Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
Series: The Dispossessed #1
Published by Delacorte Press
Pages: 341
Genre: Historical/Horror (YA)
Rating: Good, but borderline Meh
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Ingrid and Gabby have traveled to Paris with their mother. However, their brother Grayson, who left England ahead of them to find a suitable place for them to live, has gone missing. And no one seems concerned. However, with her twin connection to him, Ingrid knows Grayson's alive. And that something is wrong. Her fears don't abate when she sees the 'suitable' living arraignments he chose for them: An old, ruined abbey with gargoyle statues.

'So this was what a nightmare looked like by the light of day.'

Honestly, I don't know what to make of this book. I was doing really well with it until the last seventy-five or so pages. It seemed that everything I had been having slight problems with, but was generally able to ignore, hit me full force in those last pages. When I say that, I mostly mean Luc.

The major reason I was interested in this book - and I think this is true for many other people - was because of the gargoyles. France used to be the country I was interested in - for probably a good eight or ten years. I read a lot about its history, I studied the language a little. And yes, I read about gargoyles. I've even got two little gargoyles in my bedroom. One's a stone one that I think is supposed to be out in your yard or garden, the other is paper mache with burlap wings that I think I bought around Halloween five or six years ago. So yes, I am quite interested in gargoyles.

This book really seemed like it was going to be perfect for me. For one thing, I just mentioned wanting more groups in YA fiction (Top Ten Tuesdays: Reading Wishlist) and this story actually followed four people. That's right, there were four people whose heads we got to get inside of on a regular basis. That was probably my favorite thing about this book. Plus, there were several other major characters that we didn't get inside the head of, but that did play large parts in the story. So that was great.

I also really, really liked how things weren't kept as secrets just for secrets sake. Yeah, there were things that some of the characters didn't know, but it seemed like if something was pertinent to the situation, the people that needed to know would be told. There was no added drama because someone was keeping secrets from everyone else. So nice.

The setting was completely new to me. It's been a long time since I read a historical book without it being marketed as steampunk and I've never read a historical novel set in Paris. However, I found the world that Ms. Morgan created to be a little off-putting - just the way things were done was very unsettling for me. That being said, the book had a delightfully creepy feel. It wasn't scary (least not in my opinion) but atmospheric.

As for the characters, Gabby and Vander were my favorites. Gabby's just so vibrant and she really takes to everything splendidly. Vander is such a gentleman and a real calming influence compared to some of the other characters - plus he manages his uncle's bookstore. (Yeah, like that wasn't going to make me fall in love with him right there.)

I tolerated most of the other people, though I did think when I first met them that Ingrid would be my favorite of the girls. After all, she was the mature one, the one that likes to read... Really though, she never impressed me the way her younger sister did. Ingrid felt more like the typical leading female in a YA novel - a type I'm getting rather tired of. Speaking of tired of… Luc. I was willing to overlook his near possessiveness because of what he was but, as the story stretched on, I really started to hate him. The personality type is one I don't like and am just getting really feed up seeing.

Final notes? I can forgive a book better if the problems I have with it is dealt with early, as opposed to towards the end. This book was just clumping issues at the end for me.

Read as part of these challenges: Goodread challenge & Bingo challenge.