Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Also by this author: Certain Dark Things
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on October 24th 2017
In a world of etiquette and polite masks, no one is who they seem to be.
Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society. Under the tutelage of the beautiful but cold Valérie Beaulieu, she hopes to find a suitable husband. However, the haphazard manifestations of Nina’s telekinetic powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.
Yet dazzling telekinetic performer and outsider Hector Auvray sees Nina’s powers as a gift, and he teaches her how to hone and control them. As they spend more and more time together, Nina falls in love and believes she’s found the great romance that she’s always dreamed of, but Hector’s courtship of Nina is deceptive.
The Beautiful Ones is a sweeping fantasy of manners set in a world inspired by the Belle Époque.
After reading and loving Certain Dark Things, I had no doubt I would read whatever Moreno-Garcia published next. That turned out to be The Beautiful Ones. Just from the synopsis I could tell it would be incredibly different from the vampire underground world created in Certain Dark Things, but I have to confess, I was hoping to still find a bit of that darkness in The Beautiful Ones. Well, I can’t say I found this to be dark like that, and will advise you that you can not read this book looking for world or tone similarities to Certain Dark Things. Moreno-Garcia did create great characters in both, but that is where the main similarities end.
As opposed to most of the books I read, the romance aspect was the strongest plot point in this book. You can also find character growth, and a lesson to embrace who you are, etc. But ultimately, this book was about relationships and romance. I am not stating that as a negative, honestly, sometimes its nice to read a book like that. But I like to know ahead of time so I can save it for when the mood strikes, so keep that in mind if you only read and enjoy romance centered books sporadically.
The magic in this book consists of telekinetic powers that are rare within the world. Nina, one of our POVs as well as the one I would consider the central character, is cursed with these telekinetic powers. Untrained, she can not control them, and they manifest at times of stress. She has earned a negative reputation in town as a result, and is pretty much considered “damaged goods“, since her ability is considered a liability and undesirable for a woman.
Hector, another of our POVs, also has telekinetic powers. Lucky for him, as a man, he can use his powers in a way that is not frowned upon by society. He is successful travelling performer, using his powers to create breathtaking spectacles. He may not have quite the same social standing as nobility, but he does earn enough money to rival them and garner a level of respect. He may not be one of them, but he is welcome among them.
When Hector takes an interest in courting Nina, his motivations are not entirely honest. The book is not a fast paced thriller, but a slow burn that explores relationships and trust, as well as acceptance for who you are. I enjoyed reading about Nina and watch her learn to not be ashamed of the magic that is just a part of her. If you are in the mood for a character and relationship driven book with a bit of romance and heartbreak, then this is worth checking out.
12 thoughts on “Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia”
Thank you for the romance flag – I’m definitely picky and choosy about when I tackle a romance-heavy read, so I’ll keep this for the right sort of day!
me too! I dont mind it sometimes, actually some days I actually want it, but I need to know ahead of time because if I’m not in the mood, the book wont fair well
I am intrigued! I didn’t realize this was entirely separate from Certain Dark Things.
it is so, so very different!
Glad to see a positive review of this book, I was getting worried! I’ll definitely be reading it at some point.
yeah, its good, you just can’t expect it to be anything like Certain Dark Things
You’re right, it does seem very different from her previous book, but it sounds wonderful nonetheless. I look forward to reading it later this month or the next!
I look forward to hearing what you think of it. It is very different from Certain Dark Things!
It’s good when an author does not focus on a single narrative path, and even though this book sounds deeply different from her previous novel, I’d like to give it a chance to woo me like Certain Dark Things did.
Thank you for sharing this! 🙂
yep, still a good book, just dont look for similarities 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!
My post is already scheduled – for tomorrow I think – and it’s uncanny how we’ve hit on a number of similarities. I enjoyed this. It’s not what I originally expected but I’d changed my mind about what this was going to be about after seeing a number of other reviews that can of forewarned me – a definite plus. As it was I was able to enjoy this very much for what it was, a period romance of manners, I can’t say the paranormal aspects brought anything to the read at all – they could just as easily have had a similar hobby such as books or stamps collecting!
the only thing I think the paranormal aspect brought was that it differentiated Nina from her peers, and put her in a marginalized group, made her considered “damaged” or “defective”, so I think its a bit different than just a hobby that she could choose to do or not do. This is part of who she is and she is looked down for it.
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