and the Cursed

It's the turn of the century and Ingrid Waverly moves to Paris from London in disgrace. Not only did the boy she loved propose to her best friend, but she is also blamed in burning down said best friend's house (which was a total accident). Seeing no other option, the Waverly family relocates with Grayson, Ingrid's twin brother, going ahead to make preparations. When the rest of the family arrive to move into their new home, Grayson is missing and no one is concerned because of his reputation for partying and disappearing for days at a time. Enter Luc, a servant with an attitude problem and a deep, dark secret. Of course he's gorgeous and Ingrid is inexplicably drawn to him. Her little sister Gabriella sense there is something weird about him and that he knows more than he lets on. Can Luc help them find their lost brother?

The Beautiful and the Damned is the debut novel of Page Morgan and the beginning of a series. Although not a perfect novel. I found it to be enjoyable. Gargoyles are the focus creature and they prove to be a welcome change to the typical werewolves and vampires. They protect a certain piece of consecrated land and are obligated to protect the humans that live there. They also have the ability to transform from human form to grotesque winged gargoyle form. All of the gargoyles are people who killed a clergyperson in their life and have to spend eternity in service and atonement. Heaven and hell, demons and angels are major figures in the novel. Angels aren't the beautiful, serene creatures we usually imagine, but cold, hard, and cruel. The prose is engaging and kept my attention even with the inconsistencies and annoyances.

I had quite a few problems with the novel. Ingrid is generally likeable and lauded for being pragmatic and sensible. All of that goes to hell when she meets Luc, who is abrasive, arrogant, and rude. There is no rational reason why she would ever look at him twice in addition to the social constructs separating them. The instalove I hate so very very much is in full force here, totally going against what defines Ingrid as a character. Although gargoyles have a different mythos than vampires, the gargoyle-human relationship has a very similar dynamic to vampire-human relationships: the same angst, the same issues with age, the danger of being involved with him, etc. I was expecting something much different like a relationship actually built on getting to know each other instead the same old Romeo and Juliet crap.

The Beautiful and the Cursed is a typical paranormal romance. The only thing that really sets it apart is the use of gargoyles and the beautiful gothic flavor and setting. I was expecting something more, so I was a little disappointed. I would read the next book in the series, but I would check it out from the library.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins